Monday, August 04, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXIII

I didn't see this when it was in the theaters -- just as I missed X2 and Hulk -- but I did pick up the DVD to validate my comic book geekdom. And even though I had my doubts going in -- Ben Affleck? -- this movie could have been much, much worse. Not having been a big reader of the comic since the '80s, I don't think the director played up the darkness of the character as much as he could of. I remember Daredevil being so desolate and despairing. The production team tried to capture some of that by portraying a Tim Burton-era Batman-like world blending modern-day elements and gothic overtones. But outside of the nighttime scenes, it didn't really carry. For the long-running comic-based romance and storyline with Elektra, it's a shame that their relationship was so shallow in the movie -- and that she was killed off. Likewise with Bullseye, who was demoted to a cartoony ethnic tough. So what did I like? The repositioning of Daredevil's origin was interesting, with hazardous waste physically affecting his optic nerves. And the special effects during the sequences in which viewers got a taste of Daredevil's radar-like vision were extremely well done, particularly the scenes in the rain (which beg the question: Following Spider-Man, do all superhero movies now require a rainy romantic scene?). Two action sequences stand out: the scene in which young Matt Murdock fights the neighborhood bullies shortly after his blinding, and the scene in which Elektra and Murdock first meet and spar in the playground. But above all, I think it is the repositioning of the Kingpin that I think has the most promise. The ending opens up the opportunity for a sequel -- which might not be the wisest of decisions -- with the Kingpin put up against Daredevil as Magneto has been put up against the X-Men in their respective movies. Worth seeing if you're interested in comic books, but not overly satisfying if you don't have prior exposure to the characters.

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