Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Daredevil - The Movie Reviews

The Roger Ebert Review from 2003 is one of the more positive I've found. Ebert definitely is among the most charitable of the reviewers giving Daredevil a solid B. Ebert is a good and entertaining writer. I like his description of the relationship between Daredevil and Elektra
She and Daredevil are powerfully attracted to each other, and even share some PG-13 sex, which is a relief because when superheroes have sex at the R level, I am always afraid someone will get hurt. There is a rather beautiful scene where he asks her to stand in the rain because his ears are so sensitive they can create an image of her face from the sound of the raindrops.
Contrast this with USA TODAY review by Mike Clark who gives Daredevil a solid D+

The two leads show their love for each other by engaging in Matrix-like punches, flights and flips, already a movie cliché before the second Matrix pic can even make it into theaters. One early fight sequence is so dark, fuzzy and impersonal that the participants look like video-game combatants, which might be the point, given the target audience.

Ebert takes a poke or two at the comic genre as he explores Daredevil's human-plus athletic abilities--but to my mind movies and magical abilities are already entwined.
Daredevil has the ability to dive off tall buildings, swoop through the air, bounce off stuff, land lightly and so forth. There is an explanation for this ability, but I tend to tune out such explanations because, after all, what do they really explain? I don't care what you say, it's Superman's cape that makes him fly. Comic fans, however, study the mythology and methodology with the intensity of academics. It is reassuring, in this world of inexplicabilities, to master a limited subject within a self-contained universe. Understand, truly understand, why Daredevil defies gravity, and the location of the missing matter making up 90 percent of the universe can wait for another day.
Ebert praises the actors, too.
They play their roles more or less as if they were real, which is a novelty in a movie like this, and Duncan in particular has a presence that makes the camera want to take a step back and protect its groin.
He sums up the super-hero movie genre, the script which varies only slightly...
The movie is, in short, your money's worth, better than we expect, more fun than we deserve. I am getting a little worn out describing the origin stories and powers of superheroes, and their relationships to archvillains, gnashing henchmen and brave, muscular female pals. They weep, they grow, they astonish, they overcome, they remain vulnerable, and their enemies spend inordinate time on wardrobe, grooming and props, and behaving as if their milk of human kindness has turned to cottage cheese. Some of their movies, like this one, are better than others.

In the Daredevil movie, the vision is mainly that of one man, screenplay writer-director Mark Steven Johnson.

Daredevil succeeds, for the most part, because the creators aren't just filmmakers, but actual fans of the comic book. Scattered throughout the film are homages to the comic book's glory days, name-dropping such famous writers as "Miller, Mack, and Bendis." There are some visual homages to some of the more famous events in the series as well, such as the shot of Daredevil clinging to a cross, or in the confrontation between Elektra (Garner, 13 Going on 30), Murdock's love interest, and Bullseye (Farrell, The Recruit), the assassin sent to murder Elektra's father. Cameo appearances by Marvel creator, Stan Lee, and the man who helped re-popularize the character in recent years, filmmaker Kevin Smith, also should entertain those who might have a passing knowledge of the comic book character.

reviewed by Vince Leo http://www.qwipster.net/daredevil.htm

Daredevil* (for complete review follow link)
By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Feb.14, 2003 ... Because if "Daredevil" seemed serious for a comic book, it is uninterestingly cartoonish for a movie. Its villains, from Michael Clarke Duncan's plus-sized Kingpin through Colin Farrell's over-the-top Bullseye, have a shopworn air about them, and the script's dialogue and situations have generic written all over them. That "Daredevil" should turn out to be neither daring nor devilish is somewhat of a surprise because filmmaker Johnson has been a washed-in-the-blood fan since he was a child. Not the obvious choice because of the nature of his previous work ... he impressed the producers with his knowledge of and zeal for the material. Maybe it's that zeal that turned out to be the problem. Maybe the comic book mythos is so firmly entrenched in Johnson's head that he doesn't see that his screen version is only sporadically involving and not really compelling to those without that previous interest. This is Daredevil's world, after all, where things do not have a habit of working out as planned.

I found the 'Times guidelines' : Mild by the standards of the genre of special interest. What does this mean?What is the point of guidelines if they vary from genre to genre? This also reminds me of the Director's cut comments where Johnson explained that the Director's cut got an R rating because of added bruatlity--specifically when Bullseye stabs Elektra in the R version, he also kisses her, pulling at her bottom lip. Perhaps it is sexualized violence that is determined to be inappropriate for 13 year olds....

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