Dare I Say It
At the closing scene of the movie Daredevil, our internally-conflicted hero stands triumphant over the body of his arch rival and utters some words that had particular relevance to my own movie-going experience, “I’ve been waiting for this moment since I was 12 years old.”
Touché, Matt Murdock, you’ve read my mind again.
You see, I don’t consider myself a casual appreciator of this character so anything you read here is likely to be laced with blatant favoritism.
Let’s just get that out of the way.
During the commencement of my teens, DD was one of the people I somehow felt a connection with, however oddly those prepubescent times implanted such a thought in me. Anyway, credit that to the marvelous writing style of one Frank Miller. He would soon take some of that realistic, yet still fantastic, grittiness and put it into Batman: the Dark Knight Returns, making him a legend upon legends in the comic book genre. And rightly so.
But I don’t want to drift off there. Heaven knows that Daredevil has already developed an inferiority complex with that so often recited comparison. Daredevil was Marvel’s wannabe Batman—an “anti-hero” without super-powers, per se, and deeply darkened by a penchant for vengeance.
And maybe the film suffers the same fate too.. for now.
Hold on. Let me back up the bus and explain.
What I’ve noticed about every movie based on a Marvel comic book lately is that they’ve all been fighting an uphill battle with character development. True to the form that I appreciated when I was so much younger, the Marvel universe is proving to be complex, almost in detriment to the way it plays out on screen. The characters created by Stan Lee, et al are often deeply wounded individuals, who try (often failingly so) to sort out the complexities of their situations and look for a deeper meaning beyond themselves.
As a consequence, Daredevil, more so than Batman, is vulnerable and therefore human.
Of course, this kind of drama can be accomplished in film, but it’s hard to pull off when the basic storyline requires a simultaneous introduction of several, equally complicated characters, all interacting with each other in well-choreographed ninja fight scenes intermingled with comic relief segues and romantic interest sub plots.
So, while I had some basic problems with the film, chief among them a scattering of scenes that should have never made their way into the final production, I also understand the impossibility of the task at hand.
That’s why some of the movie’s dramatic peaks, for lack of a better word, simply work. There are a few moments that give true pause to a bigger picture.
And ultimately I think that should be the yardstick with which to measure Daredevil. I’m betting that this movie, which took some tremendous risks trying to tell a story so complex, is going to seem better after the sequels and spin offs have had their chance to shine.
Why Daredevil was a Good Movie
I suspect Elektra, despite her demise in this movie, will live on in her own. And DD will undoubtedly grow into maturity once the burden of origin has already been settled. I have high hopes for the sum of this series being greater than the size of its parts.
It’s just too early too tell.
I know I sound like a biased apologist, to which I can only agree, but I still have hope that the Daredevil franchise, if indeed there ever is one, will flourish critically after the dust settles from this initial release.
Until then, it will have to be a split decision with this humble appreciator remaining nothing more than a…
Dare I say it?