With the amazing success of X-Men and Spider-Man, filmmakers are mining the Marvel Comics catalogue and giving tremendous amounts of hype to every subsequent movie, which explains why Daredevil arrives with so much (undeserved) fanfare. This is nothing more than a standard comic book movie (which is not a great thing) with a lot of extra advertising and some more money pumped into special effects. For those unfamiliar with Daredevil, he is Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck, Changing Lanes, The Sum of All Fears), blind lawyer by day, and superhero by night. He lost his sight in an accident when he was a child, when hazardous materials fell onto him. Although he lost his sight, his other senses heightened considerably. He can hear nearly everything, and uses sound to "see," like a bat. If anything, this new movie makes him look like a cross between Batman and Spiderman.

Daredevil exists because of Murdock's father (David Keith, World Traveler, Behind Enemy Lines), a washed up boxer who died rather than take a fall during a fight. He instilled in Murdock a sense of justice, enough so that Murdock only defends people who are innocent. Because this is a comic book adaptation, director Mark Steven Johnson (Simon Birch) and co-writer Brian Helgeland (Blood Work, A Knight's Tale) spend a lot of time showing how Murdock became Daredevil, in the hopes for many lucrative sequels. They spend a little too much time on his childhood, then try to cram in too much story (that's haphazardly developed) before the credits roll.

A bunch of disparate storylines basically come together. Report Ben Urich (Joe Pantoliano, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, Cats and Dogs) is investigating both the rumored Kingpin, who runs the criminals of New York, and the Daredevil, an urban myth. Both are real, and will eventually cross paths. The Kingpin hires the assassin Bullseye (Collin Farrell, The Recruit, Minority Report) to kill and implicate one of his associates. Meanwhile, Murdock meets the ravishing Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner, Catch Me If You Can, Pearl Harbor), daughter of a wealthy billionaire.

Daredevil does not make a successful transition to the screen because of a number of factors. The fight scenes are exciting, but the editing is choppy, causing viewers to miss much of the action. The high point of the film is when Affleck and Garner are flirting/sparring in a playground on two seesaws. The acting is all over the place, with the cast underacting (Affleck) and overacting (Clarke and especially Farrell). Johnson and Helgeland try to make Daredevil a character of depth by showing his angst. He sleeps in a sensory deprivation chamber, pops pills, and gets hurt like the ordinary person, yet can still do these amazing feats. Affleck is just not right for the role. He frequently looks bored and confused as Murdock. Garner is the brightest presence in the film, but is not on screen as much as the ads suggest. There isn't enough to make people care what happens to Daredevil, turning the movie into one dull bondage costume ball.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 43 minuts, Rated PG-13 for action/violence and some sensuality.

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