Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla
(Click on the images to see larger versions and credits.)
"Spiderman," "X-Men," "The Incredible Hulk" and now "Daredevil," another raid on the Marvel comics stable, one of the more unlikely superhero movies ever made.
Matt runs off, causing a traffic accident that ends with him being doused by toxic waste, right in the eyes. This leaves him blind; however, there is an interesting side effect: Matt wakes up to find he has outrageously acute hearing, including a kind of radar sense, which allows him to "see" almost as well as any sighted person -- better, in some ways.
He also spends time developing his body into a graceful, acrobatic, athletic machine. When his Dad refuses to throw a fight and is murdered, Matt son is left to seek revenge.
The adult Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) becomes a lawyer. Justice being blind jokes aside, he has a particularly strong streak of justice in him.
Murdock adopts the persona of Daredevil, utilizing a red leather costume, and becomes a semi-urban legend in New York, one that reporter Ben Urich (Joe Pantoliano) is hell-bent on tracking down. Those who have seen the first Batman movie will note the similarity. His day job allows Murdock to represent the downtrodden, much to the chagrin of partner "Foggy" Nelson (the wonderful Jon Favreau), who yearns for clients who pay in actual cash, rather than in foodstuffs. Murdock meets Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner), the daughter of a wealthy industrialist (Erick Avari) who is in bed with the corrupt Wilson Fisk (Michael Clark Duncan), the legendary Kingpin of Crime. When Natchios tries to get out of business with Fisk, the kingpin brings in a psychopathic master of hurled objects, Bullseye (Colin Farrell) to kill Natchios, which he does, framing Daredevil for the deed in the process.
Elektra -- who is falling in love with the blind lawyer, swears revenge, not knowing that it is his alter ego she has sworn to kill.
The New York City of Daredevil is a dark, gothic place, not unlike the Gotham City of Batman, and like the Caped Crusader, Daredevil inhabits the shadows and rooftops of a corrupt, dangerous city.
The problem with casting Affleck in the role of Matt Murdock is that he is far too likable. Affleck doesnít carry off the brooding vigilante as well as he does the wisecracking lawyer, so the dual personality of Murdock doesnít mesh as nicely as it could.
Favreau and Duncan are excellent as they nearly always are.
The Elektra of the comics is far more threatening than the Elektra of the big screen. Garner, who on paper is an excellent choice to play her, is dispatched with near-comic ease in nearly every fight she takes part in. This compares unfavorably to the character in the four-color version, and herein lies the problem with any adaptation.
Those who love the comic book will inevitably measure the movie against the comic, and in most aspects will find it wanting. Daredevil has always been one of the consistently best-written and innovative of story in Marvelís arsenal. The movieís writing delegates it to an unsophisticated Batman knockoff. Yet, there are moments of poetry, such as when Murdock asks Elektra to stand in the rain, which allows him to see her face using his radar sense.
The final confrontation between Fisk and Daredevil is very nicely done, visually speaking.
Overall, this isnít a bad movie. There are some deficiencies, true, but there is a large number of things the movie does well. Affleck will eventually be an excellent Daredevil, but perhaps needs another movie or two under his belt first. The most important thing is, take the movie on its own merits. Try not to see it as a remake of the comic hero, because youíll only wind up disappointed. Judge it for what it is; a better-than-average action-adventure movie, and youíll enjoy it a lot more.
See cast, credit and other details about "Daredevil" at Internet Movie Data Base.