Review Date:
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Writer: Mark Steven Johnson
Producers: Avi Arad, Gary Foster, Arnon Milchan
Ben Affleck
Jennifer Garner
Colin Farrell
A poppa’s boy tragically loses his sight at an early age, but gains extraordinary abilities through his other four senses and grows up to don a leather costume and kick “bad guy” ass all over the city. On his downtime, he meets a cute girl who also kicks butt, a psycho with a bullseye on his forehead and a very big man who rules crime about town. Who dares this devil to clean house? I do, I do!
From the man who brought you SIMON BIRCH comes…DAREDEVIL?? I was one of those peeps who wasn’t sure if Mark Steven Johnson’s only other directing gig or his screenwriting credits (GRUMPY OLD MEN anyone?) made him the obvious choice to helm this puppy, but after sitting through this very dark, energetic and faithful big screen adaptation of the daring crime fighter, I’m happy to report that all is still very cool in the world of Marvel comic book movies. This film delivers a lot of action, an intriguing back-story, two fun villains, a gorgeous love interest, a humorous side-kick and many of the basic essentials of any comic book movie, including incredible stunts, unbelievable feats and mucho over-the-top fun. Will it be too “unbelievable” for some people? Sure, but then again…it’s based on a friggin’ comic book…not Einstein’s theory of relativity. All that to say that if you’re going to piss about how some of the stuff just “doesn’t make sense” or how the villains are too “cartoony”, maybe seeing a film featuring a blind man prancing around in a burgundy leather outfit isn’t your bag in the first place. For those going into this flick expecting a lot of fun, prepare to enjoy– although fun’s not the only piece of this pie. In fact, if there’s any other movie to which I can compare this one, it has to be the original CROW starring Brandon Lee. This film’s got a similar gothic tone, a very dark look all around, a strong element of revenge, emphasis on rock in its soundtrack, as well as some tender tunes and beneath it all…a pretty decent love story. That’s right…not only does this flick deliver in style, slick characters, a quick pace and a nice intro to the man without fear, but it also gives us a human element to which most anyone should be able to relate (and that includes the ladies that the guys will be dragging to see this film come Valentine’s Day)

But if there’s one major element that truly sets this pic apart from any other standard “solid” comic book movie (and at this point, they should all concentrate on greater diversity), it is the way through which the director communicates the lead character’s blindness to the audience, especially in terms of how his other senses work inside his mind. This visual imagery is presented throughout the movie and provides the viewer with greater insight into what the masked vigilante “sees” through his accentuated senses (the scenes under the rain are particularly sweet). Acting-wise, everyone comes to play with Affleck toning down his Affleck-ness to absorb himself inside the scarred tissue of our loner lead, Garner, looking as gorgeous as ever, kicks butt as the feisty Elektra and Michael Clarke Duncan, leaves no doubt about his casting as the Kingpin (the original comic book Kingpin was white). But the standout is definitely Farrell who plays his character as over-the-top and psychotic as you can get and who doesn’t leave one piece of his scenes unchewed. I loved this guy! A few cameos are also tossed into the mix including fanboy faves like Kevin Smith, Stan Lee and Frank Miller, while the requisite “comic relief” character, Jon Favreau, does a great job of giving the film a little bit of “light”…amidst all of the darkness. As for the action sequences and CGI, I had a good time with most of them, especially the ones featuring Elektra and that nutty ol’ Irish chap, Bullseye. The computer generated images are pretty obvious when the characters are bouncing around from roof to roof, but they didn’t bother me at all, in fact, I thought they worked just fine within the premise of this comic book flick (i.e. don’t take it all too seriously, and you’ll have a blast).

Overall, I can’t say that there were many things that I didn’t like about this movie, other than a couple of corny one-liners and the story’s arc, which I thought was cool for an introductory chapter as such, but certainly not a deep investigation or anything. Let’s just hope this film “holds up” after a few years, unlike the original BATMAN (Prince music? C’mon!!). In the end, DAREDEVIL does what many other comic book movies haven’t really done much and that’s to give us an inside peek at the sucky nature of being a lonely masked man kicking ass for a living. This guy doesn’t “get off” on this shite…he’s tortured by it and we feel his pain, night in and night out. Solid intro.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian