I was a fan of the comics. When they talked of making movies out of various comics over the last decades, I always wondered what would happen if they ever made a Daredevil film?
For those who don't know Matt Murdoch is an attorney. A blind attorney who becomes the superhero Daredevil. Though blind, he has a radar type power. He has also trained himself considerably so that he can box, jump, you name it, in superhero fashion.
In 2003, a Daredevil film was released. It made a little over $100 million at the box office domestically and about another $76 million overseas. That's ticket sales. You can be sure that rentals and sales of DVDs pumped up that total.
Though a hit, the film wasn't a blockbuster.
I think it's a much more satisfying film than many other superhero stories and I'm just going to offer my thoughts on why it wasn't better received.
1) Blind lead character. We are still a country that has serious problems recognizing those who are challenged. In TV and movies, too often when someone is blind, they spend too much time hoping for surgery that will cure it all. In fairness, that's a valid dream/wish. But the reality is that, currently, most sightless people will not magically or surgically be able to see. We are not used to blind characters as a society anymore than we are used to blind people.
2) Ben Affleck. I think he was great as Daredevil and bet he will be praised years from now when many earning praise today are seen as 'limited.' Ben looked good in his suit though some reviewers wanted to argue that. What hurt Ben was Bennifer.
That was shoved down America's throat: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. That video they did together for one of her songs didn't help. America grew sick of them quickly. Daredevil was too soon after people feeling they never wanted to hear "Ben Affleck" again.
3) Jennifer Garner. She's really good in this film (even better in Elektra). She dies at least 10 minutes too soon in the movie. It's dark, killing off the girlfriend, but it makes the last part of the movie even more important. But I do think they needed ten more minutes together than they got.
4) The New York Post. Fox is going to have to figure out what to do. When Fox Films use NYP in their films, it bothers many people. It would be so much better if they just created a mythical newspaper.
I really find Daredevil to be a satisfying film. I'm on vacation, so I'll do a rare thing, write about Mike & my adopted daughter. She watched Daredevil today. If an adult had asked me, I would have said "no." She's five-years-old. But I walked in after it had started. (She was watching with some older kids.) So I scooped her up and watched it right next to her to answer questions -- I knew she would have them and she did. Fortunately, she already gets that comics are not real (Mike has drilled that into her and she's also very, very smart). So that's why the film was on my mind. (The main thing, after the movie, we had to do was go online because I told her Elektra lived in real life and married Matt. So I pulled up that video of them being silly with Jimmy Kimmel and we laughed at that.)
"TV: On other media" (Ava and C.I., Third Estate Sunday Review):
So Homeland tells American audiences that the US Marine who is finally back home, he may actually be a sleeper for Muslim terrorists. The X-Files warned you to "Trust no one," but really meant, "Don't trust the government." Howard Gordon worked on The X-Files and 24 and copied (though he prefers "created") Homeland. And with each new series, Gordon gets closer to the ugliness inside him that he wants to pretend is inside the United States.
In Israel, Prisoners of War was an immediate hit and is now considered an Israeli-TV classic. That's not at all surprising for a country whose people are encouraged to hate and/or fear neighbors. Gordon apparently wants to do something similar within the US. It's not really working. Americans with Showtime have looked at Homeland and found it wanting.
21 million people legally have Showtime and yet the average Homeland episode couldn't even break 1.5 million in viewers -- despite repeat showings. And despite the usual idiots of the Water Cooler Set praising Claire Danes' bad performance which is all eye make up and grunts -- it's like sitting through The Mod Squad yet again. And that's good. It's good that the Howard Gordons haven't yet figured out how to sell hate and fear to a mass market.
Prisoners of War has figured it out. And watching it, you have to wonder if Triumph of the Will were only two or three years old, would Hulu be eager to grab it for summer viewing and promote their 'exclusive' showing of it as well?
Claire Danes really is a bad actress. I also agree that Homeland is meant to scare Americans. Plus, I join C.I. (see the snapshot below) in rejecting fear as a motivational tool.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):