Daredevil is a pretty awesome comic book character. It just didn’t translate to the big screen. Mark Steven Johnson (Simon Birch, Ghost Rider) directs Ben Affleck in this jumbled and diluted tale of Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer by day and a masked vigilante by night. Daredevil fights crime in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City, righting wrongs, beating up bad guys, and kicking ass even though he can’t see anything. In this movie he meets Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) and Bullseye (Colin Farrell), two of his main rivals in the comics. He also meets Elektra (Jennifer Garner), his sometimes ally, occasional foe, and passionate lover.
The movie begins with the origin of Daredevil. A young Matt Murdock is living with his dad, the aging boxer Jack “The Devil” Murdock. Being an aging boxer doesn’t pay the bills, so Jack has to work as a mob enforcer. Matt runs away and gets in a freak accident with some chemicals and loses his sight. His other senses become heightened and he starts honing his abilities. The mobsters kill his dad and Matt Murdock becomes Daredevil.
Matt Murdock meets Electra and the two of them have a romantic friendly fight and decide to hang out. Her dad is a criminal with ties to a shady new crime boss known as Kingpin. Kingpin doesn’t like Elektra’s daddy anymore and hires a deadly hit man named Bullseye to kill him. Daredevil tries to prevent the hit, but doesn’t succeed and Elektra thinks that Daredevil killed her dad.
A reporter named Ben Urich (Joe Pantoliano) has been investigating Daredevil and discovers his true identity. Rather that trying to publish a story, he helps Daredevil out and tells him that Bullseye is going after Elektra. He goes to help Elektra, but she kicks his ass instead and finds out his true identity and realizes that he didn’t kill her dad. She then goes after Bullseye herself, but she dies.
Matt fights Bullseye and defeats him and goes after Kingpin. He gets his ass beat for a while, but ultimately prevails and Kingpin goes to jail. There’s a few hints that Elektra might be alive, and one of the final scenes show that Bullseye is recovering in the hospital and it sets things up for a sequel that will never come to be.
Daredevil is a great comic book character… comic book, not film. Daredevil is blind, but the comics can depict Matt’s emotions show his fears, his thoughts, and his inner turmoil. Movies rely on pictures to tell stories. If your main character is a blind guy, there is no way to visually tell his story and that’s one of the areas where this movie fails. Daredevil’s world is darkness, and movies require light so that you can see what is happening. The two ideas clash and can’t coexist.
Jon Favreau plays Matt’s friend and business partner Foggy Nelson. You can tell that he is just taking notes on making a movie about a second-rate Marvel hero. And he did a great job because Iron Man kicks ass and Daredevil sucks.
This movie is slow. It is dull. A bunch of things happen but nothing stands out. The worst part about this movie is that it makes Daredevil seem lame so newcomers wouldn’t want to read the comics. And you can’t blame them. This movie destroys Daredevil, Elektra, and Kingpin. Colin Farrell’s Bullseye is the least intimidating and most absurd comic book villain ever… even Jim Carrey as the Riddler is more frightening. Watch this movie if you want, just be aware that it disrespects the source material.
Critically Rated at 6/17