There is more than a little Batman in Ben Affleck’s latest action flick, The Accountant.
Watching him in this role as a mild-mannered accountant who leads a double life and is dangerously adept at hand-to-hand combat and firearms, it is hard to not compare him to Batman. Heck, whenever someone says to him, “But you’re just an accountant!” after a particularly violent encounter, you half expect him to say “No. I’m Batman.”
He’s not the only DC-related element in the movie either – an old nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy plays an important part in the movie, and also happens to be what the Batman foe Solomon Grundy was based on; and at one point, a copy of Action Comics #1 from 1938 (the first appearance of Superman) makes a cameo too. Oh, and J.K. Simmons will also be playing Commissioner Jim Gordon in the upcoming Affleck-directed The Batman.
But The Accountant isn’t just a dry run for The Batman. It’s a smart action thriller starring a hero who isn’t exactly a hero, who may not be the hero we want, but is the hero we deserve (damn, there’s another Batman reference there – last one, I promise).
Affleck plays Christian Wolff, a seemingly normal small-town accountant who was diagnosed with autism as a child, and currently makes a living balancing the books for some of the most dangerous criminal organisations in the world. Simmons plays Raymond King, the Treasury Department’s director of financial crimes, who recruits young analyst Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) to track down the man they know only as “The Accountant”.
Meanwhile, Wolff takes a legal and seemingly innocuous job at a company called Living Robotics, run by Lamar Blackburn (John Lithgow), and with the help of Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick), a young accountant at the firm, uncovers a financial scam that puts them in the crosshairs of a deadly assassin (Jon Bernthal, who played The Punisher in the Marvel Netflix TV show Daredevil).
Don’t let the rather ordinary title fool you – this is a surprisingly good watch. The action is decent, with some cracking hand-to-hand fights that would make Jason Bourne proud, while the story has enough twists and turns to hook you, even if you can see some of the bigger revelations coming from a mile away.
With his eccentricity and awkward social skills, it’s hard not to like Affleck’s character, even when he is breaking necks and double-tapping baddies right in the forehead just to make sure they’re dead (and don’t come back as Doomsday, maybe?). He’s compelling enough that you wouldn’t mind watching more movies with this character.
Speaking of which, there has been talk about turning The Accountant into a potential franchise, and based on this first film, there really is potential in that. After all, if that other Affleck-starring movie this year – the terrible Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – is meant to kick-start a franchise of TEN superhero movies, I’d expect The Accountant to be able to balance the books enough that it gets its own franchise as well.
Hey, maybe they can crossover The Batman and The Accountant and make … wait for it … The Batcountant! Oh wait, Sesame Street already did that. Sorry, Count.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor, John Lithgow
Director: Gavin O’Connor