Flashback! To “Daredevil…!”

Why?

Because it was on yesterday, that’s why.

Like everyone else who saw it, it seems – many non-comics-fans not excluded – I tried to like it. Oh, how I tried. I watched it twice on DVD, looking for things to enjoy about it.

And, I found some. Surprised? You shouldn’t be…I may not be a big fan of Ben Affleck, but given what he’s asked to do here, he makes a pretty good job of it. Jennifer Garner does, too: did she have to throw herself into the stunts and the athleticism of the Elektra role? No she did not. She’s a big star, she could’ve passed it off to somebody else. But she chose to commit more fully, instead, and it makes the movie better. Colin Farrell is twitchy and crazy as Bullseye; Michael Clarke Duncan is obviously having a great deal of fun as Wilson Fisk; every minute spent by Jon Favreau onscreen as Foggy is a natural minute; even Joe Pantoliano is there as Ben Urich, doing whatever he can to hold the movie up, apparently out of the goodness of his heart. These are likeable actors. Even Affleck, who I’m not usually too crazy about, is likeable here. Whatever anyone says, I believe his Matt Murdock; it’s a good performance.

Unfortunately, what he’s asked to perform doesn’t hang together too well.

I’ve got a lot of sympathy for Daredevil: The Movie, but in the end it’s sympathy I have to use – I can understand and relate to every rationale for every wrong move it makes, so I convince myself to overlook those faults. But there’s no denying there’s a lot of them. Oh, what a lot of them there are! And they start up early:

Despite the Daredevil fan’s love of Frank Miller’s semi-noir adornments to the comic during the Eighties, there’s a limit to how well that sort of thing was ever going to translate into a movie like this. Of course they just had to have the DD-wrapped-around-the-steeple bit, and how could they not have needed it? I needed it, too. But it takes the movie in a wrong direction right away. Likewise, the D.O.A.-flavoured flashback-with-voiceover thing has been done in more than one place, sometimes successfully, and as it starts up here it even gives the strong impression that it’s going to work…but it isn’t going to, because what it mostly does is confine the presentation of characters that were cliches already, to the shortest possible string of lowest-common-denominator director’s notes. The has-been boxer father, for example, just has to do enough to get us to the point where we recognize that that’s what he is, and then his job is (sadly, given the great casting) done: this kind of flashback can’t afford to linger over details. Matt himself, after the hospital scene that almost works…and you know, it’s a shame, because the way they present his sonar – not RADAR, damn it, SONAR! – sense is clever, but it just doesn’t have enough time allotted to its introduction, and the idea of the church bells calming everything down kind of goes right by you…along with any chance of understanding how he can make sense of the noise his heightened senses produce…after this scene, Matt himself is caught by the limitations of the D.O.A. flashback, because he has to exposit so much for us where he shouldn’t. “I developed superhuman senses, which gave me strength, speed, and balance”…I’m sorry, but what? I’ve said it before, that in a movie or a TV show or a play, the change that the powers bring to the character’s sense of self is the most important thing about bringing a superhero property to life, but here it’s just flashback-fodder…and worse, the hand is misplayed. Because there’s already a Marvel movie superhero whose shtick is having the city as his playground, bouncing over rooftops, and so forth, and although DD does those things too he’ll always do them less well. So he can’t compete with Spider-Man for the moviegoer’s attention this way. He’ll lose. But, Spidey can’t pit his spider-sense against DD’s 360-degree sensory awareness, either: later on in the movie, the idea of Daredevil being better than Bullseye at his own game does work, but unfortunately it isn’t made integral to Matt’s character back in the flashback-to-origin. It’s slid over a little bit, instead of punched-up. Peter Parker spends as much time just figuring out how to fire his webbing as Matt Murdock spends learning how to make sense of his whole new sensorium, with the result that Matt’s changes are underplayed for the audience by comparison.

Not a big deal, maybe?

