Credit: Warner Bros.

Behold the hero only Ben Affleck could play: Mortal, yes, but blessed with extraordinary abilities, he is driven by childhood tragedy to take on a secret identity, a righteous vigilante haunting the darkest corners of the underworld. Sometimes he puts on a cape and saves Gotham City; sometimes he just gets you an awesome return on your 401(k).

Is the Bruce Wayne DNA spliced into The Accountant’s backstory a wink or a coincidence? If Affleck knows, he’s not telling. His savant CPA Christian Wolff doesn’t say much at all, actually: His high-functioning autism makes small talk about as comfortable as a kidney stone, but it’s given him a beautiful mind for numbers. Officially he operates a little tax-office storefront in a strip mall in Illinois, though that’s not what paid for the genuine Jackson Pollock or the stacks of gold bullion he keeps in the Airstream in his garage; there’s also the side job as a forensic auditor for an international A list of arms dealers, drug lords, and assorted other guys who can’t go to H&R Block when millions go missing from their balance sheets.

Inevitably, his tendency to materialize like a pocket-protectored Where’s Waldo in surveillance footage of nearly every baddie on the CIA watch list draws the attention of a Treasury Department agent (J.K. Simmons). To deflect the attention, Wolff takes on a legitimate case for a robotics entrepreneur (John Lithgow) and makes an unexpected connection with a bright-eyed junior clerk (Anna Kendrick) who is both confused and intrigued by his ability to enjoy problem-solving algorithms, paintings of dogs playing poker, and almost nothing else.

Director Gavin O’Connor (Warrior) seems to know at some level that it’s all camp, though it’s unclear where he picked up certain elements of his medical definition of autism, or why Wolff’s military-officer dad decides that the best response to his son’s diagnosis is to train him to be a sharpshooting, Muay Thai-kicking assassin — aside from the fact that it works out super well for the plot. The whole thing’s ludicrous, down to the last loony twist, but it’s also a lot more fun than Batman v Superman. C+

The Accountant (2016)
  • Movie
  • R
  • 128 minutes
  • Gavin O'Connor