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Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau

Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson
Written by: Brian Helgeland, Mark Steven Johnson, Carlo Carlei, Chris Columbus
Produced by: Gary Foster, Avi Arad
Distributor: 20th Century Fox/New Regency

US: 14/02/03 UK: 13/02/03

Popular Marvel Comics character Matt Murdock, son of a boxer who gets killed by petty criminals for refusing to take a dive. This drives young Matt to fight crime, despite a childhood accident that blinded him. That same accident, however, also granted him exceptionally advanced senses of hearing, touch, taste and smell, as well as providing him with a strange sort of mental radar that helps to compensate for his lack of vision. After training hard in the martial arts, as well as excelling in law school, Murdock becomes a lawyer by day and a vigilante calling himself Daredevil by night.

The big question about Affleck. Is it a rug or not? We should be told. And as for Farrell, the guy is only 5 foot five inches for crying out loud. What sort of hero is is?

1 June/Moviebus: MTV 2003 movie awards

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Ben Affleck gets all hot and sweaty in his skin tight suit.


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Ebert & Roeper
Dave Reviews Out Loud
The Marvel Comics stamp is hard to miss, as it features more orphaned (or single-parent) characters driven by a deep desire for vengeance to put their superhuman abilities to use and take the law into their own hands. Matt Murdock (Affleck) was blinded as a young child and developed highly tuned senses that let him "see" better than most people. But when his father (Keith) is killed he becomes a vigilante recluse by night, pro bono lawyer by day. After years alone, he meets his love match in Elektra (Garner), a billionaire's daughter who's more than Matt's equal in street fighting abilities. But she and her father are now targeted by New York's crime Kingpin (Duncan) and his psychotic Irish henchman Bullseye (Farrell).

Despite the standard superhero plotline, the film has a nicely original look and feel to it. Writer-director Johnson (Simon Birch) injects a grainy earthiness to both the cinematography and dialog. The characters are all darkly shaded and quite interesting, much more rounded than most comic-book movies, although we never really identify with anyone. Affleck plays the blind-lawyer scenes very well, bouncing nicely off Garner, Favreau (as his hilarious legal partner) and Pantoliano (as a nosey newspaper hack). As usual, he's a bit overwhelmed by the Daredevil suit, but at least it's not the usual lycra/rubber job (maroon leather anyone?). Farrell, meanwhile, steals the film as the vicious killer who's simultaneously the comic relief--his rabid, murderous nuttiness is both gruesomely over-the-top and hilarious. Technically, the film looks excellent. The effects ingeniously allow us to see what Matt hears; although there are a few computer animated sequences that don't look remotely real, and you have to get yourself into the mood to accept a Crouching Tiger/Matrix bend of gravity-defying action sequences. If Spider-Man was from the sunny and bright Superman school of comic book films, this is much more in the Batman mould--shadowy, tormented, sexy and very violent. It's also surprisingly good.


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