But Matt’s world is shadowy, flickering, difficult: we never see a Daredevil movie where he learns that the overload of information is a blessing amounting to a superpower in its own right. We never see a scene where the chaos of the SONAR sense resolves itself into a visual that the audience can understand as ordered, to a practised mind. Peter Parker could lose at pool, you see, but Matt never could, unless he wanted to…Spider-Man will get an occasional disordered panic-flash of “danger coming from that direction!”, but Daredevil always knows everything about what’s going on in his environment already, and can factor it in ahead of time. And I can think of three or four cool ways to show this off the top of my head, can’t you? As well as arguments between kids who’ve seen the movies: “Daredevil could kick Spider-Man’s ass!” “Oh no he couldn’t…!” Oh well, but I don’t have a big-budget movie’s deadlines to cope with, and film costs money. This approach got missed, but I’m not saying it’s because the filmmakers are such dolts, I’m just saying it’s too bad.

Just like it’s too bad that the promise between father and son is so muddied, or that the dichotomy between Matt and Daredevil creates way too much pull, too much unzipping, in the wrong direction. In the comics, Matt Murdock is a brilliant defence attorney who makes quite a bit of money, partly (though only partly!) because his enhanced senses allow him to know if people are telling the truth. In the movie, Matt Murdock is a lousy lawyer, who stays poor because he operates in a crime-and-justice universe where the system doesn’t work, and therefore only uses his ability to know who’s guilty to target the wrongly-acquitted for overdue justice. Well, moviemakers love their conflict; but this is too much conflict, and it’s the wrong kind. Too semi-noir. And too sloppy: when we first see Matt in court, he’s grilling a rapist on the stand…we see the tearful victim in her seat, looking on…but, hold on, Matt is a defence lawyer, isn’t he? So who’s he representing? Not, I can assure you, the tearful victim: she can hardly be accused of raping herself, right? So, it must be somebody who was set up to take the fall, by the real bad guy. But then where is this patsy, and why doesn’t Matt do anything to defend him? Again, you might argue: big deal. And maybe you’re right, but I don’t think so, because I think this, too, is a misplayed hand: Matt Murdock, the most brilliant lawyer who’s absolutely useless in a courtroom that there ever was…we are still supposed to think he’s brilliant, right?…but it’s not his fault, because it’s the system that doesn’t work. Because Matt, as Foggy tells us down at the coffee shop, is pure. Unstained. An excellent human being, if inarguably a really bad lawyer…wrong profession, Matt! Of course one second after Foggy relays this information to us, Matt is trying to use his blindness to pick up a girl…

And oh my God, does that work? Really? AWESOME…the old “pretending to be blind” trick…jeez, chicks are stoopid, eh?

Um…

Of course everyone in this movie seems to know (if not to actually realize) that Matt is not blind at all. They only forget this when they want to make some terribly inappropriate comment: “I wore this to look beautiful for you, even though you can’t see me in it because you’re BLIND!” Elektra tells Matt, gazing into his eyes for some reason, and making adorably invisible dimples at him like an idiot…but then they remember again when it’s time for them to do something that wouldn’t make any sense otherwise. Joe Pantoliano gives Matt his card, and I’m not saying he shouldn’t, but I would probably say something like “look…I mean, uh, sorry, figure of speech…if I give you my card, would you…? I mean, could you, y’know, arrange to call me back, if I give you my card?” And then Matt would probably let me know I should relax, and that he’ll take my card, and then he would stick out his hand and that’s where I would put the card. In his hand. Because it HAS TO be impolite to stick your card in a blind man’s shirt pocket without first letting him know that’s what you’re going to do, right? RIGHT? Not to mention that if I were blind, and you told me “hey, I’ll just put it in your pocket so you don’t forget it,” I’d say “the hell you will, buddy, or I’ll put something in your pocket so you don’t forget it.” Yes: every once in a while I might be a little assholish in the protection of my personal space, as a blind man. And yet Joe is fine with this space-invasion, and Matt’s fine with it, and everyone’s fine with it, and that’s ridiculous. Oh, let’s stick with this party, while we’re here, just for one more thing: Wilson Fisk throws the party, he attends the party as its host…and he has a bodyguard with him telling people not to talk to him? I DOUBT THAT…

