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Truth or Daredevil
4.6.2003 by Scott, every Thursday.

I went to see Daredevil a few weeks ago, and thought that now that it's had some time to sink in, I'd try to drag out a review to share. Before I get into the commentary, I feel it is only fair to let all of you know that I don't have the greatest taste in movies, by the average persons standards. My favorite movies of all time, for example, are “Transformers: The Movie”, “Starship Troopers”, and “Ferris Bueller's Day Off”, none of which were ever in contention for an Oscar. Not that I care too much for the Oscars anyway, but I just wanted to let you know where I was coming from before I got into it. Also, some spoilers may appear in the column, so if you haven't seen the movie and hate spoilers, go see it then come back here and read this.

Right off the bat, Daredevil is a movie made by the background players. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner play hollywood people in the movie, and could therefore have had their roles played by anyone. Were they terrible? No, but they did nothing to make the roles their own. In fact, I think Garner was a terrible cast as Elektra, so she was sort of doomed from the start in my eyes. Affleck was wooden, as the Role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil didn't give him much room to crack wise or banter, he didn't have much of a chance to put his best face forward. Again, I guess the blame there should be tossed to the casting director more than to anyone else.

But it's in the supporting cast that you can find this movie's saving graces. Jon Favreau as ”Foggy” Nelson plays the character perfectly. He looks as if he put on forty pounds for the role, and he does it perfectly. Michael Clarke Duncan as the Kingpin of Crime caused a furor of controversy in online comic circles when he was cast. “But the Kingpin's WHITE!” was a phrase often repeated on message boards and columns on the web. Well, the Kingpin is also 6”5' and 350 pounds, so I guess 2 out of 3 was enough. Duncan, unlike Garner and Affleck, did own his role. Massive and proud, he make the Kingpin the presence on screen. Reflecting the power of the character from the comics, he made him seem larger than life. Lastly, Colin Farrell as the assassin for hire “Bullseye” was great. Some of the effects that they had him do were silly looking, (i.e. Killing a man with a bunch of straightened paper clips), but that wasn't really his fault. Farrell gave Bullseye that crazy edge, and when he failed to kill Daredevil, that snapping point which again was straight from the comics. I'll confidently say, that if not for Farrell, this movie could have been another “Captain America”.

The plot was basically a retelling of the Frank Miller Daredevil stories of the 80's. Darker, grittier than the Daredevil comics before, but also the greatest run that book has ever seen. In fact, the line Bullseye spouts in his fight with Elektra towards the end of the movie was taken work for word from Miller's own battle between the two from issue #181. I found that this movie actually played to fans of the comic book more than any other superhero movie I've ever seen. Cameos by past writers of Daredevil, Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Kevin Smith were only thrown in to please readers of the books. Also, mentioned in the movie were other people who've worked on the title. The fighters that Jack Murdock fought were named “Romita”, “Miller”, “Mack”, and “Bendis”, after past writers and artists of the book. A rapist that Daredevil takes out is named “Jose Quesada”, after Marvel Editor in Chief and past DD artist Joe Quesada, and Kevin Smith's character, a mortician, is named “Kirby”, after Jack Kirby, legendary artist from Marvel's past. These easter eggs made me appreciate the movie, and were most likely missed by the masses.

All in all, I did like the movie. It wasn't the best hero flick I'd ever seen, but it definately wasn't “Batman & Robin”. So if you're a fanboy, you'll really like the movie. If not, well, I brought my girlfriend along to see it, and she didn't roll her eyes once, so it can't be too terrible. All in all, I'd give it a 3 underoos rating out of a possible 5.

This summer, be on the look out for plenty of Comic book inspired movies. X2, the sequel to X-Men is due out May 2nd, followed by “Hulk”, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Bulletproof Monk”. Drool....

Scott MacIver

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