Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Daredevil (2003)

Note:   This review was originally posted to my Epionions account.

Movies and TV series based on comic books are nothing new.  There have been all sorts of animated features throughout the years.  It seems like over the past decade, there have been a few live-action big-budget movies made starring big names.  Many were good.  Some, not so much.

In 2003, Ben Affleck stared as Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil.  Matt’s story starts early; as a child, he was blinded by toxic waste.  The up side is that his other senses are heightened.   He can use his other senses to ‘see’ the world in a Matrix-style way.  He’s also able to leap off of tall buildings and land safely on the ground.  As an adult, Murdock serves as a defense lawyer during the day, helping those that need it most.  Daredevil comes out at night to fight crime in Hell’s Kitchen.  (He seems to pick criminals that the court system lets go.)

In the movie, Daredevil is trying to work against The Kingpin, who runs the area’s organized crime.  Enter Elektra Natchios, the daughter of Nikolas Natchios.  Unbeknownst to Matt, Nikolas has ties to The Kingpin.  Unbeknownst to Elektra, Matt is Daredevil.  Things get complicated when Nikolas wants out.  Enter Bullseye, who is hired by The Kingpin to kill Nikolas.

I don’t want to ruin the entire movie for you, so I’ll stop here.  I did have a few problems, all of which don’t require me to give anything else away.  First, it seemed like the movie went slow, then was rushed.  There were three main story lines to the movie.  One was Daredevil vs. The Kingpin.  Two was Daredevil vs. Bullseye.  Three was Matt becoming romantically involved with Elektra.

Daredevil vs. The Kingpin didn’t really seem that developed, mostly because Daredevil was fighting with Bullseye most of the time.  Both of these relationships seemed like something you’d use over the course of a TV series.  If there is a sequel, Kingpin will most likely be back.

However, Bullseye definitely seemed rushed.  Even though the pacing seemed appropriate, it seemed like Bullseye was used too much too quickly.  He seems like someone that would make a good archenemy.  Even the relationship between Daredevil and Elektra was rushed.  It’s almost like they weren’t planning on a sequel.

Overall, the movie was very dark.  Not only was much of it action, but much of it took place at night.  It seemed like the movie was driven by the fight scenes with the dialogue there only to string the fights together or give them context.  I think one of the overriding themes in the movie was revenge, which really adds to the darkness of the movie.  It’s definitely not something for small children to watch.  I don’t think they’d understand most of the themes.

I don’t read comic books, so I don’t know how the movie holds up to the source material.  However, it seemed like the movie relied on a superhero formula.  Give a hero strength (or at least ability) and give him a weakness.  Fill in the history as needed and you have a superhero.  In this case, Daredevil had most of his senses heightened, but was blind and could be incapacitated by loud noises.  Even Superman had his kryptonite.

What I remember, the coming attractions were a little misleading.  I thought that Elektra’s story would turn out much differently than it did.  It would be interesting to see how they pull one out of this, as most of Daredevil’s relationships in this movie could very well have come to an end.  (Actually, a few did.)  Overall, I really didn’t like Daredevil.  I think if this had been the first comic-book based movie I had seen, I probably wouldn’t have seen many others. 

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