But sorry, anyway as to Matt’s well-known unblindness…even as a child he is yelling at his father to get up off the canvas in a boxing match, and then he cheers him when he does…which is IMPOSSIBLE, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention. The kid is BLIND. He can’t SEE. Later in life, he follows Elektra down the street…HOW? He reaches out spontaneously to touch her face, and lays his hand on her cheek…NO HE DOESN’T! They have a big martial arts fight in a playground, and she asks him “are you sure you’re blind?” Well of COURSE HE ISN’T BLIND, ELEKTRA! You KNOW he isn’t blind ALREADY, and you just met him! But this question passes right away, thank goodness for the plot…Matt counters cleverly with something like “are you sure you’re Greek?”, and then they fight, and all is forgotten.

Wow, how they fight, too. Who’d she train with, Jackie Chan?

I know, I know…not important. Sorry. But you see how it’s all back-to-front, in this movie? Matt goes out at night as Daredevil, and kills criminals the system (i.e. him) can’t put behind bars where they belong…and then leaves a stupendously uncalled-for calling card to let everybody (well, Ben Urich) know that there’s a new sheriff in town. As to Ben Urich…crime reporter slash urban legend oddspot reporter slash high-society black-tie ball reporter? Really? No, not really…something must’ve gotten pretty lost between the floorboards here, huh? Again, I don’t blame. I just notice that’s what happened. As I said, I’m very kindly disposed to this movie, and want to like it. I’ve actually seen it three-and-a-half times now. And I tellya, you don’t really notice just how good the performances are, until you fully realize the shit you’re accepting because of them. Certainly no one I’m aware of before me has seen fit to realize that if Ben Affleck wasn’t acting his little brains out here, people would’ve walked right out of the theatre. But, you don’t really notice, do you. And besides, it’s Ben Affleck. Hey, have you ever seen him on Saturday Night Live? He’s really funny on that show, y’know…

Wow, so it’s come to this for me. Defending the guy. Who ever would have believed it?

Moving on, Nation…the dialogue is in as bad shape as the flashback is, too. “I beat him”, “I know, Dad”, “I didn’t get your name”, “I didn’t give it”…aaaargh. “My senses became superhuman…suddenly I was DAREDEVIL.” Even the Kingpin gets dragged down by things like “I’m not the bad guy”…this is the line Affleck most acts the hell out of, because it’s the worst line in the whole movie…no, in fact he isn’t the bad guy. The Kingpin is the bad guy, because he’s the cause of how “the system doesn’t work”…and yet, how screwy is it that I quite like the Kingpin? I’ll get back to that in one sec, actually…first I’ve gotta talk about the nasty, nasty fan service…

No, wait! One more second! The fight in the bar!

Aww, forget the damn fight in the damn bar…never mind it could’ve been an excellent showcase for Matt’s extreme super-senses…

Okay, the fan service. Even as a fan, I felt a little bit like “hey, Daredevil makers…don’t touch me there.” Because, does it ever bloody end? Romita, Colan, Lee, Miller, Mack, Bendis…Kevin Smith…it’s just too bloody much, it really is. It overloads you after a while. (Still questioning the wisdom of including a nod to Ditko in Spider-Man 2: if he ever saw it, which he probably won’t, you just KNOW it’d piss him off…I mean, you think Alan Moore’s recalcitrant…)

Even this: “Justice is served.” I mean really.

Okay, back to the Kingpin. Wait, one sec: Bullseye and Elektra. You know, I think it’s really funny that Elektra is shocked to discover DD is Matt…even more shocked than I am at how the clothesline stuff didn’t work for him and against her…but then this SONAR sense seems to exist to do what the plot needs of it in general, sometimes to good effect and sometimes not…but mostly I think Elektra should’ve known Matt is Daredevil because she’s seen his cane! Ohhh, that came out badly. I mean, how can she not recognize his billy club? Ohhh…uhhh…damn. I don’t think there’s any good way to say that. Anyway she should just know. And, see how good I am, I’m not even complaining about how they all meet up on a rooftop at the same time so perfectly! Hell, I won’t even complain about how everyone in this movie has no-good-reason superpowers except for Foggy! Who should probably look into getting some…I mean, a few years of martial arts training and you can fucking fly, man…

