Feb 192003
Authors: Eric Todd Patton

Another Stan Lee comic book has been made into a feature film. With the great success of “Spider-Man” last summer and “X-Men” several summers before, it seems that Stan Lee’s creations are nothing but movie gold. However, his latest, “Daredevil” delivers nothing original and actually feels as if I am just watching a sequel to “Spider-Man.”

For those that do not know, this is the story of Matt Murdock, a young lawyer with the heart of gold who was blinded by biohazard waste as a child. Once blinded, his other senses took over with super-human abilities and he developed a type of radar sense, like a bat. Because of his unfettered desire to help those in need after his father is murdered, he becomes a super-hero and an honest lawyer, protecting New York City.

When Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) tries to save the wealthy father of his new girlfriend from Bullseye (Colin Farrell) he fails, in the process creating two enemies for Daredevil. Now Bullseye and KingPin (Michael Clarke Duncan) want him dead, as does Matt Murdock’s new girlfriend, Electra (Jennifer Garner). Now Matt Murdock – remember, that is Daredevil – must survive an attack from Electra without hurting her because he is in love. In the meantime, he must survive Bullseye’s attacks and learn the true identity of KingPin.

It is a rather elaborate plot to explain, but when you watch it, it actually makes more sense. The action in it is very similar to “Spider-Man.” So similar, in fact, I think they stole one scene right from the summer blockbuster. Although when one is watching a comic book there should be a substantial suspension on disbelief, this was laughable in parts. I understand that this is nit-picking, but in “Spider-Man” his super-human abilities such as leaping from building to building and super-fast running is justified by being bit by a radioactive spider. But when Murdock goes blind and his senses increase in ability, which I thought was very impressive to watch with sound waves bouncing back to him, why can he now also leap from building to building and chase after speeding cars? I just did not think that leg power was one of the remaining senses.

As far as the acting goes, it did exactly what is called for in this genre of film. They took cheesy lines and delivered them like cheesy lines. They took the romance and left it comic, like in the comics. Affleck just does not come across as a super-hero even after watching him for two hours. He seems too normal, too funny, too Ben. He should be drinking beers with his friends and cracking jokes about lesbians, farting and having sex in some Kevin Smith film. Garner is cast for the men to just look at apparently, because she is not that strong of an actress. The only bit of acting that deserves any mention is Farrell.

Like I mentioned in “The Recruit” review, I think Farrell is the biggest up-and-coming star in Hollywood. He was remarkable as Bullseye and treated the role exactly how he should have, with comic-book-style enthusiasm. He is a perfect villain, perfect leading man (“The Recruit”) and perfect supporting actor (“Minority Report”). I hope we see much more of him … and be looking for his “Phone Booth” to be released this spring.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan.

Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson

What You Need To Know: Rips off “Spider-Man” and does a poor job at it. At least there is a Kevin Smith cameo.


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