Vote now for Best of Detroit 2021

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2003 at 12:00 AM

A devil and a man, twisted in two by ethics and emotions — Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) by day is a responsible lawyer, an oddity in itself. But by night, he hovers over the crimes of the big city — a red vigilante gargoyle waiting to pounce. Matt used to be an everyday American kid, until a radioactive accident left him sightless and the death of his father left his psyche scarred. Now he’s blind, like justice, and left with a residue of freakish radar senses, superhuman hearing and an inconsolable hunger to clean up the grimy crime that killed his pop.

Looks great on paper, but somebody sucked all the chutzpah out of our poor sightless devil. There’s been a tragic lack of imagination in the handling of this classic comic-book hero.

Comics — American myths you can buy for pocket change — are a mix of striking graphics and emotions that explore every outrageous angle and trigger every primal passion possible. They’re an art form tailor-made for ordinary Joes, with heroes who usually start out just like their audience, as regular U.S. folk.

Such is Daredevil, the Man Without Fear — one of Marvel’s last original Silver Age creations. Daredevil was conceived in 1964 by Marvel legend, writer Stan Lee (creator of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and Thor) and artist Bill Everett (creator of Marvel’s first super-hero, the Sub-Mariner). He’s managed to stay on the page for more than 30 years, but on screen he becomes unbearably tiresome before two hours expire, no thanks to writer-director Mark Steven Johnson (Simon Birch).

After covering Daredevil’s hapless evolution, Johnson goes directly into a love story between our hero and Elektra (Jennifer Garner). It’s a film noir-edged affair originally spun by storytelling legend Frank Miller (who took over the comic in the early ’80s), now made rock-video limp by Johnson. In his saggy, dull-red leather gear, Ben Affleck hangs on the screen like a forlorn biker who’s lost his buddies in a bar brawl. Garner has some potential as she-hero Elektra, but claustrophobic camerawork, bad pop rock, weak-to-awful dialogue and a general milquetoast atmosphere mush an amazingly intense, crimson-horned character into a monotone love story that only goes through the motions of emotions.

Daredevil is a horrible crime of a film that I hope will one day be avenged.

Anita Schmaltz writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Anita Schmaltz

Most Popular

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation