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Daredevil (****)
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson
Written by Mark Steven Johnson, based on characters and ideas created by Stan Lee and Frank Miller (uncredited)
Principal Cast
Ben Affleck -- Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Jennifer Garner -- Elektra Natchios
Michael Clarke Duncan -- The Kingpin/Wilson Fisk
Colin Farrell -- Bullseye
Jon Favreau -- Franklin 'Foggy' Nelson
Joe Pantoliano -- Ben Urich
David Keith -- Jack Murdock
Scott Terra -- Young Matt Murdock
Erick Avari -- Ambassador Nikolaos Natchios
Coolio -- Daunte Jackson
Ellen Pompeo -- Karen Page
Kevin Smith -- Jack Kirby (Lab Assistant)
Frankie J. Allison -- Abusive Father
Lennie Loftin -- Detective Manolis
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Daredevil Marvel is three for three with the new Daredevil movie. It's deeply imbued with the spirit of superhero comics, where plot consistency and the laws of physics do not count for much, as long as the characters are cool and the action fast, and where nobody in a costume ever stays dead except Bucky.

The movie owes everything to Frank Miller, not only for creating Electra, but also for creating many memorable visuals that show up on screen. If you're a Merry Marvel Marcher like me, you'll catch yourself thinking, "Right. Cover of #182." Miller doesn't get screen credit as writer, but he does get actor credit for a very brief cameo. And the film is chock-full of references to Marvel writers and artists.

Like X-Men and Spider-man, Daredevil is successful because it mines twenty years of comic books (from the early 60s to the early 80s) for their most interesting moments and condenses them into ninety minutes of screen time. But Daredevil also has a number of good ideas that are not from the comic book, proving that Mark Steven Johnson put a lot of thought into what it means to be a blind superhero. For one thing, this Daredevil really is blind, while the comic book Daredevil developed his "radar sense" to the point where he could read a newspaper, which renders the whole blindness bit irrelevant. And what other superhero have you ever seen, after a long night battling evildoers, take a pain-killer? The movie Daredevil is vulnerable in ways that remind me of the comic-book Daredevil's first battle with the Sub-Mariner. Even beaten to a pulp and hopelessly outclassed, he keeps on fighting.

The casting is excellent, particularly Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin. And you will recognize Foggy Nelson the minute you see him. But Bullseye has the line the audience liked best, about halfway through the film.

Be sure to stick around for a cookie early in the credits.

Most critics trashed the film. They seem particularly hostile toward poor Ben Affleck, who does a perfectly acceptable job of replacing the stuntman, when the mask comes off. Evidently the critics think Affleck has gotten too much publicity recently, and needs to be taken down a peg. I wish they would just relax and enjoy the movie.

Pay no attention to critics. The audience applauded at the end. That doesn't happen often. If, as I suspect, The Hulk is even better than the three previous Marvel superhero films, I'm going to have to do what the army did for General Eisenhower in World War II, and add a fifth star.

Copyright © 2003 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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