Published on February 17th, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Something just doesn’t sit right with me when I think about watching Daredevil. Where X-Men and Spider-Man came onto the scene with nice origin stories, especially Spider-Man, Daredevil’s origin is nicely explained, but the other characters just happen. Where did Bullseye (Colin Farrell) come from, what is his origin, where is his back story? He, along with The Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) just seem to be bit characters in a shameless promotion to get another Marvel character on the big screen. Even Elektra (Jennifer Garner) just feels like she was on the set because they wanted her there.
I know bringing years of comic background and information into a 90 or 120 minute running time is a lot for screenwriters to do, but going into Daredevil, and not knowing anything about the character, you leave with the same feeling. The script blatantly options the sequel, in more ways than one, and you are left with the feeling that you just watched a 90 minute trailer for a trilogy of movies. You don’t take anything away with you.
Daredevil stars Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, the man without fear. A childhood accident took Murdock’s sight away but heightened his four remaining senses including his hearing which gives him a sonar-like sense that allows him to “see” the world by using sound. Murdock goes up against the Kingpin after he learns that he is going to kill Matt’s new love interest’s father. Bullseye is brought in to kill that man and becomes obsessed with Daredevil after he makes him miss a shot, something he never does.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie. I liked the fact that they set up the characters in some ways, but then completely removed a relevant back-story to them. Bullseye is the man who never misses. Good. How did he get this way, what is his story, why is he working for bad? Even The Kingpin is glossed over with the cliché “head of crime in the city” no explanation as to why and how he got there. You find yourself grasping for information that isn’t there, and when you aren’t a fan of this particular comic book you may be left behind.
Daredevil does feature some nice fight sequences, especially the much hyped romp in the bar, but the camera is shaking so much in keeping up with the action that you simply can’t see what is going on. And the cutting back and forth between the real setting and Daredevil’s sonar sense just adds to the confusion.
I found myself liking the character much more than Spider-Man and the X-Men in certain ways. I like how the movie was given a much darker tone, and how the main character isn’t afraid to distribute justice. At one point Daredevil lets a man be sawed in half by a subway train after he was falsely acquitted of raping a woman. On the flipside comic relief is adequately spread out by Kevin Smith’s cameo as well as Jon Favreau’s portrayal of Franklin Nelson, Matt Murdock’s law partner.
For bit characters Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan do a reasonable job setting up characters that will undoubtfully return in further sequels.
At the end of the movie we, the Entopia Staff, were discussing how to grade it on our system and many different answers erupted. Anything from an A- to a B- were given and I had originally given the movie a higher score, but then I had time to reflect. I went back and related the movie to other’s I have seen and found that I was somewhat disappointed in this clearly average effort to bring a comic book hero to life. I think Ben Affleck was the right choice for Daredevil, as he does a great job, but I also think the characters could have been developed so much more. By the end of the movie you feel as though nothing has happened, in all actuality, very little has. The movie starts, stuff happens, and it ends, but that stuff in the middle is merely a glazing of an actual story that story is construed with underdeveloped characters and lots of rain.