<b><i>Daredevil</i></b>: Leave Your High Hopes At the Door and Enjoy - Mania.com

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Daredevil: Leave Your High Hopes At the Door and Enjoy

By Dave Richards     February 11, 2003

Comics2Film contributor Dave Richards sat down for a press screening of Twentieth Century Fox, New Regency and Marvel's Daredevil. We present his review here for your consideration.

Be warned that the review does contain Minor Spoilers.

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If you werea Star Wars fan before 1999 you know what it means to get your hopesup for a film. Attack of the Clones disappointed many Star Warsfans myself included. I worry about fans that have high hopes for Daredevil.

I didn't expect much from the film. The previews made the film look silly.So when I saw Daredevil I had significantly lowered expectations. I ended up liking the film. Those of you who are expecting a high qualityfilm like Spider-Man might be disappointed, but Daredevilis not a bad film. It's simply okay.

The film opens with a severelywounded Daredevil flashing back to the beginning of his life. We see howyoung Matt Murdock lost his sight and gained his heightened senses. Wealso see how Murdock's father defied the mob, and paid for it with hislife.

Then you are taken to the present where Matt Murdock meets ElektraNatchios for the first time and Daredevil chases down a rapist who usedhis connections with the mysterious Kingpin, to escape a prison sentence.We are then drawn into a complex and very crowded story involving Daredevil, the death of Elektra's father, Bullseye, and the Kingpin.

There is too much story fora film that is not even two hours long. The film's great supporting castgets brutally neglected because of this. John Favreau makes great use ofhis little screen time. He nailed the part of Franklin "Foggy" Nelson.

Joe Pantoliano was awesome as New York Post reporter Ben Urich, even thoughhe had hardly any screen time. Hopefully he will get more time in a sequel.

Ben Affleck was good as MattMurdock and Daredevil. A word of caution to comic purists, this might notbe the Daredevil you are use to. He has a lot of rage issues and is verybrutal in the way he deals with crime. Be patient though. The charactergrows in the movie and it leads to a terrific ending.

Jennifer Garner was decentas Elektra. She spends most of the film, as Matt Murdock's love interest.The chemistry between Affleck and Garner was nice in some scenes and blandin others. Unfortunately Elektra's time wielding her sais in the film isbrief and it results from a bad, misunderstanding twist that feels like one of the common plot devices seen on TV's Three's Company.

The one actor who stole theshow was the actor who I thought would stink up the film. Collin Farrellwas great as Bullseye in spite of that ridiculous scar on his forehead.Farrell was very over-the-top but he had enough charisma to make it work.He perfectly portrayed Bullseye's cockiness and sense of humor.

Michael Clarke Duncan's portrayalof the Kingpin was short but effective. Duncan showed he could play a criminalmastermind. His Kingpin was a nice mix of style and menace.

Mark Steven Johnsondemonstrated he is a better director than a writer. Some of the dialogue in the filmis so bad it's cringe worthy, particularly some of Daredevil's early lines.

The script tried to do too much and had some ridiculous elements. Matt and Elektra's schoolyard meeting is silly. The two brazenly and publicly show offtheir combat skills in an attempt to flirt with each other. It looks likea bad dance routine.

Johnson nicely establishedthe dark, urban mood of the film. He seemed to over-indulge in sometrick shots, but he showed great promise for a first-time action director. Thelook of Daredevil's radar sense was handled very well. It had a realisticfeel

Daredevil has manydetails that comic book fans will appreciate it. Matt Murdock makes useof a sensory deprivation tank. After a night out patrolling, Matt playsan answering machine message from one of his comic book ex-girlfriendsHeather Glenn. Many background characters are named after Daredevil comiccreators.

So protect yourself, don'texpect a film the caliber of Spider-Man and you should enjoy Daredevil.The film has quite a few problems, but it's also got some great moments.The film has an awesome wrap up that leaves you wanting more. I thoughtDaredevil was okay. It served as a decent set up to a potentiallygreat sequel.

Have you seen the movie? Do you Agree? Disagree? Have a completely different take on Daredevil?

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