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C'mon Hollywood: Marvel getting Daredevil back? Let's do him some "blind" justice!

08.21.2012

I’ve been reading Daredevil for more than 20 years.He’s a unique character to the Marvel universe, one who constantly toes the line of justice as a walking conundrum with super sonic powers; As a lawyer by day, Matt Murdock prosecutes criminals with the rule of law, but by night he slips into red tights to beat the crap out of them. It’s an interesting dynamic and one that makes DD such an intricate character. With Hell’s Kitchen serving as his Gotham City, DAREDEVIL has always been rooted in the gritty, dark-alley, street-wise world, chock full of dangerous criminals, usually controlled by the ruthless Kingpin.

As a character, those are some of Daredevil’s defining characteristics, next to having the worst luck with women of any character in comics. His rogues gallery of baddies like the Kingpin, Bullseye, Elektra, Nuke, The Owl, Death Stalker, Typhoid Mary, etc., are a tremendous cast of cinematic greats in waiting, with plenty of room for exploration on the big screen. With all of those considerations in mind and the impending transfer of the character back to it’s parent company’s hands, I’m hoping to see a translation worthy of his rich history.

But, how to do it? We recently saw director Joe Carnahan’s sizzle reel, highlighting a unique take on the character with a ‘70’s set origin tale, ripe with the flavors of Frank Miller’s run on the comics, including the seminal “Born Again” storyline from 1985-1986. These stories took DAREDEVIL down some very dark roads of violence, tragedy, and pushed him to the very limits of his physical and mental state, making for one of the most satisfying arcs the character has ever seen. Carnahan chose wisely when focusing on this aspect of the character and it’s a welcome venue for a reboot.

What Marvel has here is a unique opportunity to not only establish Daredevil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also to establish a history for ALL of their existing “street-level” characters (that they own, of course). By establishing Daredevil in the 1970’s, Marvel opens up the doors for a bevy of others to be introduced as well, helping to cement the continuity they have so vigorously built with their Phase one superheroes. “Marvel Knights” characters like The Punisher, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, etc. all fit squarely within this category.

The film could easily work as being completely set in the 1970’s, but I personally would rather see a flashback film the builds the origin, while showing an already established DAREDEVIL operating in Hell’s Kitchen. I know some will disagree with that, because it can be tricky, but I think it would help establish the character alongside the status quo of the cinematic universe. Either way, I think it would be unwise of Marvel to not explore hiring Joe Carnahan for the project and seeing if he can work within their regimen. With FOX, it seemed like they were less hands on, simply looking for “someone to do something,” rather than hiring someone on to establish a character in a broader setting. Now, that opportunity exists and what a tremendous thing it is.

Blending Frank Miller’s “The Man Without Fear” storyline with aspects from both “Born Again” and his early run on the book (i.e. the death of Elektra storyline) should be the focus, blending past with present in a manner that builds to modern day, while establishing an origin and history without giving us another by-the-numbers origin only story.The tendency would be to do an IRON MAN type tale, but I think that’s a mistake. DD is a much darker tale and deserves to be able to show the harshness and grittiness that’s been a staple of the series for so long.

When it comes to casting, I think some out-of-the-box choices are sorely needed for the role. Affleck did fine in the mostly lackluster 2003 adaptation, but the Affleck of today would be much better suited to the role than the one from 2003; meaning we need an older, wiser actor to be in the red tights. My choice has always been Aaron Eckhart, who has the look, stature, physique, and acting chops to embody Matt Murdock/Daredevil to a tee. Certainly there are other choices to consider, but going with younger (with the exception of flashbacks) is a mistake.In this instance, I think it would suit the film to follow the Robert Downey Jr. example of Iron Man, rather than the Chris Evans of Captain America.

Marvel has proven to be exceptionally adept at crafting their films thus far and I have no doubt that they will do the same for DAREDEVIL, considering many different options for how to bring the character back to the big screen proper. My hope is that they will seize the opportunity to establish a broader universe with some of it’s more grounded characters and give the devil his true due, by not only considering Carnahan’s vision, but taking it to the next level.  No matter what happens, my faith is firmly with Marvel and my fingers crossed that we’ll see The Man Without Fear grace the big screen with all the grit, character, and style he’s been built on for decades.

Extra Tidbit: Who would be your choice for a Daredevil reboot at Marvel? My money is still on Carnahan with Eckhart in the lead.
Source: JoBlo.com

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