Daredevil (2003)

daredevil poster 2003 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 5/10

Ok story, Bullseye and Kingpin

Ben Affleck, Daredevil's costume

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Daredevil

Studio:  Marvel Enterprises/New Regency Productions/Horseshoe Bay Productions

Genre(s):  Comic Book/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  February 9, 2003 (Premiere)/February 14, 2003 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

daredevil costume ben affleck

Daredevil is out for vengeance!

Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is an attorney in Hell’s Kitchen who fights for the little people with his partner Franklin “Foggy” Nelson (Jon Favreau).  When Matt was young, he lost his sight but gained something else in the accident.  Matt’s acute senses give him powers and with those powers he has become Daredevil to fight and avenge his father (Keith David) who was killed for standing up for himself.  When Matt meets a woman named Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner), he finds he could have the key to stopping Wilson “The Kingpin” Fisk (Michael Clarke Duncan) who is secretly controlling the underworld.  Unfortunately, Fisk has brought in an assassin named Bullseye (Colin Farrell)…and Bullseye never misses.

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson, Daredevil is a Marvel Comics superhero movie.  Predating the MCU, the character later merged with the MCU with the Netflix TV series Daredevil.  The film was met with negative reviews and won a Razzie award for Worst Actor (Affleck—also for Gigli and Paycheck.  The film later earned Affleck the Worst Actor of the Decade award).

daredevil elektra jennifer garner

Ok…I might not look like Elektra, but I have her weapons!

When Daredevil was released, there weren’t a ton of superhero movies.  The X-Men already surfaced along with Spider-Man and Blade, but it was still special occasion to get a comic book movie…in that sense, Daredevil was fun, but in the bigger picture of “quality”, Daredevil isn’t very good.

Daredevil wasn’t a household name at the time and the film becomes a rather typical origin issue.  The movie focuses on the Frank Miller “Elektra” storyline (which retconned Elektra into Matt’s past), but this film takes the approach of having them meet, fall in love, fall out of love, and end tragically.  It is a so-so story and appropriate for the character, but the movie has a ton of other pitfalls that cause it to struggle.

One of the biggest problems is Affleck.  His “blind” performance is pretty bad and he is only so-so when he’s Daredevil and not playing blind.  He’s teamed with Jennifer Garner who doesn’t have the look or style that Elektra needs.  Colin Farrell has the cockiness of Bullseye, but the madness feels too forced.  The best casting involves Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin (but in the early day of toxic fandom, some fans didn’t like the race-swap of the Kingpin characters).  Ellen Pompeo has a miniscule role as Karen Page and Joe Pantoliano steps in as Ben Urich.  Stan Lee makes an obligatory appearance along with writer/artist Frank Miller and Kevin Smith who was also writing the comic.

daredevil bullseye colin farrell

I don’t miss!

The next big problem is the look and style of the film.  It feels kind of cheap (especially in comparison to the bigger budgets of today’s MCU).  The fighting is so-so and the action is rather bland.  Some of the scenes are picked right from the comic, but it still doesn’t have the energy of even the Spider-Man movies which were just starting.  It also feels stuck between PG-13 and R with what maybe should have been a more violent story.

Daredevil isn’t great, and Ben Affleck refused to return to the role.  A director’s cut of the film was released and is slightly better (it adds a Coolio storyline to the plot with Matt and Foggy trying to prove him innocent).  Daredevil did revert back to Marvel eventually and Daredevil joined Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist in appearing in Netflix’s series…and eventually the MCU proper in Spider-Man:  No Way HomeDaredevil was followed by Elektra in 2005.

Related Links:

Elektra (2005)

Daredevil—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Daredevil—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) 

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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