Daredevil: “They say your whole life flashes before your eyes when you die. And it's true, even for a blind man.”
For every client Matt Murdock investigates and then beats up in the movie, he throws a fit and goes to a confession booth to tell the priest he’s not the bad guy. The trouble is, we know that, as an audience. We want to see Daredevil kick butt, and…for as much as he does…he spends an equal amount of time on the ground, in a confession booth, or throwing a fit. The problem is that Daredevil is never given the chance to be a competent disabled superhero.
In his alter ego as Matt Murdock he’s shown to be a smooth-talking ladies’ man, but he goes passive-aggressive after he loses a criminal who could lead him to Kingpin, and even has to tell the criminal’s young son: “I’m not the bad guy.” He meets Elektra Nachios (A name that makes me laugh because it sounds like nachos.) after the two of them fight and meet cute.
That’s another problem with this movie. It tries to introduce Daredevil, Elektra, Bullseye and Kingpin (Played marginally well by Michael Clarke Duncan…but he’s just sort of…there to be evil.) Plus, they try to give you an origin story. All that just can’t fit in one movie. It can’t be a comic book movie/noir/rom-com. Another thing that gets annoying is the references to comic book artists…some of the criminals are named Bendis, Miller, Quesada…Murdock’s client is called Mr. Lee. Ha! (But, surprisingly, Stan’s cameo is as a random pedestrian instead of a client!) Also, Kevin Smith is in forensics…okay, we get it, it’s a superhero movie!
It’s just a shame they couldn’t show that by actually having the hero be heroic. During the course of the movie he’s nearly defeated 3 times (By Elektra, Bullseye, and nearly Michael Clarke Duncan…who you might know as almost EVERYONE ELSE IN THE MOVIE.) The first defeat comes when Elektra outfights him. The second defeat is after Bullseye kills Elektra, and Daredevil’s saved by…wait for it…bats that fly through the church window. Who’s movie is this?
Oh yeah and Bullseye kills nearly everyone he meets with pointed things, and that gets freakish and annoying. He kills a talkative granny on an airplane with a well-aimed peanut she chokes on! That’s not cool…that’s weird. How do you aim a peanut?
Now, I will give the film credit for at least tangentially dealing with disability and coping mechanisms. Daredevil folds his bills different ways in his wallet, uses adaptive computer equipment, and of course uses his cane, which doubles as a grappling hook/Bo staff. They have him use his radar image trick effective in some scenes, but admittedly, it’s a gimmick to help him out of tight spots. There’s a trick he uses where the sound of water outlines people. I thought that was cool, but still a gimmick.
I cringed a lot watching this movie again…even if it does foreshadow….(I know I promised no more Batman!) Ben Affleck as a possible Batman. The film even tries to introduce the stories of two main characters…Elektra and Daredevil…just like Batman vs. Superman will attempt to do. Here’s hoping Affleck is older and wiser. And a lot less apologetic.
My main beef with the movie is the portrayal of the disability…although I agree that the noir/rom-com tone was unsettling and that might be the bigger beef with mainstream viewers. But, let’s see…aside from his super senses, he’s easily defeated, constantly needs help from Elektra (Who the movie introduces and then kills.) or random priests, and his super senses are easily overcome by noise…he’s got super hearing! Shouldn’t he have worked that out? In this movie, far from being a superhero, Daredevil looks weak, pitiful, and dumb.
I watch superhero movies to escape my disabled body. No question about it. But, Daredevil’s disability (at least in the eyes of this movie.) is only a superpower when it advances the plot. The rest of the time it puts him in self-doubt and leaves him ultimately pining for the acceptance (and sex…) of an able bodied woman. (Ben Affleck’s now-wife, Jennifer Garner, whom he first met on this set.)
If superhero movies should do anything, they should uplift people (of all abilities.) and make them feel like they can do anything. But, what do we say about a man who gets beat up 3 times in his own superhero movie? He looks weak, and trapped by his disability. I realize this film doesn’t exactly cater to disability rights, but it should’ve at least been a superhero movie. 1 star for this dull action/comedy/noir that will make you glad Marvel is sticking to action-comedies. Perhaps Affleck knows noir is more a Batman schtick.