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Early daredevil review...minor spoilers

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Early daredevil review...minor spoilers

Old 02-04-03, 03:33 PM
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Early daredevil review...minor spoilers

Here's hoping this is true...

By Chris Mason

Greeting Hype'sters,
Chris "Excelsior" Mason here with Superhero Hype!'s review of Fox's newest Marvel comic book hero-to-film, DAREDEVIL.

MARVEL is definitely on a roll… what with the record breaking success of Sony's SPIDER-MAN in 2002, and now DAREDEVIL.

If SPIDER-MAN was the "heads" of the coin then DAREDEVIL would be the "tails". DAREDEVIL is NO SPIDER-MAN. Granted DD is part of the same Marvel Universe but old horn-head travels a very different road than the web-slinger… and I'm happy to say it delivers the goods… DAREDEVIL is a dark, brutal, loud film that really Kicks-ASS! If you are a hard-core DD fan then you won't be disappointed. Mark Steven Johnson got up before the crowd at this fully packed screening in Pasadena CA, a crowd that included John Romita Jr., Marvel head honcho Avi Arad, X-MEN's Tyler 'Sabertooth' Mane among others… Johnson made a very heart-felt speech about how he learned to read from reading DD comics… and that maybe this film wasn't the "definitive" DAREDEVIL movie, but was instead his vision of DD. He noted that the film has never been shown to an audience before and that this was it's first screening, (he must have forgotten about the screening the morning before - but who cares) the audience applauds as Mark points to a few of the "comic-book-geeks" in the crowd from the local comic convention and says "Yeah… I made this for you guys"… Now I've never been a huge DD fan, in fact I know only the bare minimum of his back story, maybe this helped me enjoy the film, I wasn't bogged down with knowing every in and out of the character like I did with Spider-Man.

Please be warned, this review does have a few MINOR SPOILERS. So if you'd rather not know - you are more than welcome to skip my review and read it after you've seen the flick Feb. 14th… if not then read on!

The film starts off with our hero beaten and bloodied, the film is then told in flashback, I loved this idea, we get to see DD almost from frame one and right off the bat you know this is going to be a different sort of 'Superhero' movie. At times I couldn't help but feel that I was watching the coolest BATMAN movie, only this was DAREDEVIL… gritty, dark, wet and moody - everything but the flashy car and butler!

Love or hate Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil he really manages to pull off the two sides of our tortured hero, both the devoted lawyer fighting for right in the courtroom by day, as well as battling the bad guys as the horned vigilante Daredevil by night, often times crossing the line and killing his foe. Yes folks I said kill. Spider-Man would never intentionally kill anyone, but DD does manage to dispatch the occasional villain here and there. Hey, look, if I were to be a vigilante superhero I might drop the occasional bad-guy off the roof now and then too! One particularly spectacular sequence involves DD entering a bar full of all sorts of seedy thugs in pursuit of a "released from jail rapist" after taking out the entire bar and chasing the rapist into a NYC subway tunnel, well lets just say it takes more than one body bag to carry the guy out… I was struck by the fact that the kids who loved SPIDER-MAN last year will want to see another of their favorite comic book superheroes on the big screen… but Mom & Dad, I strongly suggest you heed the PG-13 rating on this one, it gets pretty rough. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against a little honest to goodness violence now and again in my movies, but the kids love SUPERHEROES and frankly Daredevil may be a bit too much for the kiddies under 13.

The action scenes in DD are right up there with the best of them, who knew the guy who wrote GRUMPY OLD MEN could direct such cool hard-core action. The stunts are very cool and the GCI digital-stunt-doubles work best when it's set in the dark, as almost all of DD's action takes place at night… there are many shots of DD leaping thru the night sky silhouetted by the moon that are very impressive!

The cool thing about this film is the audience doesn't have to wait to see the hero in full costume till the last 40 minutes of the movie, in DAREDEVIL, DD is the first person you see on screen, and we are told later that the "Devil has been working the night streets for two years". And the flashback origin is really well done, giving us a nice back-story to Matt as a young boy living in Hell's Kitchen with his troubled boxer & 'thug for hire' father. And once young Matt is blinded and given his "powers" the story just keeps moving. Once we transition to the adult Matt we know his whole history and why he does what he does in the courtroom by day and as Daredevil at night. I just can't tell you how much I really enjoyed this film - I was expecting it to be good, but not this good!

Oh, and Stan Lee fans watch young Matt save the Marvel Comics legend at a cross walk in his second big-screen cameo!

One of the cooler effects in the film is the Daredevil-vision. If you thought the 'spider-sense" scenes in SPIDER-MAN were cool then you'll really get a kick out of the effect here as we see how Matt sees, with his heightened senses, as well as how tough it is for him at times to control it.

Enter ELEKTRA: I'm a huge Alias fan and love Jennifer Garner, if you don't know her, you will after this film… I simply couldn't get enough of her on screen; the scenes between Elektra and Matt are really what this film is about. In most films of this nature the female love interest is simply thrown into the mix to give the hero something to do when he's not in costume kicking bad-guy butt! But here Elektra holds her own, from the very first meeting to the final showdown. A bright spot of the film and a scene that gives the film it's center as well as it's humor is a scene where Matt & Elektra square off with each other in a playground full of kids in a sort of "show me whatcha got" fight/dance number that would make Gene Kelly & Jackie Chan proud. It's these moments in the film where Matt & Elektra really make the film spark and give the movie it's heart and soul… don't get me wrong it's not all mushy-kissy-face stuff but it's the stuff that really makes you care about the characters.

We all know by now that Colin Farrell in real life is one crazy party animal kind of dude, well, he really lets loose in DD, it really looks like he just had a blast making this movie… From the very first time we see him as Bullseye we know he's going be fun to watch, and fun to watch he is… and he dispatches a tavern owner with an flurry of paper-clips… and later a chatty granny with an airline peanut… some really funny deadly stuff. Bullseye doesn't say much and has a relatively small part in the film but he manages to steal the show when he is on screen. Farrell makes Bullseye loveable, crazy and deadly all at the same time, and manages to bring a little humor to a really dark and gritty film.

The casting of Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin has been a bit controversial, seeing as the comic book baddie is a middle-aged white dude and well Duncan is anything but… and again in another small part his presence is felt through out the film and by the end of the movie you can think of no one better to play the Kingpin of Crime! In a kind of Jack Napier/Joker turn of events Daredevil must bring to justice the man responsible for both the unspeakable crime against his lady love and for the death of his father years before, it is a turning point in our hero's life… and goes to set in motion what will undoubtedly become the sequel.

All in all there wasn't much about Daredevil I didn't like, the movie can be a little loud at times, but I think that was a creative choice the director was trying to get across, that Daredevil lives in a world without vision and his sense of hearing is so "amped" up that we along with being able to see as he does can hear every nuance of sound as well… I found it very effective. Some of the CGI effects look a little on the CGI side, but the use of the digital stunt doubles is what makes this kind of film possible and what every comic-book-geek has been wanting to see.

And be sure and stay through the end credits, there is an extra little bit of fun for fans.

So head out to the theater on Feb. 14th, buy a box of heart-shaped chocolates for your girl and take her to the Superhero date movie of 2003 - DAREDEVIL!
Old 02-04-03, 05:11 PM
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