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Daredevil – Another Notch in Marvel’s Belt

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The Good:

– Ben Affleck nailed Matt Murdock. Say what you want about him, but he really shone in this role. Forget Reindeer Games. Forget Pearl Harbor. (Please, can we?) He captures the essence of both the Matt Murdock and Daredevil personas with flair that I never would have expected of him.

– Jennifer Garner was good a Elektra. Some may say that she didn’t get enough screen-time, but they did do the “Death of Elektra” sequence. That kinda made up for it. The romance between Elektra and Matt was never meant to be an easy one. She portrayed that thirst for vengeance role quite quite well and was fun to watch as she gave Matt hell despite his persistence.

– Michael Clarke Duncan’s Kingpin was spot on. I wished that they had not pulled a Joker and had him be the killer of Matt’s father, though. If it is that way in the comics, I was not aware of it. I really wished that they had saved the whole DD vs. Kingpin fight for another movie, but I kinda understood why they did it. I understand the Joker stunt, too. Regardless, he walks, talks, fights, and acts like the Wilson Fisk that we all know and hate.

– Colin Farrell was over-the-top as Bullseye, true. He did not steal the show from Matt and Elektra, though. He was outstanding in his scenes and there was just enough of him to make the movie fun. I always loved the inventiveness of that character and hated the costume. Both were addressed wonderfully both in the script and in his portrayal here. Some have commented that it was stupid of him to ask for a costume and then not get one. To this, I say…deal with it. He was smarting off about the red leather. If he had really wanted a costume, don’t you think that he would have one?

– Jon Favreau was the perfect Foggy Nelson. Like Speaker, there isn’t much to be said other than that. He nailed the pudgy smartass.

– Joe Pantoliano was a good, if young, Ben Urich. There isn’t much that you can say other than the fact that he does a good job. I was thrilled to see that they included his character in this flick.

– Add to all of that some great acting by David Keith (Jack “The Devil” Murdock), Erick Avari (Ambassador Nikolaos Natchios), and the inclusion of Kevin Smith (Lab Assistant Jack Kirby – If you need this character’s name explained to you, shame on you. Read more old comics.) and Stan Lee in the flick and this was a geeker cornucopia. Let’s not forget the name of the fighter who Matt’s dad fought, John Romita. For more comic geeky references, click here.

– The “radar sense” visuals were spectacular. Especially the “rain face” scene and the subway scene.

– The whole “I’m not the bad guy” essence of the film. Daredevil starts out killing baddies and comes to a stark realization that he is losing himself to pure vengeance instead of justice.

– The soundtrack was outstanding. I loved the rock aspects mixed in with the score. It was reminicent of The Crow and The Matrix, but not quite so obvious. The music did not take over the scenes, it enhanced them.

The Bad:

– The damn thing was too short. Make the movie, especially if it includes an origin story, at least two hours. I wanted more chunky goodness. What was there was good, but I wanted more.

– Due to being sold to different studios, Daredevil and Spider-Man will never have a crossover. Damn it! Ben Urich doesn’t even work for the Daily Bugle. Double-Damn it!

The Ugly:

– This movie has some of the worst wire work ever seen in a motion picture. The wire work in Austin Powers: Goldmember was better. People hung in the air far too long. When Kingpin throws Daredevil, DD practically swings from his grip to the ground.

– The CGI in this flick made the Spider-Man CGI look photo-realistic in some spots. It was ranged from really good to reeeeeally obvious from scene to scene.

– If I see another 5+ back-flips to dodge flying implements of destruction, I am gonna puke. It is impossible for this to work. Bullseye would have spotted the pattern in a heartbeat and altered it. DD should have performed a variety of dodge maneuvers. Some of these scenes seemed lazy. Like the stunt guys and/or CGI people wanted to get away with doing as little as possible.

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In closing, the effects and the stunts (especially the wire work) was sloppy, lazy, and not edited properly. Where was the director or the editor during the production of this flick. There was a “good enough” attitude about the action sequences that really disappointed me.

The story and the outstanding acting more than made up for it, to me. Say what you want about the principal actors in this flick, they nailed their characters with a gritty style and finesse that I only expected out of half of them. The scriptwriters and actors deserve a friggin’ award for the justice that they did to the characters as the writing saves an otherwise doomed movie. Story and acting go much farther than FX and stunt work in my book. It has saved many a film from the dungheap.

95% (A) for substance (The story and acting were nailed almost perfectly. Many kudos and high hopes for the sequel)
95% (A) for style (I loved the music, outfits, costumes, sets, and props.)
60% (F) for FX (I’m being generous here.)

Overall: 83% (B) – A great script and superior acting along with capturing the mood perfectly with grim and gritty visuals save a technically flawed movie from the trash heap and lift it up on wings of geeky storytelling goodness. See it in the theater, you won’t be disappointed. If you are disappointed, go see it again. You must have missed something.

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