ninth symphony films - movie reviews

DAREDEVIL (2003)


DIRECTOR  -  mark steven johnson

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  96 minutes

RELEASED  -  14 february 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  daredevil

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $75,000,000
daredevil - a shot from the film

BUY THE DVD:

buy the dvd from daredevil at amazon.com

buy the dvd from daredevil at amazon.com


SYNOPSIS:
matt murdock is blinded by radioactive waste as a child and when his father is killed, grows up vowing revenge on the killer.




MOVIE FACT:
the first two cuts of the film submitted to the mpaa received r-ratings. additional edits were needed to get the pg-13.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from daredevil

picture from daredevil

picture from daredevil



RATING:


two out of four possible stars

Though it generally succeeds as a film based on a comic book, some audiences might find the film funny in places where it should not cause laughter. And as this is one of the first of several planned feature film adaptations for the formerly cash strapped "Marvel" comic book empire, sooner or later, one of their heroes wouldn't be able to jump high enough. All the performances in the film are more than adequate for the genre, and the infusion of comedy into many of the scenes made some of the more unrealistic sequences more palatable. But the film features a supporting cast that many times eclipses the film's star.

As "Daredevil" by night and "Matt Murdoch" by day, Ben Affleck has an impressive screen presence when he isn't covered by a mask that obscures his face. But sometimes his talent his not as vivid as it should be, as he is not the most convincing actor to have used Hong Kong style stunt choreography. If anything, Jennifer Garner upstages Affleck's abilities in the fighting arena every time she picks up a weapon or starts hurtling around the set with her body. Perhaps it is her experience on the physically demanding show "Alias" that prepared her for such a role, but she still manages to make the audience want to know more about her character than we learn about Daredevil.

In point of fact, being that the characterizations in this book are based on characters already created, perhaps making her a character with more history or substance was prohibitive. Perhaps the fans of the comic book series would have objected to a fictionalizing of an already established character. But if more time had been spent on the human side of these super heroes, perhaps they would have been more convincing during the many fight sequences. And for a movie that clocks in at around 100 minutes (that's with the end titles), the film doesn't have a lot of time to waste.

Another standout performance in the film belongs to Colin Farrell, who has, in his short career, tackled just about every genre there is to be had in film (the Old West, spy thriller, war hero, and science fiction), so seeing him take on yet another type of film should gain him some respect on the acting front. Interestingly, he is one of the most entertaining characters in the film, even though he's clearly the bad guy. As "Bullseye," an Irish vigilante with a bullís eye carved into his forehead, he mixes the stunts and the comedy to an equal degree, much to his character's benefit. The audience might know nothing of his past or his ambitions, but they will certainly be entertained by his antics.

Supporting character "Kingpin," played well by Michael Clarke Duncan, is a formidable enemy for Daredevil, considering his penchant for evil and gigantic size. Though, like Bullseye, we don't know much about Kingpin by the time the film ends. There have been fight sequences galore between the good guys and the bad, but more time was spent on those scenes than on filling in the massive plot holes and lack of character development. Which is no small thing in a movie adapted from a comic book. If anything, fans of series like these (including "Spiderman," "Batman," and "Superman") demand a story with a higher intelligence quotient than the average action film.

The emphasis on family in this film is evident with the short back-story that shows the audience how Matt Murdoch came to be Daredevil, but that idea is not a constant one. The line of sight (no pun intended) for Affleck's character is not a smooth, clear line to the end of the film. Though it is interesting how the Daredevil character struggles with wanting to be a "good" superhero, much of the imagery used in the film is too on-the-nose. Seldom does the audience have to think or wait for something to be revealed, as everything is so obvious. One of the last scenes takes place in a church, where there is no small amount of religious imagery to be had.

But given that many audience members will be seeing this because they are fans of the actors, or because they like action films, this film succeeds on that basic level. Though it will not be a movie that will jump the boundaries of its genre to pull in viewers with originality or inventiveness. Calling Daredevil a "standard" action film and a decent popcorn movie is probably enough, even if the small performances by Jon Favreau (playing Matt Murdoch's law partner) and Joe Pantoliano (playing a newspaper reporter) are rather entertaining. The soundtrack is also a surprise as well, with more than one well-written pop song making it into the mix. Daredevil will never be a huge franchise for Marvel, but it may just entertain audiences enough to be a moderate box office success.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


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