- Summary -
Director : Mark Steven Johnson
Year Of Release : 2003
Principal Cast : Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Scott Terra, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith, Leland Orser, Erick Avari, Derrick O’Connor.
Approx Running Time : 103 Minutes
Synopsis: Blind lawyer by day, costumed crime fighter Daredevil by night, Matt Murodock seeks justice for those who cannot find it any other way.
What we think : Honestly, it’s not as bad as I recall, although it’s certainly no classic. Ben Affleck’s first foray into costumed crime fighting, for Marvel no less, features a decent opening “origin” sequence, and then goes all downhill fast. The heroic characters are played dead straight, while the villains are all over-performed, leading to a tonal mismatch that hinders the film’s strengths from ever taking hold. Some decent visual concepts can’t help some ordinary digital effects (by today’s standards, the CG human avatars stick out like dogs balls!), and the script veers wildly from arrow-straight comic-book to eye-rolling tripe, trying to both introduce the titular character but also a slew of secondary ones in an effort to establish a franchise, and succeeding at neither.
Before it became a film-making juggernaut in its own right, Marvel Comics unleashed a number of its properties to external Hollywood studios; X-Men to 20th Century Fox, and Spider-Man to Sony Pictures, being the two signifigant IP’s then outside of Marvel’s direct control. Also following X-Men to Fox was Daredevil, a heroic blind dude with enhanced hearing and a penchant for taking down the scum of New York during the dead of night. In any other universe, he might have been called Batman, but for Marvel, and creator Stan Lee, Daredevil was their answer to combating DC’s ubiquitously popular mortal hero. With the success of X-Men, a film that cut through into the mainstream in a way comic-book films to that point hadn’t really achieved (with the exception of Tim Burton’s Batman back in ’89), Fox ramped up production on their only other Marvel property, Daredevil, casting then still-popular Ben Affleck as the titular hero. It’s fair to say that Daredevil met with mixed feelings on release – many fanboys derided the performance of Affleck (who snagged a Golden Raspberry for his work here) and threw creative stones at director Mark Steven Johnson for somehow “ruining” Daredevil, but a few critics also felt that, when compared to the latter stages of Warner Bros’ Batman franchise, then mired in camp shittiness, Daredevil at least partially succeeded in getting things back on track. Not having seen this film since around 2004, I decided to give it a re-watch, to see for myself whether the taint was warranted, or whether Daredevil was simply a film too ahead of its time.