Joss Whedon may not receive any directorial credit for Justice League, but we know that he took over after Zack Snyder had to walk away several months ago to deal with a family tragedy. Before Snyder left, he’d already concluded the principal photography, but Whedon has been involved in the post-production stage, which included the infamous reshoots.
The movie’s main cast members seemed to play down Whedon's contribution to the project in recent interviews, most likely out of respect for Snyder. But during a recent interview with SFX Magazine (via ScreenRant), Ben Affleck, who's returning as Batman, elaborated on what Whedon brought to the November 17 release:
Joss just brought to the movie what good directors bring, which is good taste. A sense of what's gonna work in the story and what isn't. An instinct for realism, and for finding the humanity in the characters and the humanity in the conflict, then making it accessible and relevant.
Affleck added that this particular quality was an attribute that the director brought to Marvel Studios' The Avengers. He felt that Whedon "defined the tone", and the following Marvel Cinematic Universe installments "sort of fell into that tone that he created":
It was a very tricky dance, where you have all these people who can do all these fantastic things…That's completely absurd on the face of it, and yet, a good storyteller like Joss brings us in, makes us identify with them, makes them seem real, and makes it interesting.
He went on to say that many directors were familiar with the comic books, but Whedon’s "talent" set him apart from the rest. As a director, Affleck won an Academy Award for Best Picture, but he said that he doesn't think he possesses Whedon’s gift:
I wish I had the gift that he has for identifying what's the most compelling human drama in the context of superhero conflict. But he has a very sharp mind for it. He knows exactly what he wants, almost with a surgeon's kind of precision. He focuses in, beat by beat, on how he's telling the story, exactly where he'll be editorially. What the tenor of delivery of a line should be like.
Affleck said that it was advantageous to have Whedon as part of Justice League, not only because he was aware of the studio’s requirements and expectations, but also because he had a clear idea of what "will work".