I do have a slight problem with how Bullseye can have the same “powers” as Matt, and I suspect this very problem is the reason Bullseye wasn’t explored too much as a character…“Hey Colin, can you hang a bit of an unlantern on this for us?” “Well, I could act real twitchy and psycho and scenery-chewing, would that help?” “Let’s see it!” [Colin snarls, grinds his teeth, wiggles his eyebrows, looks like he’s gonna cry] “Wow, Colin, that’s AMAZING!” “You like it?” “Like it?! It saves the whole damn movie!” “Well…here to help, mate.”

Now how much of a monster would I have to be, to quibble over that?

“He made me miss.”

I’m reminded of about four seconds of Oliver Reed’s performance in Gladiator, when for some unknown reason he cast the bullshit aside and acted. Great stuff. I give Bullseye, as a character, a total pass in this movie. Criticism is inappropriate, and unnecessary. If they’d made plushtoys of him, they could’ve made a billion dollars.

Anyway. I say that a lot, don’t I? Anyway…

Michael Clake Duncan, the speaker of the greatest line in this movie…well, frankly the speaker of four of the top five greatest lines in this movie, but this one’s the best, just look at how he does it: “I don’t understand.” Now there’s your noir, finally! Because I want to know too! Oh…because “I’m not the bad guy.” What a letdown. I’m not sure the question – and it’s a good question! – has been answered, frankly. But we can’t do anything about that, we’d have to re-shoot the whole movie to get a better answer. And look at this: Michael laughs appealingly and says (as Daredevil threatens him with Riker’s Island…is that the prison Wilson Fisk would be going to, though?) “I’ll get out”. And DD says: “I know. And I’ll be waiting.” Which, sorry to sound like someone from Television Without Pity, is just stupid. On so many levels. One, it’s just dumb period, because why not kill him then? If the system doesn’t work. I mean what exactly are you going to do when he gets out, as you’re so sure he will? We definitely don’t hear Matt Murdock the lawyer, here. I mean you’d think when you’re getting rid of the very cause of the system not working, you’d threaten him with an it is too working by the time he gets out…but no. Apparently semi-noirness won’t permit that. But it probably should: oh, how “I’m not the bad guy” compares unfavourably with “I won’t kill you…but I don’t have to save you”. As a Batman-analogue, DD makes a good Spider-Man analogue, and vice versa…and yet I’ll tell you what might have saved the whole movie, if they’d only done it…if Daredevil smiled. It’s right there, after all. Look it over again: he wants to smile. When he beats up the bully-kid from the Sopranos (and by the way: neighbourhood bully picking on a blind kid? Would that happen? And does anyone else sense a suppressed-script echo of Matt’s response to the Kingpin saying he’ll reveal his identity?), he should be smiling…when he plummets to the pavement from on top of a building he should be smiling…when he chews up the painkillers (a part of this movie my non-comics-fan friend liked) he should be smiling to beat the friggin’ band. But how can he be smiling? The tone of the D.O.A.-narration won’t permit it. It’s become too controlling as a device: the end of the movie comes along and I keep thinking I’m gonna hear Ben Affleck’s voice saying “I will stop…the First Wave.” Truthfully, this movie can’t help the fact that it zigged when it should’ve zagged, way back when in the development process, and the wrong zigging does a lot, it percolates through everything: at the fancy ball, Foggy says to Urich “A “Kingpin” of crime? Sounds a little far-fetched, don’t you think?” And Urich responds: “No more far-fetched than an urban vigilante nobody’s ever seen.” BUT I’M SORRY BEN, THAT IS NOT A “GOTCHA”! Jeez…

And so you ask me, O Faithful Reader, what would I have done instead? If I’m such a smartass?

Honestly, beyond the odd tweak, nothing. It had to be this way. It had to be this movie, and no other. There’s no getting around it. I told you before, I also need DD tangled around the steeple after Elektra dies… I need everything that’s in this movie. You couldn’t make a Daredevil movie that wasn’t like this, what’re you gonna do, have it be while Matt and Foggy are in college? Are you going to ignore Elektra for Karen Page, the Kingpin for Stilt-Man? You most certainly are not. And then, besides, you’d lose our pal Michael Clarke Duncan, who sadly is right about everything in this movie, that Daredevil is wrong about…ouch. And yet it has to be so, not just because M-C-D is so great (which he totally is), but because Matt Murdock himself has been set up by semi-noirness to prove it. “I don’t understand”, the Kingpin says, and I’m right there with him: I don’t understand either. I need someone (and forgive me for quoting the one truly impossible comic-movie) to explain it to me.

And that, for all the efforts of the actors, is something Daredevil isn’t gutsy enough to do. It shies away from it, instead.

They tried hard, though. Problem was, it all went wrong at the beginning: with Matt’s promise to his father, and his father’s promise to Matt.

Read DD #1. Sometimes it’s simple. Except, sometimes, it’s not allowed to be. Even in retrospect.

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13 responses to “Flashback! To “Daredevil…!”

  1. Just curious, but is this a review (comment) of the cinema cut, or the director’s cut? I have to say that while I find the original cut an okay kind of film, I, personally, rate the directors cut as up there with Spider-Man.

    Well, at least it explains why the police come for the Kingpin at the end of the film.

  2. Oh, definitely the cinema cut. Never seen the director’s cut, I’m sure it makes a lot more sense.

    I’ll have to wait a couple years before going back to this movie again, though!

  3. Great post!

    I taught a week-long course to grade eights about superhero cinema. We watched: Superman: The Moves, Batman (1989), X-Men, Daredevil – Director’s Cut, and Spider-man 2.

    At the end of the class, I had them rate the films in order of favourite to least favourite. No big suprise, Spidey 2 won out a favorite film. But number second place was, perhaps, a surprise: Daredevil. That’s right, your average grade eight right now likes the Daredevil Directors cut better than Superman, Batman, or X-Men.

    You simply must see the Director’s cut, sooner rather than later. It really is a different film. We’re not just talking about cut scenes, but completely different scenes, an entire cut story line, and different outcomes.

    For example: Theatrical cut – They are on the rooftop, its raining, Matt hears someone who needs help, but he stays and has sex with Elektra.
    Directors cut – They are on the rooftop, its raining, Matt hears someone who needs help, Matt leaves, he and Elektra never get it on.

    Something as simply as that really changes the film, and there are TONNES of little (and big) differences like that between the two cuts.

    Really enjoyed your thoughts on the theatrical cut, though.

  4. They tried to cram too damn much stuff in DD. Not just in terms of “too many characters,” though there were, but also with subplots and character arcs. (The longer run of the director’s cut could help this problem a lot, but hey, I’ve never seen it.)

    The biggest mistake to me was DD’s character arc. In the beginning he tears up bars and kills people; in the middle, he terrifies a child and sees what a monster he’s becoming; in the end, he refuses to kill the man he has the most reason to kill. (This, as you point out, despite the whole “legal system is a sham, must kill for justice” ethos the film promotes, making that ending make no damn sense.)

    Aside from being a warped idea for a four-color comic book superhero movie, it’s also way to damn much to cram alongside the origin story, the Elektra love story, taking down the Kingpin, and Colin Ferrell chewing scenery.

    Because nobody cares, here’s how I’d have done it. (With huge apologies to Frank Miller, whose work I’m shamelessly stealing.)

    –Start with Elektra about to kill someone and DD stops her. They super-kung-fu tussle. She escapes, amazed that anyone could keep up with her.

    –Flashback! Retell the basic origin story quickly: bullied, blinded, radiation crap, super-senses.

    –Keep Stick. Set up the “Murdock becomes mystical warrior” jazz from “The Man Without Fear.” Also, Murdock’s senses tip him off that Stick has another pupil, a woman, whom Matt never meets. Stick tells him that his senses give him an edge over the girl, but that her focus gives her an edge over him.

