The Accountant is another Warner Bros. film starring Ben Affleck. The studio has been kind to the star. Most notably, he recently became part of the Batman legacy. Though Batman v Superman was not warmly received, many critics had a positive reaction to Affleck’s portrayal of Bruce Wayne. Oddly, his upcoming role as Christian Wolff in The Accountant acts as something of a dark mirror to his portrayal of the Dark Knight. Let’s take a look at these parallel roles and how they eerily reflect each other.
We all know about Bruce Wayne’s special nature. He’s often described as one of the pinnacles of human potential. His intense training spans both the physical and the mental. Granted, these abilities were all learned after he decided to begin his journey towards becoming Batman. But, even before that, Bruce Wayne was a different kind of child. His wealthy upbringing often secluded him from having many friends. Even if tragedy hadn’t visited his life, he would have turned out to be a unique member of society.
Now, what about Christian Wolff? From what we’ve seen of The Accountant, it’s clear that his gifts were present at birth. Still, this has obviously isolated him from others his age. Eventually, his particular traits will make him a success in the field of his choosing. However, it’s clear that he can never live a normal life. Sounds a lot like the Caped Crusader, no?
The Power of Parents
Bruce Wayne’s entire life is dictated by the deaths of his parents. Their sudden passing defines his decision to become Batman. The power that Bruce’s parents hold over him extends beyond the grave. It’s a chilling portrait of a man who is bound to the memory of his mother and father.
Christian Wolff is obviously aware of how strange he is, but it looks like his father will be the one to set him on the course he’s destined to follow. Both characters reach a critical moment in their lives and they both center around their parents.
It’s often said that Bruce Wayne is the mask Batman wears to hide his true self. Wayne is a carefully constructed fiction that allows Batman to hide in plain sight. It takes just as much practice and concentration as all of his physical and mental training.
Christian Wolff wears a similar though less literal mask. Look at the chart of facial expressions taped underneath his mirror. It’s clear that he is putting on a facade in order to maneuver through daily life. But, he also wears that mask to hide the true nature of his work. Both men seem to suffer from a warped sense of identity, and both feel the need to keep their real selves secret from the world.
“We’ve Always Been Criminals”
Ben Affleck’s Batman takes immense inspiration from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. In that novel and Zack Snyder‘s appropriation of it, Bruce Wayne admits that superheroes are criminals and that they’ve always been criminals. Batman believes that the only way to operate is outside of the law.
It’s apparent that Christian Wolff feels the same way. His life has led him to a point where acting illegally is the best application of his talents. Though he may be working on the opposite side of the game, he’s as much a criminal as Batman is.
Batman v The Accountant
Christian Wolff is even given a title that wouldn’t be out of place in the world of comic book heroes and villains. Both of these figures have an almost mythic status applied to them. Even Christian Wolff’s given name sounds like a supervillain’s alter ego!
Seeing Ben Affleck play these two roles offers us a look at two sides of the same coin. It’s exciting to see such a talented actor take similar character traits and play them in warped ways.
We’ll get a better look into the shadier side of Christian Wolff when The Accountant opens on October 14.