February 2003

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Producers: Avi Arad, Gary Foster, Arnon Milchan
Screenplay: Mark Steven Johnson
Cinematography: Ericson Core
Music: Graeme Revell
Cast: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith, Scott Terra

Jennifer Garner as Elektra and Ben Affleck as Daredevil in 20th Century Fox's Daredevil - 2003

Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock and Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich in 20th Century Fox's Daredevil - 2003

Ben Affleck as the title character of 20th Century Fox's Daredevil - 2003

Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin and Colin Farrell as Bullseye in 20th Century Fox's Daredevil - 2003

Jennifer Garner as Elektra and Colin Farrell as Bullseye in 20th Century Fox's Daredevil - 2003



There was a time when superheroes ruled on the big screen before fading out. With the millions of dollars that “Spiderman” generated last year, every studio is looking to capitalize on that and start their own superhero franchise. “Superman” led the way over twenty years ago, and “Batman” did very well in the late 80s before the franchise self-destructed with many actors playing the role of the Caped Crusader. This summer will mark the return of the “X-Men” and “The Hulk” will make his presence on the big screen. In the meantime, another hero is ready to make his entrance. In Mark Steven Johnson’s film DAREDEVIL, Ben Affleck may have the look to play the character but lacks the charm and the strength to carry the film.

Every superhero film has to have a beginning so we get to know the basis for the character's alter ego. We first meet Matt Murdock (Affleck) in a state of shock recalling how he came to be "Daredevil". Growing up in the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen wasn’t easy for young Matt (Terra). Constantly being bullied by the other boys in his area, he had to run home to his drunken father, Jack (Keith). Jack was a boxer who at times did work for the local mob. When Matt catches his father doing his “job”, he’s runs off upset and has an accident with some hazardous chemical. The incident leaves him blind, but his four senses have been refined to another level. Being able to feel, smell, and “see” things from a dark view has given Matt a new path to life. After his father is murdered by an unseen figure from the mob, Matt seeks justice on both sides of his ego. By day, he’s a lawyer, and by night he’s DAREDEVIL.

Aided by his law partner (Favreau), Matt helps out the poor seeking justice. When he senses beauty, he goes after it, or shall we say, her. Electra (Garner) is the daughter of a billionaire and her encounter with Matt is action-packed. Romance develops between the two, but gets interrupted with the entrance of mob boss Kingpin (Clarke Duncan) in their lives. At 6’7 and 430 pounds, Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin rules over New York City. Determined to stop him and his henchman, Bullseye, Daredevil has to muster his strength to save the city from tyranny.

Daredevil leaves the audience hanging because there is so much that could have been done for this film to be spectacular. Scenes where the character development begins is a good start, but it goes downhill from there when Ben Affleck comes into the picture. He doesn’t mess it up, blame the editors. His entrance in the film as an adult was so quick as if scenes were cut. For a guy who supposed to be blind, he sure does a lot to make people think otherwise. Jennifer Garner is amazing in this film. She brings her athletlic skills she displays on TV’s Alias and makes the film worth watching. As the “sidekick”, Favreau is good for laughs. Farrell is appealing as Bullseye but his character has no development. When did he get superhero skills like Daredevil? Michael Clarke Duncan is probably the best actor who can play the role of Kingpin, and he too is underused. With the exception of the look, because Kingpin is white in the comic book, Duncan does everything the character is supposed to do. The screenplay is what did the film in. If you ever read the comic book growing up and still do, you know what to expect from the characters and it wasn’t displayed on screen. Overall, Daredevil is kinetic mess that serves no justice.