    –Jack Murdock, part-time mob enforcer and aging boxer, pisses off the mob and gets cacked. Matt goes for revenge, gets it, and is rejected by Stick for being a hotheaded idiot. “You’re as bad as the girl. You’re a waste. A failure.”

    –A frustrated and lonely Murdock meets Elektra by recognizing her scent one day. They become lovers. He knows who she is but won’t tell. She has no idea who he is. But they’re two of a kind. Sorta. She’s bat-guano crazy, just barely keeping it together.

    –Soon thereafter, her father is murdered, she flips out, declares life meaningless, and disappears. Matt, in a depression, leaves the city too, for the countryside or something. Years pass.

    –Murdock returns to NYC, and is soon tormented by the sounds his hypersenses give him. He hears the crime and suffering, and he has to do something. Matt starts to interfere in neighborhood crimes and bust up dirty cops. Shortly thereafter, he becomes Daredevil, because the people of the city need a protector.

    –The Kingpin hires a new assassin and enforcer to get DD and to strengthen his grip on the city. Yeah, it’s Elektra. (Who has her own cadre of ninja assistants, because mass ninja fights are cool.)

    –Then you got the “Matt and Elektra meet up again as adults” plot (if there’s time and interest) as well as the “DD and Elektra try to kill each other” plot.

    –Stick tells Murdock to quit kung-fu’ing. Murdock tells Stick to suck it. Stick growls and leaves.

    –Elektra finding out who DD is, getting conflicted, quitting the Kingpin, and getting cacked.

    –DD brings the Kingpin down extra-hard.

    Well, something like that.

    No Bullseye, DD is a straight-up hero, Elektra is more organic to the story, the “comic book tragedy” of Elektra’s conflicted nature, plus more kung fu and none of that “Daredevil is an unhinged weirdo who kills, no wait, he isn’t” crap. Matt’s story arc is simply “overcoming crap.” He overcomes his blindness, he overcomes the bullies of his youth, he even overcomes his rejection and condemnation by Stick. And yeah, he smiles.

    Plus it’s gotta have Foggy.

    I’m just sayin’.

  5. Thomas, is that you? Long time no hear, man…that settles it, then, I’ll go get the director’s cut some day soon and watch it…then it’ll be another “Update! To “Flashback…!” Although strangely no one seemed to read my second FF cartoon post that had a title like that…

    And, Harvey: keep Stick?

    Hmm…

    You know, I think you’re right! Keep Stick! “Usually I have to train people to see more, be more aware…with you, it’s the opposite. Thankfully, the principle is the same.” I know that isn’t how Stick talks, but then I never liked the way he talked, so whatever. However I love acknowledging that Matt just has a whole ‘nother gear as far as this Zen kung fu crap goes. And your version of Daredevil here could obviously be a bit of a franchise, the way you’ve set it up: even to the point where it’s only necessary to have Elektra maybe not be dead at the end of the first movie, to keep the door open for everyone to have their definitive Bullseye-kills-Elektra moment in the sequel. Hell, if you wanted to, you could do one of those annoying ultra-origin-tie-ins with Bullseye, and have him also be a former student of Stick’s…whose problem, perhaps, was the opposite of Matt’s: too much focus. Unnatural and unhealthy focus. Although at that point Stick would look like he had quite the lousy track record indeed…but then, Yoda’s still got a worse one, doesn’t he? Matt recognizing Elektra by her scent is out-and-out brilliant, as is him overcoming all his obstacles including Stick’s condemnation. I thought this movie (theatrical release) suffered from not being able to tell the difference between the coolness of Daredevil and the coolness of Batman, and attributed it to the Miller influence…but you know, you could still have a slightly Batman-ish DD, character-wise, and not have it suck. Interestingly (to me at least), this’d give a chance for Matt, not unlike Peter Parker at the end of JMS’ first Spider-Man arc, to insist on the value of his original motivations over his retconned ones: as Spider-Man gets to remind everyone that it wasn’t just any old spider that bit him, it was a freakin’ Marvel-style radioactive spider, which makes him different from what he’s “supposed” to be — free, we might even call it — so Matt could find that by rebelling against the master-pupil thing he has with Stick, he could get back to inhabiting the weird double identity/responsibility he originally got from being Battlin’ Jack’s son. Which would (again for me) be good, because there’s nothing so satisfying as a superhero finally embracing his double identity, is there?

