After the success of "X-Men" and "Spider-Man," Marvel was quick to offer up "Daredevil," about a blind superhero blessed with ultra-sensitive hearing that essentially allows him to "see." However, "Daredevil" had a few things working against it from Day One.
The most noticeable problem about "Daredevil" was that there were a lot of people adding a question mark to the title. Who is Daredevil? The truth is, I collected comic books, but never once bought a Daredevil comic book. I knew he was blind, but that was about it. There were many people that didn't even know who he was. "X-Men" and "Spider-Man," not to mention "Batman" and "Superman," were popular because they were the big names of Marvel and DC, respectively. Not to offend fans, but Daredevil is essentially a B-grade superhero; when asked who the top ten superheroes or teams are, most people will not put Daredevil in the list.
Second, there's the Ben Affleck problem. Affleck has done some good movies, but he's also done some really terrible movies. Though he is popular, there are a lot of people that believe he takes a lot of credibility out of a film. Can it be explained? No, but I have to admit that I am among one of those people. I can't explain it, but I have to think twice before going to see a movie with Ben Affleck in it (which is why I was so disappointed to find that he had taken over the role of Jack Ryan from Harrison Ford in "The Sum of All Fears").
Third, the odds are that eventually one of these comic book adaptations is going to be a dud, either via the box office or via critics. Nothing lasts forever, and the more comic book movies there are, the more likely it is that the studios will want to whip them out faster and at a lower quality. Before we know it, we'll have another "Steel" on our hands.
"Daredevil" is not "Steel" (for those of you who don't know, that was a movie starring Shaq based on a Superman spin-off comic book. It sucked), and it is not a bad movie, per se. On the other hand, it is not "Spider-Man" and is definitely not "X-Men." It is somewhere in the middle, entertaining and fun, but a huge question mark that can only be decided based on individual moviegoers' experiences.
To be honest, I'm surprised I liked it at all. It has a lot of things going for it, but it also has a few major things going against it.
"Daredevil" is dark. The action scenes are gritty and violent, with lots of kicking, punching and throwing things. There's blood, stabbing and murder, and the movie has a plot that I always enjoy: revenge. The movie moves along at a brisk pace that is fun to watch from beginning to end, but...
The graphics suck. No, I mean they really suck. If you are going to have a movie where half the scenes are computerized - a fake Ben Affleck jumps from rooftop to rooftop - you have to have better graphics than this! The final fight scene between Daredevil and Bullseye (Colin Farrell) is just terrible; the whole thing is computerized and looks absolutely God-awful. I almost had to close my eyes.
Furthermore, for as dark and gritty as this film is, the director took a few too many things literally from the comic book. Daredevil, understandably, can dodge a lot of things because of his super senses. Bullseye can't miss. Elektra (Jennifer Garner) can fight among them. They all can jump superhuman distances, though as it appears, none of them are really superhuman. This movie would have been a lot more enjoyable had the director kept things real - granted, with some exceptions - to the point where I wasn't shaking my head.
"Daredevil" is an entertaining film that has some good action, but it has some huge holes, namely the graphics. The relationship between Elektra and Daredevil also seems rather rushed, and Colin Farrell's Bullseye is just painful to watch. Other than that, I'd recommend this film to anyone who wants nothing more than a good popcorn flick.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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