Trent shares his thoughts on the latest Marvel Comics superhero to cross over to the silver screen. Released February 14, he explains that although there are a few saving graces, it’s basically a barely passable crowd-pleaser and not much more.
Directed and written by Mark Steven Johnson, “Daredevil” obviously has a lot of pressure riding on it. After the last comic book adaptation (2002’s “Spiderman”) was such a roaring success, all eyes were on the next superhero movie based on the story of Matt Murdock, the blind superhero Daredevil.
The story of Daredevil starts out nicely with the obligatory scenes of how the hero came about his fantastic powers (after a laughable church scene used to spark the audience’s interest). Growing up in the crime-ridden New York Neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen, Matthew Murdock has a tough time dealing with being the son of a boxing great who is involved with the crime lord Kingpin (played by Michael Clarke Duncan) and being the constant target of school bullies. After discovering his dad has turned to crime one day after school, Matt is caught in a biochemical accident in an effort to escape seeing his dad that way. The result? Super powahrz! (Specifically although Matt is blind his other senses are enhanced to superhuman levels). Blah, blah, blah he becomes a lawyer seeking justice in the day with his heart of gold clients whilst parading around at night as the costumed hero Daredevil (still seeking justice).
Watching the scenes starring Scott Terra as a young Matt Murdock I thought I was in for something really worthwhile. If only Terra could play the character for the rest of the movie because the main thing wrong with “Daredevil” is Ben Affleck. He is quite simply wrong for the role: a blind superhero is not in his range. It’s the little things really. For example: despite knowing his surroundings very well due to his powers, Affleck still does the age-old “stare into the distance” face when talking one on one with people. He fails to make the most of the over the top dialogue when some of his co-stars succeed. I did almost feel sorry for him having to listen to the unintentionally funny answering machine message (the epitome of cheesy dialogue).
Other things that stand out as just plain wrong? Kingpin (or lack thereof). Usually, the villain is an integral part of the storyline, and he is, but he doesn’t seem to be featured enough to be seen as the big bad guy. I don’t know if it was just me, but he wasn’t as ‘evil’ as I’d liked. It just made me feel indifference towards the character rather then dislike.
Daredevil’s other main star, Jennifer Garner, almost makes up for Affleck being so awful. Although how her character, the martial artist Elektra Nachios, is written isn’t exactly true to her comic book counterpart (she’s not even an assassin), Garner has enough charisma on screen for at least three Hollywood actresses. Collin Farrel’s Bullseye portrayal is also particularly memorable despite his apparent lack of screen time.
In addition to those two stand-out performances, the music and sound effects really are also top notch. In fact some scenes would be downright painful to watch had they not featured a particular background song or had such stunning sound effects. A prime example are the action sequences like Elektra’s training session. That said, some scenes can’t be saved no matter how good the music/sfx is (Playground play-fight, anyone?).
“Daredevil” isn’t terrible. It Introduces some interesting characters to the masses (some more intersting than others), and is quite successful for what it is. I does not, however, add much to the genre and with a lead like Affleck, I just falls short of the mark.