    Congratulations, I think you fixed it! Add in some smiling and some Foggy…jeez, can’t someone at least come along and say Foggy’s got a half-decent head for contracts, or something?…and a few minutes of Matt being good at his job, and you could almost make Daredevil as fertile a ground for future storylines as they made the Spider-Man movies. Oh, if they’d just introduce Namor in an FF movie, you could even have the ultimate DD-don’t-quit storyline, somewhere down the road…!

    But no. That’s wishing for the moon, clearly.

  6. And Nick: yeah, I did kind of wonder how “the word” got out on the Kingpin, actually. Also, just guessing here, but I figured Ben Urich was at the party for some reason other than “the regular fashion reporter got sick”, in the original script…before time and tide intervened…

    Well, but I guess I’ll find out, won’t I?

  7. If you’re going to have Elektra, Stick is vital.

    Stick provides a link between DD and Elektra that makes sense. He explains how the two of them have their super-duper kung fu. Also, both DD and Elektra have severe daddy issues–Elektra being obsessed with hers (hence the name) and DD trying to reconcile his own father’s good side with his bad. Stick is the ultimate father figure for them, one that they both displease and end up rejected by.

    Maybe part of the story would be how they react to Stick’s rejection for membership in some vague Order of Kung Fu Heroes. Both end up rejected because of their reactions to their fathers’ deaths, with Matt kicking mobster ass before Stick deems him “ready” and Elektra freaking out and rejecting Stick’s ideas of order and justice. Then Elektra throws herself into violence, Matt rejects it entirely. Stick tells Matt that he’s a washout and to give it up.

    When Matt becomes DD, he’s going against Stick’s orders. After helping people, he realizes that Stick be damned, Matt will do what he must. Later, when Stick threatens to stop Matt (“You aren’t ready, and you’re vulnerable to corruption like Elektra. If you keep this up, you’re going to turn, and when you do, I’ll be there. To kill you.”), Matt tells Stick that he’s doing what he must, and he won’t stop. They “stare” each other down (as much as two blind men can, I suppose), a conflict imminent. As Stick goes to attack, a sly grin breaks out on DD’s face. He’s not afraid. Stick senses the grin and backs off. Maybe the kid’s alright…

    (There’d have to be some reason why Stick doesn’t just go kill Elektra, since he’s willing to kill Matt for merely being a risk to flip out. Maybe Matt tells Stick that he’ll take care of Elektra himself? Hm.)

    This whole deal provides sequel fodder. There’s the threat of DD flipping out in the near future, as well as the question of what the hell Stick is training super-kung-fu guys for. What’s the big secret menace?

    Just a few thoughts…

  8. Oh, and an extra internet bonus…

    Some of the guys who used to write for Mystery Science Theater 3000 have set up a website where they sell MP3s of “MST” treatments of major movies. It’s at RiffTrax.

    They did one for Daredevil.

    I saw their sample clip, and it was amusing.

    ELEKTRA: “My name is Elektra Natchios.”
    OFFSCREEN: “Electric Nachos? What?”

    Get the MP3 and re-watch Daredevil with their commentary…should be good.

  9. I know I don’t have much company, but I would go for Karen Page, Stilt Man, Mike Murdock, lots of smiles… I prefer Stan & Gene to Frank. Of course, I would also have to include Kingpin in the background – ready for the second film!

  10. “Stick senses the grin and backs off. Maybe the kid’s alright…”

    Now that’s just good.

