Okay, so Ben Stiller was the guy in There's Something About Mary, the one that looks like Ben Folds. Ben Affleck is the Pearl Harbor/Armageddon/Chasing Amy guy. One of these days I'll stop getting them confused!
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Ben Affleck has taken some considerable heat for his alleged incompetence as an action hero in Daredevil, but he's not as bad as you might think. The first time I saw him in the Daredevil mask, my initial thought was a flashback of sorts. "Hey, it's George Clooney as Batman."
"Daredevil" is, of course, the public name for this superhero-by-night, whose senses are deranged and whose existence is questionable to the media. After being blinded by a toxic mishap at the age of 12, Matt Murdock (Daredevil's lawyer-by-day alterego) is left with no sense of sight, but an increased sensitivity to sound and smell. (Supposedly, all of his other four senses are empowered, but sound and smell seem to be of the most relevance.) As it turns out, Matt now possess a sort of "sonar vision" in which his sensitivity to sound enables him to know how close or far something is, and in some cases (like when it's raining), he can see almost as clearly as if he weren't blind at all.
Daredevil takes off with a look at Matt's younger days, and how everything unfolds from the accident to his father's eventual murder. Matt decides he won't let it happen again, and Daredevil is born. Sound familiar? Well, it is. But the story works, even if it is kind of an escapist fantasy.
There's not really a whole lot that happens plotwise. Matt meets Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) by catching her scent in a cafe one day. A few spin kicks later on a playground, he gets her name. It turns out her father is somehow connected with The Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan), who is behind all of the crime in New York City. The Kingpin recruits a guy called Bullseye (Colin Farrell, who became an acting God after Phone Booth) to arrange her father's murder, and it ends up looking like Daredevil did it.
You know the questions, you just don't know the answers.
As mentioned earlier, Ben Affleck pulls off his one and a half roles decently. He is a lot more convincing as a lawyer than as a superhero, basically because he has more of a lawyer look. He's like a lawyer and 1/2 a superhero, playing 1/2 a lawyer and a superhero. While his fighting is adroit, he doesn't get to do THAT much of it.
Jennifer Garner gets to do just as much fighting as Daredevil does. And, well how do I put this, she's better. When she spins around, slicing sand-filled sacks left and right, she shows that she's obviously got "enough" to kick J-Lo's ^ss, that's for sure. When she's not playing superheroine herself, she actually makes a believable character haunted by attention deprivation (sure...) and her father's untimely demise.
Michael Clarke Duncan survives the electric chair, breaks out of jail, and reincarnates John Coffey right here in New York as the Kingpin. It's almost spooky to hear him say No man is innocent. He doesn't get much time on screen, so it's a bit of a challenge believing that this "teddy bear" has any gangsta in him at all. The cigars help a little bit.
The real show-stealers were Joe Pantoliano and Colin Farrell. Both of these guys never play the same character twice.
Joe went from the bald-headed rebel Cypher in The Matrix to the moustache-guy who seemed to be everywhere in Memento, and now seems to lose six inches in height as he plays a struggling media reporter who seems to know more than any of his much taller (and more influential) counterparts. He is to the media what Ace Ventura was to the police force. Again, he's not around much, but when he is there, he's doin' his thing and doin' it well.
Colin Farrell went from a soft-faced federal supervisor in Minority Report to a scruffy, confused CIA agent (or was it victim?) in The Recruit, to a bald gangster with a bullseye tattoed in his forehead here in Daredevil. He's everything that the Joker was in Batman. When he kills a man by tossing unraveled paper clips into the guy's throat, it's hilarious and unbelievable. But I guess it's hilarious because it's unbelievable. At one point, he is sitting in Kingpin's office, Kingpin walks in, and we see a guy lying on the floor with three pencils lodged in his throat. Kingpin says Was that really necessary? I just busted out laughing. Colin Farrell never laughs, but damn if he doesn't want to. His role is taken to such an extreme that it almost becomes ridiculous. But Colin just has fun with it. This guy is gonna be huge, just huge. Hell, he already is. If I was a girl, holy cow...
Action / Fantasy / Crime / Drama. That's the genre under which Daredevil falls according to Imdb.com. It definitely has elements of each, but it wouldn't have hurt to throw in another 20 minutes or so and flesh out the final half a bit. It starts out well with Matt's childhood, setting things up and all. But it's not until almost an hour in that any of the various plots and characters start to intertwine. When they do, the pace starts to pick up again, but there's not really enough time at that point to do anything extravagant besides have them fight. I will concede, however, that when Michael Clarke Duncan starts undoing the buttons on his shirt for the "big fight" at the end, it's a real oh ho ho yeah moment. I didn't think we'd get to see him fight, so I was just a bit giddy. Daredevil's "comeback" was a genius move, man did that look cool.
While not nearly as heart-tugging as Spider-Man, Daredevil does offer more closure. And while not as visually stunning as The Matrix, there are still some nice, unsettling camera angles. It's thrilling entertainment; a cheap thrill, but a thrill nonetheless. And movies ain't cheap, so you might want to wait for the DVD.
P.S. If you do go, stay during the credits. Apparently there is something with Bullseye that I missed where he's in the hospital and he kills a fly with a syringe. LOL, can't believe I missed that.
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