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Daredevil (2003)

PG-13 · 105 minutes

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson
Written by Mark Steven Johnson

 · Ben Affleck
 · Jennifer Garner
 · Michael Clarke Duncan
 · Colin Farrell

Review by Rhonda

I'd been looking forward to seeing Daredevil for weeks; by the time I walked into the theater I was positively skipping I was so excited. I'm a Daredevil fan, I'm a Frank Miller fan (he wrote most of the source material the movie draws from), and I've loved every single Marvel movie to come out in the last three years. Even without those things though, I would have seen this movie just for Elektra. She is one of my very favorite comic book characters of all time.

So I sat down in my seat with my equally excited husband and took it all in...the action, the romance, the red leather...




An all too brief hour and forty minutes later, we emerged from the theater, satisfied and happy...but not ecstatic. This was a good movie, but not a great one. Mark Steven Johnson did a wonderful job directing, but sadly, his writing wasn't as hot. All the more frustratingly, the script is practically the only area this movie is lacking in.

The imagery in this movie, especially the opening scene, is elevated to an art level. It's beautiful, dark and atmospheric. The acting is also very good. Affleck was a perfect Matt Murdock, conveying all the subtleties of the man and the hero. That's no easy task when you consider the character has had years to develop in complexity and depth. Affleck made up for the fact that he didn't look like Murdock with a complete understanding of and reverence for the character. I also enjoyed the fight scenes, and I liked how Daredevil's radar sense was shown.

So if I liked all this, what didn't I like? The script. It was an ambitious story that needed more development, tighter writing, and a longer film. Some terrible clichés were used, there were some horrible one liners, and none of the character relationships were fully fleshed out. I'll put it like this: I didn't shed a single tear during this movie, despite the fact that I already had built-in emotional attachments to all the characters. The only time the writing was good was during the comedic moments. There just wasn't enough emotional substance to this film.

Having said that however, I am dying to see the movie in it's true form, the un-cut version the director truly envisioned.




Despite the problems I mentioned above, the film was very watchable and entertaining. For such a dark film, it has quite a few humorous moments and these are all very well done. I laughed out loud several times. The action scenes are also great fun to watch; several times the audience cheered during fight scenes. I did, however, see some moves I thought were directly ripped off from both The Matrix and Spider-Man.

For a comic fan, there are many little treats, from cameo's to name dropping. Daredevil's radar sense is done in a way that's unique and visually stunning, and the action is breathtaking.

As far as pure entertainment value goes, this movie pretty much nails it; with one itty-bitty exception. It does require you to suspend all normal parameters of believability and just go with the flow. Daredevil is not Superman,he is not Neo, and there are just somethings he could not, should not, would not do. Yet in this film he does them. It works out okay as long as you don't think about it too hard.



To hardcore Daredevil fans, I say do go see the movie, but try to go in without high expectations or pre-conceptions. Just enjoy seeing your favorite horn head swinging from the roof tops in Hell's Kitchen, and beating bad guys with his kick-ass billy club. To non-comic-reading moviegoers, I'd also recommend the film. It's got action, romance, and comedy rolled up into one stylistic flaming ball.

Go see the movie; it might not be the best film you see all year, but it just may be the best film you see this month.

659 Words · Published: 17 February 2003

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