tek's rating: ½

Daredevil (PG-13)
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Caution: spoilers!

I haven't read the comix, so I can't really compare this movie to them. What can I say? The title character has an acceptably tragic backstory to motivate him. When he was a kid, his father was a prize fighter forced into a life of crime, as a hired thug for a local gangster. But when the kid loses his eyesight, his dad goes back to an honest life of boxing... and because of this, the guy he used to work for had him murdered. Meanwhile, this kid, Matt Murdock, has gained heightened senses, as well as sonar, replacing his lost eyesight. He learns to fear nothing.

He grows up (now played by Ben Affleck), becomes a lawyer by day, and a vigilante by night. He's got some cool gadgets and hella cool moves. Meanwhile, there's a newspaper reporter named Ben Urich (Joe Pantoliano), who's been writing about Daredevil as well as Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan), a man who supposedly controls all the crime in the city. The cops would seem to prefer to believe neither person exists. Matt gets romantically involved with a woman named Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner), who is an expert in martial arts, and as it later turns out, the use of sai. Anyway, her father is Nikolas Natchios, a local mob boss, I guess, who works with a man named Wilson Fisk, but Nikolas wants to get out of the business. Fisk hires a hitman called Bullseye (Colin Farrell), who can throw anything with perfect accuracy, to kill Nikolas and his daughter. He kills Nikolas, framing Daredevil for the murder, but also gains a grudge against Daredevil, who evades his attacks. He really hates to miss, you see. Later, Urich warns Matt that Elektra is in danger; he's figured out that Matt is Daredevil. Daredevil goes to protect Elektra, but she believes he killed her father, so she tries to kill him. Then Bullseye shows up...

And I guess I don't want to spoil any more of the plot. I should mention there's a priest who knows Matt's secret, and a lawyer friend of Matt's who shares a small law practice with him and is always complaining about their clients' inability to pay their bills (who does not know Matt's secret). Anyway, the fight scenes are all pretty damn cool. The characters, I think, are all reasonably interesting. Um... the movie came out in 2003, but I don't remember when I first watched it. Probably within a couple years of that. Watched it a second time in 2013, and I'm sure at least a few years had passed since the first time. When I watched it before and wrote my review, I gave it two smileys, but upon my second viewing I found that I liked it more than I remembered, and added a "half" to my rating. It's still not really as good as the more successful superhero franchises, but I definitely think it's good. And someday I really should try to watch the director's cut, which is probably even better....

See also the spin-off movie Elektra.

comic book movies