Monday, April 28, 2008

Daredevil

I have never walked out of a movie in my life (and I saw the first two Resident Evil movies in the theater—during the second installment, I didn’t care that the one other person in the theater with me answered his phone and had a protracted conversation thirty minutes in). In fact, the first time I saw Black Cauldron in the theater in 1985, I intentionally pissed my pants so I didn’t have to miss a second of the movie by going to the bathroom. I made the right decision. So, not only have I never walked out of a movie before, it takes significantly more than a painfully full bladder to get me out of a movie theater.

That said, within minutes of 2003 shitfest, Daredevil, I stood up and had to be restrained from leaving. Sure, it has the usual reasons to walk out (or never see it in the first place), Ben Affleck and his she-male bride are chief amongst these. Though they did do me the courtesy of getting hitched, so when I ultimately blow them up with an RPG, I will likely be able to get both with one shot. If anyone knows the trials and tribulations of procuring decent weaponry in this day and age, it is the Afflecks. So thoughtful, it will almost be a shame to blast them into oblivion.

The fact that they bastardized one of my precious childhood memories, is another reason to avoid this pile. No beef with Michael Clark Duncan, but he’s no Kingpin. Colin Ferrell plays Bullseye like a reject from the opening act on a Limp Bizkit tour. And seriously, director, Mark Steven Johnson, might just be the devil (I don’t even recognize Elektra as a movie). Every one who had anything to do with this movie in any capacity, made my list of people that I will fight within my lifetime.

Despite certain comic nerd leanings, I’m usually pretty flexible on movie adaptations. In most cases you’re dealing with decades of accumulated story lines, multiple origin stories, and dozens of different writers. No one movie is going to encapsulate every aspect, nor will any single film please every last rabid fanboy. I accept that. As long as they get the character even remotely right, I’m usually game (the Hulk and the Fantastic Four movies are a different thing entirely).

The reason I attempted to walk out of Daredevil is simple. Within minutes of the opening credits, they completely betray who Matt Murdock/Daredevil is. Daredevil is the ultimate straight shooter, letter of the law guy (his civilian alter ego is a fucking blind lawyer for God’s sake). No matter how fucked up and corrupt, Daredevil believes in the system, in due process, in the law. He abhors the violence he has to employ, and on numerous occasions, has stopped more death-friendly vigilantes, like the Punisher, from doing harm. One of the first things we see in this fucking movie is Daredevil standing idly by while a subway runs down a criminal, something he would never do. No matter how worthless and vile someone is, he would put himself at risk in order to save a life.

That made me angry. I let out an audible, “What the fuck was that?” But I did not try to leave.

The very basis of who the character of Matt Murdock and Daredevil is, is inherent in how he was blinded. As a child, Matt Murdock sees a forklift (occasionally a truck, depending on you’re origin story of choice) carrying 50 gallon drums of toxic waste, bearing down on a blind man. With no regard for his own safety, young Mathew shoves the blind man out of the way. For his efforts he is rewarded with a full frontal blast of said toxic waste, which not only blinds him, but heightens his remaining senses, thus giving him the ability to ‘see without seeing.’

Daredevil gains his abilities through a selfless act. That one moment defines who he is, and who he will become. In the movie, the first thing they so is fuck that up. Angsty teen, Matt Murdock is running away from an argument with his father, runs out of a blind alley, causes a forklift carrying toxic waste to swerve to avoid grinding him into the pavement, and low and behold, he gets a splash across the eyes.

Instead of getting his powers through an act of good, he gets them because he’s a fucking dipshit, who didn’t bother look both ways before crossing the street. That pretty much sets the tone for the remainder of the movie.

That’s where I stood to abandon the theater.

Mind you, I first saw this movie on a date. I was being treated to a film adaptation of my all-time favorite comic book superhero, by my longtime partner, on opening night, which just so happened to be February 14th. Valentine’s Day. You can imagine how my attempt to flee went over. In retrospect, that pretty much set the tone for the remainder of that relationship.

1 comment:

Lishism said...

And yet, BloodRayne was worse. Uwe Boll needs to be beat. My friend Jason once told me that Uwe Boll offered to fight his critics. He kicked ass because he used to be a featherweight boxer. First, I could beat most movie critics, for they are a pasty, pasty breed. Second, a good uppercut does not a good director make. It makes you a good boxer. So aim any major weaponry at him first, because someone keeps letting him make movies.