A good attempt to bring the man without fear to the screen, the film suffers primarily from trying to do too much. Too many core characters, the film squanders any emotional resonance in sacrifice to the abbreviated timeline. Affleck does an admirable attempt at the character but the film never gels.
Not a total travesty. The fault lay in compressing and miscasting the best story arc.
This movie is Phantom Menace bad. Wildly disappointing. Daredevil is a champion of the true comic fan and this movie is an injustice.
In the opening scene, the battered hero clings to the cross on the top of church, an image reminiscent of the great runs in Marvel’s comic history with stories by Miller and Quesada. Director Mark Steven Johnson cares for the source material behind Daredevil, and it shows in many key moments throughout the film. It is an ambitious film and during the movie’s 1.43 hours, they cover the origin story, Matt Murdock’s early life and discovery, crime fighting, Elektra, Bullseye and the Kingpin. In effect, 20 years of history and stories, that ultimately, is too much to ask. The movie is ungainly and convoluted as a result.
There was some minor controversy about using Michael Clark Duncan as the Kingpin, but he has the stature and tone to make it work. Colin Farrell chews up the scenery as Bullseye and is a tad too hammy.
Affleck does his best, as does Garner as Elektra, but it’s too difficult to create any emotional resonance with such an abbreviated timeline and the script and editing are wooden, stilted and choppy. They should have tried to extend the movie into a second one, saving the penultimate moment for the next chapter.
That being said, there is still some nice work here – when Daredevil soars between buildings, it feels like a panel from the books. The sonic radar is a nice interpretation of how Matt Murdock ‘sees’.
All in all, it serves to tee up the Netflix series, which takes advantage of the longer medium to do it up right.