1. Film (2003). New Regency Pictures/Marvel Enterprises/20th Century Fox. Directed by Mark Stevenson Johnson. Written by Johnson, based on characters created by Stan Lee, Bill Everett, and Frank Miller. Cast includes Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Jennifer Garner and Joe Pantoliano. 103 minutes; director's cut 133 minutes. Colour.
Blind attorney Matt Murdock (Affleck), with friend Franklin "Foggy" Nelson (Favreau), runs a legal firm in the New York Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood which is perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy because Matt refuses to accept guilty clients and accepts non-monetary payments. He was blinded as a child by toxic waste, an accident that somehow greatly enhanced his other senses, giving him compensatory "sonar-sight" allowing him to "see" after a fashion. He has also trained in martial arts. His father, a boxer and mob enforcer, blamed himself for the accident and quit the mob only to be murdered by his former employer. Swearing revenge on crime, Matt becomes the costumed, murderous vigilante Daredevil who inflicts his own justice on criminals who slip through the normal justice system – throwing, for instance, a rapist into the path of an oncoming train.
Matt meets and quickly becomes infatuated with Elektra Natchios (Garner). Her Greek billionaire father Nikolas Natchios (Erik Avari) has backed out of a deal with Wilson Fisk (Duncan), who as the Kingpin heads all New York's criminal organizations. Fisk orders both Natchios killed by Irish hitman Bullseye (Farrell), who kills by unerring throwing various objects as Weapons, even paperclips. Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich (Pantoliano) has discovered Matt's identity, but feels he has helped the city. Learning of the contract on the Natchios family, he warns Matt. Daredevil attempts to stop the murder of Nikolas but fails and is himself framed for the killing. Elektra believes this deception and – being also very highly trained in martial arts – defeats Daredevil by stabbing him with a two-pronged sword, then unmasks him. Discovering he is Matt, she realizes her mistake but is attacked and apparently killed by Bullseye. After an interruption when the police arrive, there soon follows a battle in a church between Bullseye and Daredevil, who is outmatched but wins by hearing an FBI sniper about to shoot him and forcing Bullseye's hands into the path of the bullet. Having learned that Fisk is the Kingpin who ordered Elektra's death, Daredevil goes to Fisk's office for a final brutal fight in which he ultimately breaks his enemy's knees and – though knowing Fisk to have ordered his father's death – leaves him to the police. Elektra, it emerges, may still be alive; Urich agrees to keep Matt's dual Identity secret; Daredevil resolves to cease killing criminals.
Based upon Frank Miller's mid-1980s reboot of this Superhero – closer in many ways to the Antihero The Punisher – Daredevil is much darker in tone than the character as originally conceived. It is hard to believe that this hero, whose Superpowers are confined to enhanced senses, can continue fighting for so long after being stabbed and losing much blood. The director's cut, preferred by many, has an added subplot featuring a drug addict (Coolio). The novelization is Daredevil (2003) by Greg Cox. Though the film was successful, various factors prevented the making of a sequel: rights to the character reverted to Marvel Studios, and a Television series bringing Daredevil into the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in 2015. [GFi]
2. US tv series (2015-current).
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