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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Comic ‘Daredevil’ translates well into film

    If you don’t know about “Daredevil,” consult your local nerd.

    The story of Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer in the New York neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen who fights crime as the Daredevil, is yet another comic book adapted to a big budget, big star film that has comic book fans up in arms.

    Unlike most blockbuster films, the comic book adaptation comes with the burden of a legion of hardcore fans. Unlike the “Superman” and “Batman” franchises of old, these newer comic films carry smaller, more die hard followings that raise quite a fuss over every minute detail involving the translation to film.

    Case in point: Ben Affleck. The mega star Oscar winner, who claimed to read the Daredevil comics as a kid, was tapped to play the role of the horned avenger who takes down an evil crime boss (The Kingpin, played to a tee by Michael Clarke Duncan) and his assassin Bullseye, a killer who never misses his target (a hammy but fun Colin Farrell.)

    When fans found out the horned avenger would be Affleck instead of favorites Guy Pearce or Ed Norton, a geek revolution was born. Topped off by the fact the film was written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, an unproven director (“Simon Birch” anyone?) and every geek in America had written off the Devil well before they ever saw it.

    They shouldn’t have. While “Daredevil” is simply good and not great, it’s well worth a viewing for geeks and normal moviegoers alike, especially in the thin post-Christmas movie season.

    The story is arced loosely around a Daredevil comic run by writer Frank Miller, the comic world’s Oliver Stone and the man who made Batman cool again in the ’80s, prompting the huge movie franchise.

    Essentially the film rushes the origin of Murdock becoming a superhero, when he is subjected to radioactive waste that blinds him but enhances his four other senses to super human strength. As he fights crime in the courtroom and exacts brutal judgment at night, he tackles the Kingpin’s crime organization and falls for a millionaire’s daughter named Elektra (the stunning Jennifer Garner). Of course the beautiful Elektra is also a trained ninja who also prowls rooftops, but hey, it’s a comic book.

    The biggest success of the film is Affleck, who takes control after a dreadfully boring 15 minute back story. By his size and stature alone he looks like a superhero, but the actor understands the larger than life dichotomy of superheroes and embraces the silliness of the comic book aspects.

    While he isn’t Oscar worthy, Affleck still translates a brutal bitterness and imposes a violent image. all while clad in skintight red leather and horns.

    Unfortunately the geek nation can clamor about the film’s lack of brutality. Unlike most comics, “Daredevil” has always dealt in the dark and ugly side of spandex storylines.

    People get killed, heroes get hurt and consequences come after actions.

    But in an effort to cash in on the film’s pricey budget, the nastier elements of “Daredevil” have been smoothed down to a PG-13 film that pulls its punches. Parents thinking this film will have a warm “Spiderman” feel should think more along the lines of the Tim Burton “Batman” films. Things are very un-PC in Daredevil’s world.

    “Daredevil” isn’t “Batman,” but it is worth the price of admission. The story stays tight and plot lines never unravel. The romance between Murdock and Elektra balances the bang and pow fight scenes, and talented actors deliver.

    As for the comic book geeks, they’ll live; “Daredevil” is a wonderful example of the spirit and intelligence that lies beneath the comic book stereotype.

    Copyright The Daily Mississippian

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