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Friday, November 15, 2013

Movie Review:Daredevil

Premise:A blind vigilante seeks to bring down the city crime boss who put a hit on his girlfriend.

Cast:Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios, Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, Colin Farrell as Bullseye, Derrick O'Connor as Father Everett, Scott Terra as young Matt Murdock, Jon Favreau as Franklin "Foggy" Nelson, Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich, David Keith as Jack Murdock, Erick Avari as Nikolas Natchios

Director:Mark Steven Johnson

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.

Genres:Science fiction (emphasis on fiction), drama, action

Notes:There are two versions of the film; I'm reviewing the theatrical version here. I'm told the director's cut is better (it's also rated R). Images taken from Rotten Tomatoes.

Pros:Fair acting. Emotional moments that actually manage to be emotional. Bullseye.

Cons:Stretches your suspension of disbelief to ridiculous levels. The plot makes little sense. Bad costumes. Cheesy fight scenes.

After being blinded with toxic waste as a child, Matt Murdock's other senses hit superhuman levels. As an adult, he's a lawyer who occasionally breaks out the spandex to fight crime. And then he meets this beautiful woman who just might be a match for him (in more than one sense).

As I said above, this film will stretch your suspension of disbelief to an outrageous degree. I realize that most movies do, especially superhero films. But expecting me to find Matt's radar sight plausible is just a little too much. There are several factual errors as well.

The plot doesn't make much sense, either. I want to know, why does Kingpin want Elektra dead anyway? He already killed her dad, so it doesn't seem like it's to cause him pain. Would she hunt him down? And if that's the reason, why doesn't the film ever mention it? The only reason they give is that he doesn't kill just you, he kills your whole family.

Now for the villains:Kingpin himself doesn't actually do much besides order a few kills and add a menacing presence whenever he's around. The only physical danger he provides personally is a battle in the climax.

One of the film's saving graces is the delightfully twisted Bullseye. Before he even says a word, Farrell communicates his character is not someone you want mad at you. (Are you going to mess with a guy who can kill you with a paper clip?) Another thing, though minor, is the actress that plays the rape victim early on the movie.

Throughout the movie, they play rock and rap songs to various scenes. I don't mind the style, nor would I mind if it was used more often, but they could have done it better here.

So in the end, I'm going to tell you this:Don't go in expecting a great story or interesting characters. Expect cheesy fight scenes, a sadistic antagonist, and fair acting.

12/20/2016 update:Yes, I'm still doing this.

Sex:When Matt's girlfriend breaks up with him, she says "Every time we sleep together I wake up alone." When Elektra fights him, he asks if she makes every guy go through this just to get her name. She quips he should try asking for her number. When he takes her to his place, she asks how many women he's brought up here. They later have sex. What you can see is from the waist up without anything that would earn it an R rating. It's still a lot of skin, though. Elektra wears low cut outfits and a sexualized costume. When Matt meets her at one point, he smells her neck.
Foggy gropes an object that turns out to be a statue's breasts. A man is tried for rape. Said rapist claims it was consensual and that his victim enjoyed every minute, which causes her to cry. A villain hits on a woman as he tries to murder her.

Violence:Jack Murdock was a wrestler whom you'll see fighting once. He is later murdered, with a rose left on his body. Matt squeezes the flower, causing his hand to bleed. People are stabbed and run through. Bullies attack and injure Matt, who later retaliates. Daredevil follows a man to a bar and proceeds to get into a large fight that results in some serious injuries. He leaves a criminal to die on the train tracks, breaks someone's knees, and sends a man through a window and smashing into a car. Someone gets shot through the hands.
Matt and Elektra show off their moves to each other. Daredevil gets into physical battles with both villains, giving and getting severe injuries. He angrily trashes his hideout.
Bullseye can basically use anything as a weapon. He kills people for annoying him, being in the way, or just for fun. He slits someone's throat, murders a car full of people, sends a nunchuck through a man's chest, and stabs a woman through the hand.
Lots of people spit blood. At one point, Matt yanks out his own tooth. His back is covered in scars. Pictures show a woman's beaten face. Someone mentions Elektra's mom died right in front of her.

Language:One use of "bloody". The third commandment is violated a few times with "G*d" and "J*sus". "S**t", "a**", "g*dd**m", and "h*ll" are said. F**k plays in the soundtrack.

Drugs and Alcohol:Characters smoke and drink. Matt keeps a stockpile of painkillers in his hideout. A young Matt pulls an empty bottle of his sleeping father's hand. A woman is said to have a history of drugs.

Spiritual:Obviously, there's devil imagery. There's also Catholicism. Daredevil clings to a cross on top of a church and bleeds. He goes to confession there more than once. A villain crosses himself as he enters the church where he and Daredevil battle. I won't try to make any analogies about God versus Satan here, considering the good guy in this situation is the same one dressed up as a devil. The priest quips he isn't a fan of the outfit.

So what did you think?

Want to know what I thought of the Evanescence songs used in the movie? Look here.

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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