    A further thought, Harvey: Matt and Elektra both rebel against Stick’s idea of restraint because they can’t get over the idea that there is such a thing as the immediately just act, the full-on tangible real justice that has nothing to do with a disciplined mind and everything to do with an undisciplined heart. Except Elektra confuses justice with revenge, instead of understanding that revenge (i.e. scale-balancing) is just a part of justice. But Matt gets lucky this way, because he has his father’s admonition to fall back on — to be better than who he is. Paradoxical idea! But si is hope a paradoxical idea, and the memory of what Battlin’ Jack wanted for his son that saves Matt from Elektra’s fate, of losing faith in all order entirely…

    One also toys with the idea that under Stick’s tutelage Matt has learned to screen out a lot of the sensory inputs coming his way, although he’s still open to a lot more than the average person…and that in a climactic scene (like the one in the theatrical cut of DD where Matt senses the bullet arriving just in time to move Bullseye’s hand into its path), he manages to open his senses fully while still retaining control of himself, and thus discovers a way out of a situation that otherwise would be inescapable. Various “Chosen One” storylines make their influence felt here, but so what…new changes rung on those old strings are what fantasy’s all about, right?

    I think someone mentioned somewhere (although sorry, been drinking, can’t remember who): a DD TV series would be pretty interesting. And if there was such a thing, I can think of the most important show in it, the one where (copying an old comic) Matt’s infallible “lie-detector” ends up giving him the wrong information, because the thug in question (Matt’s client?) wears a pacemaker. So Matt learns that “immediate” justice isn’t always real justice, at all, and at the last second he must figure out how to balance the damage he’s done as high-flying vigilante of the night with last-ditch high-flying genius legal shenanigans in the courtroom, without actually betraying his responsibility as a lawyer to represent his client, which of course would be WRONG.

    Oh, Christ, I can see it now: best show about the law ever, because Matt serves two masters, but must always in each episode find his own difficult way to make them want the same thing, not just through his enhanced capabilities but through his highly-developed “radar sense” of right and wrong. It could be “The Questor Tapes” for the post-2000s, Isaac Asimov’s “Probe” set down in the world of Dick Wolf…Century City placed where it should be placed, which is now, in the present moment…

    Oh yes, the beer’s starting to kick in…

    You really are good at this, Harvey, you know? I must email you the “What Comics Blog Are You?” blurb for the “Filing Cabinet Of The Damned” result, if I haven’t done so already…

    Actually, you’re better at this sort of thing than anyone I know, with the possible exception of Ed (you should hear his James Bond idea!), and somehow, someway, I don’t know what way it is, but you’ve got to be a script doctor. I can well imagine you as the guy who said “make Rodney rich” in Back To School (helloooo, RAB!). It’s a pretty big talent. Keep Stick? Did I ever imagine that Stick must not be kept? Knowing what I know now, that seems impossible, that I imagined that.

    And I’m still waiting for the Monsieur Mallah and the Brain detective story in Ape City, where the Brain has to be kept under wraps. Write the script, Harvey. Find a like-minded artist. Seriously. It’ll be a good hobby, and inspirational for the kid. Also it will please me hugely. Look back at the Champions record, and you’ll find RAB agrees with me, even though I don’t think The Champions was anywhere near your best work. Okay maybe the beer’s speaking too much now, I don’t want to become obnoxious just yet. I must leave some work for the next beer to do, after all.

    Ah, beer.

  11. David: I, too, prefer Stan and Gene (not to mention Stan and Bill, and even Steve and Bob) to Frank any day of the week, too. I love what Frank did, as an excellent riff on Daredevil (and if Frank’s was a riff, how much more so was everybody else’s since Frank?), but if there was a way to have a DD movie with swingin’ Mike Murdock and his wraparound shades fighting Stilt-Man while Karen Page slowly became torn between Matt and his other, non-secret “secret identity”…

    Actually, you know…that could be kind of really good. All metatextual-like. After all, Karen doesn’t love DD, does she? She loves Matt.

    Hmm…

    HARVEY! CLEAN-UP ON AISLE ONE!

    Also I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop thinking of The Kingpin as a Spider-Man villain.

    Okay! This is all starting to get rather interesting! And David, I’ll have another Doctor Who post for you soon, I’ve just seen to the end of the Christopher Eccleston run, and I have some ideas.

  12. Of course it’s me. Who else could possible have that many typos in one post? You know I can’t keep my mouth shut when it’s DD talk.

  13. Pingback: Enquiry Concerning Superhuman Understanding « A Trout In The Milk·

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