Dash Reviews…Daredevil(2003)

Hey everyone, it’s Dash Jordan here. Ready for more comic-book excitement? ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ just came out this week, so probably not. However, I like to think of myself as a professional. So, I will be viewing ‘Dawn Of Justice’ later today, and there will be a review of that rushed piece of crap soon enough. Until then, I know another way to piss off Ben Affleck.

   Thank God for Netflix!

‘Daredevil’ is the 2003 comic-book adaptation based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name. The story centers around Matt Murdock; a blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen who uses his superhuman senses and martial arts training to fight crime at night as the titular “Man Without Fear”. Upon release, the film was met with mixed reviews. Over the years, however, opinions of this film have since grown more negative; especially with the success of the Netflix original series and the release of the show’s second season.

   In case you’re wondering…yes, I will be drawing a few comparisons between this movie and the TV series, but that will not be the main focus of this review. So, let’s see just how blind justice really is.

Much like the show, this movie also has its own unique look. Granted, the majority of editing tricks and special effects are very dated by today’s standards. However, I will commend the filmmakers for trying to make the film look interesting and fun, as well trying to give it a gritty and edgier feel; which I’m assuming is much in the same vein as the Daredevil comics that were written by Frank Miller. Obviously, the show handled it better, but at least the movie tried.

The story also has the tendency to drag in a few places. First, the movie starts with an origin story that’s about 20 minutes too long. By the time we get to the 25 minute mark, we finally see Daredevil in action. Not to say that the origin wasn’t interesting or necessary. In some cases like Batman, Superman, Spiderman, The Punisher or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, there are some origins that don’t need to take up the majority of the film, since everyone and their mother already know how these guys became who they are. Then there are characters that only the die-hard fans are familiar with, who needs their origin fleshed out for wider audiences. In fact, I got into the character of Daredevil because of this movie. Now that I’m older, I’m just saying that it could’ve been a little more condensed. It’s a shame too because certain parts of the film are really good, but the writing just seems a little too unbalanced in other parts. The film just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be most of the time. It’s a fun and exciting superhero-action romp one minute, but a gritty and violent vigilante thriller the next. Pick a formula, and stick with it. Because when the film tries to be funny, it comes off as annoying. But, when the film tries to be brooding and dark, it just comes off as preachy and whiny.

As far as the acting goes, I can understand why it’s such a mixed bag. Despite any jokes I may have made, let me be clear…I don’t mind Ben Affleck. While he may be a good director, his acting has always been hit-or-miss. With films like ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Forces Of Nature’, ‘Gigli’, ‘Reindeer Games’ & ‘Jersey Girl’ under his belt, I can see why most people would consider him box office poison. ‘Daredevil’ is not his best work, by far. But, I’ll give him credit for trying. I feel that if the writing was better, he may have had better to work with. Don’t believe me? Go watch ‘Dogma’ or ‘Chasing Amy’. Sorry Ben, but I’ll stick with Charlie Cox. Not a bad performance, just not good enough to carry the film. Still an awesome costume, though.

Now, you wanna know who did carry the film? The villains! Our antagonists for this movie are Bullseye and Wilson Fisk a.k.a The Kingpin; played by Colin Ferrell and the late, great Michael Clarke Duncan, respectively. Let’s start with Bullseye; a crazy assassin known for his incredible marksmanship. He’s also the best part of this entire movie. It’s clear that Ferrell is having a lot of fun in this movie, he’s absolutely hilarious. But, knows when to dial the comedy back and become a legitimate threat.

Now, I don’t think this needs to said anymore…but who cares if they made Kingpin a black man?!? Michael Clarke Duncan was an amazing actor who was taken away from us way too soon. I absolutely loved Duncan’s portrayal of Kingpin, and was one of the few reasons why I wanted to see this movie when I was younger. In case you’re wondering, I think Michael Clarke Duncan & Vincent D’Onofrio both do justice to the character. D’Onofrio looks the closest to the real Wilson Fisk from the comics, while playing him as an unhinged and violent brute. Duncan’s portrayal was classy, cool and it takes awhile before he reaches his boiling point, and that booming voice of his is just fantastic. Great performance overall.

R.I.P. Michael Clarke Duncan(1957-2012)

This is starting to become a little too depressing now. So, let’s talk about how much Jennifer Garner blows chunks as Elektra.

I honestly don’t know what they were thinking when they casted this woman, especially when there are so many “good” actresses who can look and play the part of Elektra Natchios; like Rhona Mitra, Eliza Dushku, Milla Jovovich, Kate Beckinsale, Lena Headey, Natalie Portman, the list goes on! I don’t care if Garner was in ‘Alias’, I didn’t like the show anyway. I never found her to be that good of an actress. If you think about it, the movie was technically a financial success. Why we didn’t get a sequel to flesh out Daredevil’s world better is beyond me. Instead, we get an Elektra spinoff starring the most hated actor in the whole movie? How does that make any sense?!? Élodie Yung kicks Jennifer Garner’s preppy ass anyday.

   Now, let’s wrap things up. Even without comparing it to ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’, the 2003 film is still an jumbled mess. But, it’s still not as bad as most people make it out to be. There’s a few decent performances, the cinematography and action is handled well, the music is pretty good, even the soundtrack isn’t the worst I’ve heard. Just remember that there’s still a few cheesy moments, heavy reliance on CGI, clumsy writing and of course, Jennifer Garner. Just stick with the Netflix series. Or, if you really want to try and watch this movie, then I recommend looking at the Director’s Cut as that version includes a few more scenes and makes the film feel more focused and less stilted. Also, it has Coolio. I don’t know why I had to mention that…but there you go.

So, that’s my review of ‘Daredevil’. Case Closed. Justice is served…for now.

Wish me luck, guys…this might hurt. Until next time, Gotta Dash!

Rating:4/10

Director’s Cut Rating:6/10

Written by Shane Moose

All comic book images are owned by Marvel Comics

Daredevil(2003)(owned by 20th Century Fox, Marvel Enterprises, Regency Enterprises & Horseshoe Bay Productions)

Marvel’s Daredevil(owned by Marvel Television, ABC Studios, DeKnight Productions, Goddard Textiles & Netflix)

Doctor Who(owned by BBC)

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice(owned by Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Entertainment, RatPac Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment & Cruel and Unusual Films)

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