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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Ben Affleck
Jennifer Garner
Colin Farrell
Michael Clarke Duncan.
Directors
Mark Steven Johnson.
Screenwriters
Mark Steven Johnson.
Running Time
105 minutes

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Daredevil
Ben Affleck cleans up the streets as the sightless, leather-clad vigilante


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Plot
An accident blinds young Matt Murdock but heightens his remaining senses. As an adult, he fights for justice as a lawyer by day and superhero by night - until a romance with Elektra, martial artist daughter of a tycoon, brings him up against New York crime boss Kingpin and assassin-for-hire Bullseye.


Review
The fourth major Marvel Comics franchise to make it to the screen - following Blade, X-Men and Spider-Man - Daredevil works hard to establish an identity separate from those series, limiting the fantastical elements by endowing its leather-clad players with preternatural rather than the supernatural abilities. It pitches straight in with a wounded, suited-up Daredevil (Affleck) clinging like a gargoyle to a church steeple, then zooms into his blind eye to kick off a complicated set of flashbacks that cover even more comics history than was crammed into the slightly roomier Spider-Man script.

As is typical with superheroes, the cool powers - demonstrated by snappy, imaginative visuals that show how the blind man 'sees' through soundwaves - are balanced by more than his fair share of traumas and harsh life lessons. Oddly, the childhood section of the film puts less emphasis on quasi-science fiction stuff about the poor kid from Hells' Kitchen blinded by a spray of radioactive goop and gifted with reflexes beyond the normal than it does on a rerun of 1940s noir boxing melodramas (Body And Soul, The Set-Up). Matt's dad, Jack 'The Devil' Murdock (David Keith), refuses to take a dive in the ring and is murdered outside the arena by a rose-throwing shadowman who, as in Burton's Batman film, will clearly wind up as our hero's arch-nemesis.

Sensibly, we skip some years to avoid crossover with the Batman and Spider-Man on-the-job superhero training scenes. When we pick it up, Matt's night-time alter ego is established as an urban legend, with newshound Ben Urich (Joe Pantoliano) - who sadly no longer works alongside Peter Parker at the Daily Bugle, because the franchises are with different studios - determined to unmask the vigilante. Affleck does well in a charming/unnerving meeting with Garner's asskickette heroine, first pulling fake disabled pick-up moves on her in a coffee shop then getting down to serious foreplay in an impromptu punch-up in a playground.

Things fray when the villains are introduced. Michael Clarke Duncan's cigar-smoking megalomaniac Kingpin and Colin Farrell's venomous Irish hitman Bullseye are fun characters with neat gimmicks (Bullseye can kill anyone with anything, including paperclips and peanuts). Even the enmities that swirl between the characters are serviceable (after a first encounter with Daredevil, Bullseye is incensed - "You made me miss!"). What isn't seamless is the way the villains are yoked into the Matt-Elektra story and, after a couple of Hong Kong-style one-on-one wire-strung battles, there's little room to develop, prompting a drop-off after the movie comes out of flashback mode. A supposed final confrontation between the hero and his father's killer fizzles because the film can't bring itself to commit to any of the possible outcomes.

Writer-director Mark Steven Johnson over-relies on an album's worth of songs to underscore emotion and excitement, when he ought to trust his mostly fine writing and effective casting. Affleck, the good guy equivalent of his legal shark in Changing Lanes, is a more convincing hero than in his earlier leading man outings, and everyone else is on form. But the initial good impression dissipates by the fade-out.


Verdict
Long-time DD fans and newcomers will like the characters more than the film, but there are enough strong moments to guarantee a good night out. An inevitable sequel might well shore up the weak spots.


Reviewed by Kim Newman


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Average user rating for Daredevil
Empire Star Rating

Daredevil Review

Passable if derivative as entertainment, Ben Affleck fits the role but the film is not up to compare with the more recent and better superhero films. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 13:52, 19 December 2011 | Report This Post


the effects are terrible at points, but the storyline, good fight scenes and likable characters like colin farrell as evil assasin Bullseye make it an enjoyable superhero film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bubbagump9 at 16:03, 13 March 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I agree that Affleck was wrong for the part of Daredevil, The DC version ties the whole film together more, and Farrell was brilliant as Bullseye! The gripe I had was that everything felt rushed, you know the babdly handled hate towards Daredevil from Elektra, surely she would of recognised a fight in the street between two guys and a motorbike! I feel if they had gone wih her being the hired killer, sent to kill Daredevil from the start then things would of been a hell of alot better... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by councilskivvy at 10:03, 01 February 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Sorry, ended up seeing this twice, and thought it was terrible on both occasions. Woeful fx, flat characters and acting, some unintentional laugh out loud moments and a pretty dull story line. And a quick word on Affleck, he oozed smugness, which did not bode well for trying to empathise with his character. 1/5. avoid. ... More

Posted by boot at 00:21, 25 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

As mentioned elsewhere the Directors Cut solves most of the problems with the theatrical release and is recommended as it is a far more well rounded film.   ... More

Posted by sanchia at 21:31, 24 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

As mentioned elsewhere the Directors Cut solves most of the problems with the theatrical release and is recommended as it is a far more well rounded film.   ... More

Posted by sanchia at 21:29, 24 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I actually loved this film, but mind you I was a huge fan of the comics, it's a shame they are not considering a sequel! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by councilskivvy at 09:32, 24 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

a bit poor in some parts but overall not tooo shabby ... More

Posted by filmburner30 at 15:51, 23 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

this is definitly not as bad as the critics said! i agree that it wasnt as great as many other comic book or superhero movies, but it wasnt a load of tripe either! i found very entertaining and surprisingly dark!(ok could have been darker, but when do they ever go full blown darkness,lol)   However, if i have to pin point the negative points of the movie then the casting was the main thing!! Affleck and Garner were the best casting choices, but it was the casting of Colin Farrell ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sagent33 at 08:49, 20 January 2007 | Report This Post


RE:

Not as bad as some critics try to make out (probably the kind of critics who would slate anything for having Apart from a few minor irratations (the suit could have looked better), there aren't any major faults with this film. 3/5. ... More

Posted by BobaJango at 17:14, 18 January 2007 | Report This Post


A great blockbuster with spectacular scenes a asume baddie and Jennifer Garner got her own spin off. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dianemc at 21:30, 17 January 2007 | Report This Post


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