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| 20th Century Fox (1hr. 54 min.)
| Based on the Marvel Comics character, blind lawyer Matt Murdock becomes the vigilante/superhero Daredevil.
| Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell
|If youre a comic book geek, then youre probably familiar with the tagline: "Here Comes Daredevil
The Man Without Fear."
(By the by, theres nothing wrong with being a geek. Those little tabloids with the great colorful illustrations are legitimate books graphic novels in fact. But thats another column.)
Enter the movie "Daredevil," based on the 1964 Marvel comic book. The movies tagline should have read: "Here Comes Daredevil
The Man whose film is not as entertaining as last years "Spider-Man," as dark as 1989s "Batman," or romantic as 1978s "Superman." But thats OK because "The Hulk" in coming out this summer."
"Daredevil" is a poor mans "Spider-Man" in terms of special-effects and there lies the problem. And even though he can defy gravity and bounce from rooftop to rooftop, DD just doesnt live up to his Marvel frat brother. Lets face it, the CGI wizards at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) have spoiled us geeks rotten.
Admittedly, a film about a blind vigilante is intriguing. However, most of the fight scenes (accompanied by blaring heavy-metal and rapid-fire MTV images) in "Daredevil" take place in dark alleys, hallways and atop seedy laundry-strewn Manhattan rooftops making it nearly impossible for the audience to keep track of the action. Maybe they didnt have "Spider-Mans" budget, so they resorted to annoying gimmicks. Who can say?
But to give the "Devil" his due, "Daredevil" seems to work in spite of its shortcomings.
Heart-throb Ben Affleck, (Mr. J. Lo to you.) stars as the sightless vigilante whose enhanced sense of hearing, smell and touch allows him to see bad guys, buildings and moving objects as radar type outlines. The audience gets only of few glimpses of DDs world that only serves to whet our appetites and leaves us hungry for more. DD would have been a more enjoyable movie had the filmmakers shown more through DDs eyes.
In the comic book Murdock is blinded as a child while trying to save a blind man from crossing in front of a speeding truck carrying radioactive isotopes. Hes struck on the head by a fallen isotope and Daredevil is born. In the movie, the scriptwriters opted for a good dose of toxic waste to give DD his super sensing powers.
Like Batman, Daredevil is a dark, brooding, mentally disturbed character, who also saw his father murdered in the street by hoodlums. And like Batman, Daredevils driving force is revenge against the man who killed his father. Which is a good thing because without that motivation, hed just be another superhero standing around in tightly fitted spandex with nothing to do.
Michael Clarke Duncan beautifully fills the villains role as the beefy King Pin who is actually a Spider-Man nemesis. Go figure. Maybe Daredevils usual gang of suspects: the Owl, Stilt-Man and Man-Bull were too busy.
However, DD regulars Bullseye (Colin Farrell) and Elektra (Jennifer Garner), who is also seeking revenge around off the brilliant cast of baddies. The massive Duncan absorbs the camera and the screen with his presence so much so, that you cant take your eyes off him, as he puffs on an illegal Cuban stogie. Elektra, whose costume stops an inch short of soft-porn, is easy on the eyes and adds a sense of drama to the film as Murdocks lover by day and Daredevils enemy by night.
In the final analysis, "Daredevil" is your average superhero fare with exotic villains who spend way too much money on their wardrobe and gadgets. And then theres those scantly dressed femme fatals who keep trying to kill our disturbed superheroes clad in molded body suits.
Should we say enough already?
With "X-Men 2" and "The Hulk" waiting in the wings, and the second "Spider-Man" movie currently in production, maybe this current trend of superhero flicks is an acknowledgement that after 911, maybe were allowed to indulge in our childhood fantasies of larger than life comic book heroes saving the day.