Ben Affleck (Sum of All Fears, Armageddon) stars as Matt Murdock, a lawyer who seeks his own vigilante justice against guilty perpetrators who escape his attempts to prosecute them lawfully. Not only can Murdock can dip into this available pool of bad guys any time, but also perches on city rooftops looking (in this case listening) for trouble. “Why do you do it,” a priest, played by John Bakas, asks Murdock. “Because I’m a man without fear,” answers Matt. “A man without fear is a man without hope,” replies the priest. This line of dialogue represents Matt’s struggle and, eventually, evolution throughout the rest of the movie.
After some background about Matt, the story introducing an interesting array of essential characters. Elektra played by Jennifer Garner (TV’s Alias) has a life path and background similar to Matt as their relationship reaches extremes on both ends of the spectrum. Michael Clarke Duncan plays Kingpin (a.k.a. Wilson Fisk), head of the Fisk Company and New York City’s crime syndicate. Duncan’s best moment, during the ending “showdown”, breaks the mold of the antagonist’s typical “hid behind the henchman” cliché. Colin Farrell (The Recruit, Minority Report) plays Bullseye, a ruthless assassin who helps Kingpin conduct some “housecleaning” issues and eventually becomes involved with the other characters.
Director Mark Steven Johnson (Simon Birch) also co-wrote the screenplay with Brian Helgeland, writer/director of A Knight’s Tale and Payback. Johnson also wrote the Grumpy Old Men movies. Johnson uses strong visuals (the scenes involving heartbeat and rain visuals are especially memorable) and great sound. You can tell producers carefully planned and marketed Daredevil. They use four rising stars that usually have second billing, but who have the potential to headline their own movies in the future.
They also use a familiar supporting cast, including Erick Avari (StarGate, Mr. Deeds), as Elektra’s father, and Joe Pantoliano The Fugitive), so audiences will be more involved in the story and not just entertained by the characters’ action. A frequently used “icing on the cake” tactic by casting directors that yields good results in this movie. Another interesting tactic is the story loop, beginning on the top of church that prods the audience to ask questions like “How did he get there?” and “What happened to him?”
Daredevil is based on a comic book created in 1964 by artist Bill Everett and writer Stan Lee (who has a cameo early in the story). Stay for the ending credits for a bonus scene. Recommended with reservations and rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler