Daredevil (2003)

I don't plan on re-watching Elektra anytime soon.

I don’t plan on re-watching Elektra anytime soon.

Directed by: Mark Steven Johnson (well, this is his best movie, sad as that may be)

Written by: Johnson wrote the screenplay based on the Marvel Comics character of Daredevil

Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith and Leland Orser

What it’s about: a man struck with blindness as a result of a childhood accident finds his other senses are greatly heightened and uses those abilities to fight crime as both a super-hero and a lawyer

What I liked: To be clear, this was the Director’s Cut that I watched.  It’s a bit longer and in some cases it actually makes the film better.  Most of the action scenes are decent, as well as the special effects.  The costuming of the characters was a fairly decent translation from the comic books, as well.  I liked Affleck’s performance, as well as Colin Farrell’s enormously intense scenery chewing as Bullseye.  It’s also a fairly dark comic book movie, and I think it was actually ahead of its time.  If this movie were made today, it would be of a higher quality with more attention paid to the darkness of the character, as modern audiences are more accepting of those themes than they were 10 years ago.

What I disliked: At times it feels like a comic book, and that’s not a great thing when it comes to the execution of the story.  Pointless scenes featuring action hero poses, and lighting choices that make no sense when you take into account the fact that the character is goddamn blind.  Some scenes are positively goofy.  There was also the sense that – much like Batman & Robin – the story was trying to cram in as much Daredevil history as possible which just led to it being somewhat scatterbrained.  If you’re doing a proper Daredevil movie series, you don’t introduce Elektra until at least the second movie.  Also, the music choices for the movie just reeked of attempted cross-marketing, featuring two flash-in-the-pan Evanescence songs.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sort of.  It is a decent enough comic book movie, but unlike the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, it doesn’t transcend the genre.  All that being said, it is still a guilty pleasure of mine.

Rating: 3 / 5

See?  Goofy.

See? Goofy.

Green Lantern (2011)

Being a big fan of the DC Comics Green Lantern character, I was both looking forward to and scared of a film adaptation of the character.  Years ago there were rumours of the Hal Jordan part going to Jack Black, which would have been an absolutely shitty casting decision and doomed the movie right from the start.  Other actors were rumoured as well, and even though my pick for Jordan – Nathan Fillion – wasn’t picked, I was somewhat satisfied with the decision to cast Ryan Reynolds as GL.  Having seen the movie, while I’m not 100% pleased with the characterization (mostly due to certain aspects of the script highlighting Reynolds’ smart ass strengths), I was glad that the movie didn’t suck.

A lot of critics out there will tell you that it wasn’t that great, but I think it’s probably the best Green Lantern movie any of us could have hoped for.  I’m sure there was a desire to completely pack the movie with as many Green Lantern mythology as possible, but thankfully someone pulled the reins in on that.  What that ultimately provides is a stable foundation with which to build a franchise, and hopefully that is what happens.  Other than the unnecessary and stupid end credits Sinestro (Mark Strong) sequence, the movie is an exercise in not blowing its respective load.

Like I said, Reynolds was a decent choice for Jordan, though I think Ryan Gosling might have even been a better choice for the more serious Hal Jordan character, whereas Reynolds would have been an excellent Kyle Rayner GL.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry, it’s just comic book nerdery.  Director Martin Campbell puts together some visually stunning sequences, and there’s a strong supporting cast of, well, perfectly cast actors in Strong, Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan.  Peter Sarsgaard is at his smarmy and creepy best as Hector Hammond, and Blake Lively continues to surprise me with her performances.

It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s enjoyable and entertaining, and hopefully accessible to the non-nerds out there.

3.5 / 5