Marvel Comics and Co. is bringing its beloved comic book characters to the silver screen one by one, in an assembly line fashion that would make Henry Ford proud.
Their latest film adaptation, Daredevil, is banking on the multimillion dollar success of Spider-Man and the world’s fascination with People Magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive” to bring in top box office honors.
But is that enough to carry a comic book classic?
Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck), is a defense lawyer by day and a dark, disturbed superhero by night.
An unfortunate childhood accident involving chemical waste left Murdock blind but also heightened his four other senses.
These overdeveloped senses become invaluable tools for battling the forces of evil.
The plot centers on Murdock’s quest to bring justice to New York City and avenge his father’s untimely death by any means necessary.
When his guilty conscience doesn’t lead him to the confessional, Daredevil is roaming the streets in search of Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan), the man behind the city’s crime.
Kingpin is virtually unstoppable, particularly when accompanied by his entourage of bad boys, including Bullseye (Colin Farrell), an Irish assassin with perfect marksmanship.
But suddenly, crime fighting takes a backseat to love. Murdock is at the mercy of Elecktra Natchios (Jennifer Garner), the daughter of a wealthy ambassador with some kick-ass martial arts skills.
The two tango with love and death before their short-lived romance comes to a standstill.
Daredevil is hardly novel, despite the surrounding hype.
Writer-director Mark Steven Johnson is so focused on visual eye-candy, he doesn’t develop any of his characters.
Kingpin, for example, is as static as they come.
Johnson gives us no insight into Kingpin’s insidious motives, which is disappointing considering that the comic book genre is just as much about the villain as it is the hero.
As the film progresses it becomes increasingly painful to watch.
The dialogue is flat and contrived and the attempted drama is boring and unoriginal.
The visual effects aren’t particularly spectacular either.
One can only hope Hollywood will not make a habit of commandeering comic book plots and giving so little attention to detail and the crucial elements that make a good film.
Is Ben Affleck a good superhero?
Many would argue no.
His presence as a vigilante battling the darkside seems extremely farfetched.
Maybe it’s because he’s about to marry J-Lo or maybe his superhero potential is lost due to Daredevil’s lackluster script.
Either way, he is never really given the chance to shine in this film.
Daredevil is, of course, not going to make or break Affleck’s acting career.
Despite a failed attempt at gaining superhero status, Affleck will go back to his normal acting repertoire of romantic comedies and his fans will breath a collective sigh of relief.
Carmen Dukes can be reached at email@example.com.