Darren Franich
August 15, 2017 AT 10:55 PM EDT

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Justice League will mark Ben Affleck’s second feature film as Batman. Well, technically it’s his third. “Do I get credit for the Suicide Squad gross?” the actor laughs, joking (and underestimating) that he was onscreen for “less than 35 seconds” in last year’s supervillain team-up film. He’ll have a decidedly larger role when DC’s good guys mobilize in the November blockbuster, which unites Affleck’s Dark Knight and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman alongside Ezra Miller’s Flash, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. (And maybe Henry Cavill’s Superman, if he’s not quite dead.)

That means Batman has to learn to work together with his fellow superheroes. “He’s put in this position of having to reach out, find other people, convincing them to do something,” Affleck explains. “Part of the drama of the movie is the question of whether or not the team is going to come together. It’s very different from the tenor of the last movie.”

And the character is very different, too. “BvS departed a little bit from the traditional Batman,” says Affleck. “He started out with all this rage directed at Superman, because of his coworkers who had died in the fight Superman had with Zod.” For Affleck, most of the hero’s ensuing actions were defined by barely-repressed fury – in contrast to the Batman we meet in Justice League. “He was holding on to a lot of anger, in a little bit of an irrational way,” Affleck says. “Whereas this is a much more traditional Batman. He’s heroic. He does things in his own way, but he wants to save people, help people.”

Warner Bros.

Affleck frames the new attitude as a return to a more classical incarnation of the Caped Crusader. “This is more in keeping with the canon of how Batman’s usually been portrayed, and how he’s portrayed vis a vis the Justice League in the comics,” he explains. “This is more the Batman you would find if you opened up your average Batman comic book.”

“Not that it’s average,” Affleck clarifies. “I think it’s a really cool story. Actually, it’s sort of a story about multilateralism. It’s not a bad theme to have!” Hey, if the universe’s moodiest billionaire can learn the value of collaboration, there’s hope for us all.

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