Justice is Blind. So is he. DAREDEVIL

Feb 10, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:An action packed romp through the rooftops.  Colin Farrell's Bullseye.  Ben Affleck in Burgandy Leather.

Cons:Should have stuck with a more adult theme.

The Bottom Line: While it is not Spiderman or The Dark Knight, this is still a great comic to movie adventure.

Daredevil (2003) Directed by Mark Steven Johnson

"They say your whole life flashes before your eyes when you die. And it's true, even for a blind man."  Daredevil.

Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is a brilliant attorney by day, seeking justice in the courtroom.  By night, he is Daredevil, the man without fear, dispensing justice in the back alleys of Hell's Kitchen.  By night he wears red leather, and wields a baton upside the head of evildoers.  By day, he wears shades, and carries a white cane.  Matt Murdock is blind.

The son of a boxer and thug, Devil Murdock (David Keith), Matt was blinded when he was splashed with radioactive waste.  However the kid soon discovered that while his sight was lost, so was his fear and his other senses heightened to the point of being radar.  As Daredevil, he uses these powers, and his very highly developed athletic skills to mete out justice when the legal system fails.

He meets the lovely and lethal Elektra Nachios (Jennifer Garner), rich heiress, and trained martial artist, a woman who challenges him.  Powerfully attracted to each other, they engage in a vigorous courtship.

However, Elektra has her ninja skills for a reason; her father (Erick Avari) is a powerful business man with many less than reputable associates.  He wanted her to be able to defend herself if one of them should attempt to use her as a chip against him.  Now, those connections have born lethal fruit; Nachios finds himself inconvenient.  And that is lethal when dealing with The Kingpin (Michael Duncan Clark).

Of course Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin) is not the kind of man to get his hands dirty when he can hire others.  His chosen weapon is Bullseye (Colin Farrell) an assassin who can turn any object into a deadly projectile.  And of course, he manages to frame the Daredevil for the murder, turning Elektra against him.  Can Matt see his way clear of this tangled web?

Created in 1964 Daredevil has suffered comparison to both Spiderman, and to DC Comics Batman.  I think both of this claims have merit, but are ultimately unfair.  Yes, Daredevil is an urban hero with high acrobatics.  However, his powers are far below those of Spiderman.  More importantly, Peter Parker is a happy glib character, and the Daredevil's motivations have always been darker.  He does not capture criminals; he punishes those who elude justice.  This is much more like the Batman.  Also, Daredevil is a crime fighter.  He does not take on Galactus, he does not save the entire world, he fights injustice in Hell's Kitchen.  A larger than life figure, he is still much smaller and more approachable than say, Superman.

How does this movie stack up in this era of blockbuster superhero movies?  Originally planned as a much smaller ($40 Million) movie, the block buster success of Spiderman prompted them to upgrade, doubling the budget.  This allowed the use of Devilvision, where we can "see" much as Matt Murdock does.  Originally planned as an R rated movie, it was slated to be much more sexual and violent. 

Perhaps they should have left that part alone.  While Devilvision is a bit frenetic, and combined with Johnson's rapid fire change in perspective shots makes this film a little nerve wracking, I really think a more sexual film might have exploited one of the things the movie did have going for it, the sex appeal of the stars, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner.  Both plasticly perfect, that would have probably captured the audience better than this toned down version.

Both stars are notable for their flawless good looks and weak emotional projection.  Why they chose them to play opposite each other is also a mystery.  Much better at projection are the bad guys.  Colin Farrell as the psychotic Bullseye makes a great villain.  Clark brings a vital menace to the towering Fisk.  These performances make the movie.

I liked this movie.  Ben Affleck in skin tight leather just seems like a good idea to me.  But it could have been much better rather easily.

There were endless references to the comic run of Daredevil, artists and writer's names used where ever possible.  And there were two great cameos, Kevin Smith, who wrote the Visionaries story line, was the Lab Assistant Kirby, and there is the obligatory cameo by Stan "The Man" Lee as the man young Matt stops from getting run over by traffic.  This makes the movie fun for geeks (like me.)

All in all, the real problem comes from the toning down of sex and violence; these have always been central to Daredevil, and his romance with Elektra is the stuff of Comic Legend.  I don't usually say this, but this one lost out shooting for the PG 13 over R rating.

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