What's Cooking in Hell's Kitchen?
Daredevil movie review by Mike Baron

Daredevil is a comic fan's dream: a faithful adaptation of one of Frank Miller's best stories, with first-rate production and actors. But there's a problem, and it has to do with the nature of two mediums. Comic books confer legitimacy on ideas that would appear outlandish in any other medium. Just think of all those flying guy films prior to the Christopher Reeve Superman: the original TV series, Buck Rogers, et al. They looked silly. What works on the comic page often doesn't work on the big screen. Daredevil never took off for me.

The main reason is the raison d'etre of the comic itself, the action sequences. This film has been so thoroughly Matrix-ized that the action sequences make no sense. Bullseye throwing a paper clip across the room with enough force to penetrate the skin? Pul-eeze. A paper clip doesn't have enough density to fly that fast, or to penetrate. Daredevil leapfrogging up the side of the building doesn't have the fluidity of similar scenes in Crouching Tiger, and looks like an editing room triumph. In a Jackie Chan film, he really does bounce up the wall, and you can see it. With all the great martial arts stunts you can do in real life, I question the need to Matrix-ize the action sequences.

There are also plot and characterization inconsistencies. Growing up in Hell's Kitchen, Daredevil has no compunctions killing a rapist (named "Jose" Quesada), but when he has the chance to put paid to the Kingpin, who killed his one true love, he turns away! 'Cause he's the good guy! Uh, Matt, did you ever confess to your earlier killings? Of course no one ever dies in the comics, or in this series either, apparently, as the groundwork is laid for Elektra's return. Jennifer Garner is above reproach as Elektra. There's nothing wrong with the action. Michael Clarke Duncan is fine as the Kingpin, and Colin Ferrell, as the swaggering, bug-eyed Bullseye, is the best thing in the film. I liked Spider-Man better because it was more fantastic, and hence more believable.

The trailers preceding the movie were for X-Men 2, The Hulk, Bulletproof Monk, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Kill Bill. Every one of those films except for Kill Bill is based on a comic book, and Kill Bill might as well be, given Quentin Tarantino's love of pulp. The action sequences, featuring the well-known and highly respected martial artist Uma Thurman, went beyond Matrix into a world where the laws of physics, as we understand them, don't exist.

Mike Baron is the creator of the award winning comic book Nexus and during his career has written an enormous variety of comics from The Flash to The Punisher. His first novel, Witchblade Demons has just been published and he is currently writing the Kiss comic for Dark Horse Comics.

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