Ben Affleck takes center stage in Netflix’s upcoming “Triple Frontier,” and the pic is far from Affleck’s first as an established leading man action star. However, it took him a few films to get his bona fides, going from comedic side character to gruff hero with several stages of evolution along the way.
In his newest film, Affleck, looking his most rugged yet, plays a military veteran who orchestrates a mission with four other vets (Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal) to rob a South American drug lord.
Below are 10 movies that showcase Affleck’s metamorphosis.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Richard Linklater’s indie comedy features many before-they-were-famous stars in minor roles. Most remember Matthew McConaughey’s meme spawning “alright, alright, alright” performance, but lose a boyish Affleck in the mix of other future stars like Sarah Jessica Parker, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, and Renee Zellweger.
Affleck jumped from one prolific independent comedy director to another when he joined the cast of Kevin Smith’s follow up to his cult classic “Clerks.” Like in “Dazed and Confused,” he still finds himself on the periphery of this wacky ’90s comedy. But, that’s all soon to change.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Gus Van Sant’s classic about a savant and his therapist earned Ben Affleck an Oscar for best original screenplay, which he co-wrote with Matt Damon. This was a watershed moment in Affleck’s career, but he still remained a side character to Damon’s lead. However, his tough guy Boston persona portended to things to come.
Finally, Affleck got his opportunity to save the Earth from an impending cataclysmic asteroid collision in one of Michael Bay’s many action flicks. “Armageddon” yielded Affleck’s first high-profile action credit, but he was not yet at the forefront. Bruce Willis, already a seasoned action star, plays the main character and saves the day.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Two Michael Bay films in the span of three years looks pretty auspicious for Affleck’s future action hero status. Affleck soaked up lots of screen time as one of the leads in Bay’s three hour-plus epic war drama.
Affleck’s first foray into the superhero genre was with the much maligned “Daredevil,” where he played the titular character. The Marvel film failed to launch a blockbuster franchise, leaving the actor with just a taste of the superhero role he would later revisit.
2003 was not a good year for Mr. Affleck. This list has arrived at perhaps the low point in the actor’s career. The romantic comedy, co-starring Jennifer Lopez, has an abysmal 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film won the Golden Raspberry award for worst film. Affleck took home the award for worst actor for his combined performances in “Gigli,” “Daredevil,” and “Paycheck.”
The Town (2010)
“The Town” marks Affleck’s triumphant return to the action genre. The heist thriller received positive reviews with a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s Affleck’s second directing credit after his debut “Gone Baby Gone,” but the first he both acted in and directed.
Paired with “The Town,” “Argo” marked back-to-back directing successes for the actor-turned-helmer. Affleck plays a CIA agent in charge of a daring mission to rescue Americans caught up in the Iran Hostage Crisis. The film was a critical darling and won the Oscar for best picture.
Batman v. Superman (2016)
With “Batman v. Superman,” Affleck got his second chance to suit up and fight crime, but this time around in the DC universe. Unlike with “Daredevil,” the actor had the opportunity to reprise his role as the iconic superhero, returning as Batman in “Suicide Squad” and “Justice League.” Affleck will be portray the Dark Knight once again in the announced Justice League sequel.
Triple Frontier (2019)
Affleck emerges as a fully formed action star in Triple Frontier, due out Mar. 13 on Netflix.