Hey, would you like to watch a terrible superhero film starring Ben Affleck? No, not Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I didn’t say a mediocre superhero movie starring Ben Affleck. Yes, while Zach Snyder did create a film that stumbles around like a drunken Kaiju, it’s not quite the ecological disaster that Fox brought to us in the form of 2003’s Daredevil. And while Marvel’s Netflix series has brought a mature, nuanced version of the character to the screen, only the movie can actually let you really feel what it’s like to have radioactive waste sprayed in your eyes. Not in a cathartic way. I’m saying watching Daredevil is like spraying radioactive waste into your eyes. Don’t you know what article you’re reading?
If you’ve seen the newer Daredevil show most of the characters were used in the movie as well. However, a quick summary for those not familiar with either. Matt Murdock is the son of boxer Battlin’ Jack Murdock. Although these days it’s less ‘boxer’ and more ‘break legs for the mob.’ One day Matt finds out about his father’s career change and runs into a construction site, getting the aforementioned radioactive eye wash. Matt goes blind and gets superpowers, his dad takes up boxing again. Jack wins a bunch of fights and then a mobster shows up to tell him he needs to take a dive since they’ve been setting him up with easy fighters. Jack doesn’t take a dive, maybe because they should have told him weeks ago that they were doing this. He gets killed by totally not the Kingpin and Matt grows up to be a not so successful lawyer, and totally not Daredevil.
Grown up Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is a miserable douche who sleeps in a sensory deprivation tank and spends his nights straight up murdering guys. You thought Daredevil didn’t kill? You were wrong, son! His steady routine is interrupted one day by the arrival of the lovely Elektra, (Jennifer Garner) who he totally creeps on and then has a fight in a playground with, they are then totally in love. Unfortunately Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) wants Elektra’s father dead so he calls in Bullseye, the world’s craziest assassin to do the job. Can Matt take down Bullseye and the Kingpin and win Elektra’s heart? I’ll let you watch to find out, but you probably already know. Today’s headers by the way, are all actual lines from the film.
“What are you-” “Blind? Yeah.”
Daredevil is a veritable buffet of awful performances. At it’s heart of course, is Ben Affleck’s Matt Murdock. He’s surly and generally awful to everyone. As Daredevil he’s cruel, vindictive, and takes lives needlessly. I hear you saying, hey Brad this sounds an awful lot like Ben Affleck as Batman. And you would be totally correct, because both that Batman and this Daredevil were written by comic author and general nutcase Frank Miller. Not only does Daredevil let a criminal get run over by a train he takes the time to trace his logo in gasoline for reporter Ben Urich to find later. No, really.
The supporting cast doesn’t fare much better, John Favreau plays a completely irrelevant Foggy Nelson, he appears in maybe three scenes, and none of them are at all important. One of them involves him giving Matt mustard instead of honey for his coffee because apparently he thinks blind people can’t smell things either. Michael Clarke Duncan plays a passable Kingpin whose entire plan seems to be killing Elektra’s father because he doesn’t want to be in the crime business anymore. And he’s helped by a false Wesley! This weasley, incompetent stooge isn’t even fit to do the dry cleaning of the Saint of Henchmen and Red Wine.
None of them really hold a candle to the stomach churning awfulness of Jennifer Garner’s Elektra Natchios. It’s really not her fault, she was on Alias at the time and was perfectly great, but in this she just didn’t have the experience to take lines from this terrible script and turn them into something you can actually listen to. Her onscreen relationship with Matt couldn’t have been more forced if she spent the whole movie wearing t-shirt that said “Matt’s girlfriend.” Listening to them having romantic conversations makes you want to watch Attack of the Clones.
“Actually, actually he’s the blind one. I’m deaf.”
It’s rare that I talk about the soundtrack of the film when I mention a bad movie, because it’s difficult for a soundtrack to be truly awful. Generally if a soundtrack is great, you notice it and you love it, Guardians of the Galaxy for instance. If it’s just okay, you usually just forget about it, for instance I have no idea what the score to Thor: The Dark World sounds like. However, the people in charge of Daredevil elected to inject every scene they could with overly forced emo metal music. This is not to say it’s inherently bad even though I don’t personally like it. It does however lead to one of the worst scenes in cinema. For years, I thought that the music video to Evanescence’s “Bring me to Life” was a Daredevil tie in video. That is not actually true because I was remembering this:
I can’t even tell which I want to block out more, the horrible fight choreography, or the ridiculous musical cues.
“Necessary? No. It was fun.”
There’s one performance I didn’t mention when I was talking about the cast earlier and it’s because it is far and away the best one in the movie, utterly crazy, and the only possible choice for our Bad Movie Hero.
Colin Farrell was clearly out of his mind on drugs when he was playing Bullseye, but between the script, the choices of the filmmakers and Farrell’s insanely intense performance. Bullseye is actually the real star of the movie. I mean watching Bullseye walk around casually dispatching everyone he encounters, leaving a swath of people with paperclips, peanuts, and pencils embedded in vital places behind him is so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh. Bullseye should constantly be followed by an army of police and yet, no one seems to notice him. He literally kills someone in every scene we see him in, in the most insane way possible. Like oh, I don’t know, standing on top of a moving motorcycle and throwing belt buckle shuriken.
He is so manic the Joker would tell him to calm the hell down. If you didn’t watch the video after he kills Elektra’s father he points to his bullseye brand on his forehead and says “Bulls-eye” Farrell also takes his performance to this very intense Jesus like place. If Jesus was an assassin who killed people by throwing things at them. He totally sees his character as the messiah of throwing things. And no, I’m not making that up.
You know what, I don’t care that he’s associated with this horrible movie, Colin Farrell’s off the drugs and is a ten times better performer now, Marvel, let him play Bullseye again! I need more of this.
Daredevil the movie is a wonderful lesson in how far superheroes have come since 2003. I mean, while we have another overly serious adaptation of a popular superhero starring Ben Affleck with a severely over the top villain and no plot to speak of in theatres, we’ve made a ton of improvements. I mean…Ben Affleck is a much better actor now. Yep.