Let me start off by saying that I saw this film in 2003 and absolutely hated it. I was pretty excited at the time because it was great to see another Marvel film come out and I’ve been a fan of the character for some time. I also liked Ben Affleck because I was a huge Chasing Amy fan and with Kevin Smith being in the film, I figured nothing could go wrong. Obviously we all know what happened. In the following years I had heard of the Directors Cut making the film tolerable, and some of my friends said it was even good. I was skeptical and since I could remember no good elements coming from the movie and it’s subsequent spinoff, Elektra, I didn’t feel the need to really revisit this property. So, 12 years later, why did I decide go down this path?
Two reasons. One, I am excited for the upcoming Batman V. Superman: Whatever They Decide to Call It. I want Affleck to do a good job as my favorite superhero and I wanted to see if maybe there were elements of a good Batman that could shine through the pointed red horns on the Daredevil Costume. Two, and the biggest reason quite honestly, is that they reviewed the film recently on my favorite podcast (Aside from Gourmet Scum Radio, of course) Epiccomiccast and made it sound like it wasn’t as horrid as I remember. So, here I am letting you know what I think and if you want the TL:DR version of it: The movie is still bad, just not as bad as I once remembered.
Let’s take a look at some of the the things in this film that went right:
– I like that they use all of the names of comic creators. Murdock vs. Romita, Mr. Quesada, Miller, and even Kevin Smith is named Jack Kirby.
– Frank Miller is credited as ‘The Guy with the Pen in his Head’
– That action in this film is actually pretty fantastic. Director/Writer Mark Steven Johnson fell into obscurity after doing this film, Elektra, and Ghost Rider; but he had a good run. The choreography is done by Jeff Imada whose credits include: Blade, Fight Club, Repo Men, Fast & Furious and a ton more. You can tell that the action was Asian inspired with the wire-work and martial arts.
– I was already a fan of Sydney Bristow from Alias and Jennifer Garner killed it as Elektra; until she was killed.
– Joey Pants as Ben Urich. He did a good job in the role and I love his cameos. It’s strange that he’s a reporter from the NY Post; but in the comics he works for the Daily Bugle. It’s because the rights were with Sony and Spider-Man. I wonder will this be the same in the Netflix show.
– It’s curious that Kevin Feige was a producer on this film with Avi Arad who RUINED Spider-Man. I’m glad he got away and created the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it.
– Ben Affleck plays a blind person perfectly. I thought he brought a lot of believability to the character and I never really felt it was just Affleck not trying to look into peoples faces, he did a great job.
– Michael Clark Duncan was a fantastic Kingpin. He relied a bit too heavily on showing off his cane in some of the scenes, but it’s in the comic as is his cigar smoking; so whatever, I thought he did great.
Now, let’s look at why this movie is hated amongst so many comic fans:
– That cheesy devil walking through fire, and give the devil his due lines. We get it.
– His getting ready scene was too much like Batman and Evil Dead and it was executed poorly.
– I need to catch up on my Daredevil comics so let me know if I’m wrong, but does he just kill people for the sake of doing so? He lets Kingpin live, the dude who killed his father and the women he loves, but throws Bullseye out of a window? I found that weird and not necessary. He’s a lawyer!
– I’ll assume that after beating up bad guys, he just robs them after they die to pay for his apartment
– This film is 2 and a half hours long. The beginning starts great but there was a LOT at the end that needed to be chopped.
– His fake red and puffy hair is atrocious. Both the kid and adult versions of him had that pomp.
– The music is so typical end of 90s crap, it would just be nice if they used a score that we could actually pay attention to.
– Why does he see the dead prostitute while inside his hyperbolic chamber before he gets the case? I didn’t understand his powers of clairvoyance all of a sudden.
– Bullseye. From the rattlesnake noises, to fighting with his coat, to being introduced by a House of Pain song; he was just an all-around poorly developed character.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed myself a lot more this time around than I did in 2003. They made a lot of positive with the Directors Credit and you can tell that they really thought they were doing a good job back then. They were mistaken of course, but the love and care that went into the character is apparent. If you’re super bored, want to take a trip back to the Early 2000s and are a bit under the influence, give the film another chance; it may just surprise you like it did me. Don’t forget that we are getting a whole new perspective of The Man Without Fear from Netflix and Marvel Studios this April! You can check out the trailer here!