So I was watching the Daredevil movie again.
A lot of people dislike this movie for Ben Affleck, but I think that’s unfair. If it’s acting or role failure, I think Jennifer Garner was terribly miscast for Elektra. Colin Farrell would have made a better Bullseye without the odd tattoo scar thing.
In fact, if I have a complaint about Ben Affleck, it’s that he’s apparently a huge fan of the Daredevil comic and character and yet allowed them to take so many liberties with it in making this film.
In a lot of ways it’s all about the appropriate tone. Let’s look at other comic movies. The character of Batman has a campy history, but is best approached as it was recently: Christopher Nolan made a plausible Batman, whose world was dark and rough.
I like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. This is because unlike Batman, Spider-Man is a generally positive character. He has a somewhat tragic backstory, but in general he jokes around, fights the good fight, and still has to deal with the difficulties of real life. So while I enjoyed the recent “Amazing Spider-Man,” the attempt to darken the setting and character missed a bit of the point about what made his character fun and appealing.
But Daredevil is a darker, more realistic character. If Marvel was going to reboot anything this year with a darker, edgier tone, Daredevil would probably have been better. It suits his setting, his character, and could have been pretty awesome.
I’m not too far into the movie again, but it has all these campy comic-book tropes already. There’s an obligatory uniform-and-weapons scene. There’s him doing completely implausible acrobatics. DD doing acrobatics is fine and great. He’s supposed to be an acrobat. But he’s not supposed to land on his feet from a 20 story fall and not break his legs. He’s a normal guy, who just happens to have very good senses. He would have to train really hard to make it work properly for him.
And that’s what makes the character interesting. He works locally, fights thugs and crime, and has to work harder. And then by day, do the prosecutions. The film took liberty with that too, making him out to be “lawyer by day, vengeful vigilante by night.” There’s a lot of complexity to Matt Murdock, the questioning Catholic, trained to be a lawyer, told not to be a fighter by his father, who believes in the law. It was oversimplified for the film and betrayed some of comic-Murdock’s principles.
Given that the “darker, edgier” tone is coming back to comic movies, I’d like to see an artistically creative Daredevil film. His comics tend to have such great art style, with creative use of colours, since he’s blind. I’d like to see that in film. I’d also love to see him portrayed in the darker light that made the recent Batman movies great.
They had a scene in the recent Spider-Man film after Peter wakes up with his powers and has no idea how to handle them. He doesn’t know how to handle his strength or his ability to stick to things, and it takes a period of adjustment. I loved this.
And that sort of idea would be applicable to Daredevil, because while he’s blind, his other senses are on overdrive. And it would be so difficult to get a grip on that and make it work for you. I’d like to see a superhero movie where it actually took a lot of work for someone to get used to their abilities.
And a good Daredevil movie should dial down on the campy comic book traditions. They work for Spider-Man, or an X-Men movie. They would work for Superman. But just how a character like Batman is better portrayed in a darker light than a campier one, so is Daredevil. He couldn’t be given trilogy treatment, his character isn’t as popular or as grand. But I think Daredevil gets some of the best written stories, and those stories deserve a bigger audience.
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