Opens: Feb. 14
The pitch: Attorney Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck), blinded as a child by a freak toxic waste accident, fights crime using his heightened agility and sonar vision.
Selling points: Jennifer Garner ("Alias") sizzles as the kick-ass Elektra, Daredevil's would-be girlfriend. Colin Farrell gives a bang-up performance as the deranged mercenary Bullseye. And surprisingly, Affleck doesn't suck.
Visual appeal: The special effect used for Daredevil's "sight" works in action better than it sounds on paper, sort of an animated X-ray revealing sound waves in motion. Also effective are the CGI animations of the hero's rooftop acrobatics, even if they don't make much sense given the storyline.
Nerd factor: High. Marvel Comics maestro Stan Lee appears in a brief cameo, being saved at a crosswalk by young Matt. Kevin Smith (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) pops in for a clever morgue sequence.
Flesh factor: Low. A listless sex scene lets the horny Devil roll around with Elektra, but lacks any real passion.
Fashion statements: The hero's signature red leather get-up appears seemingly from nowhere, unlike in, say, Spider-Man, where we see young Peter Parker fretting over his costume. Same goes for Elektra's bad-girl ninja wear. Which makes us wonder, did they buy this stuff off the rack?
Clichés: The opening sequence deserves props for tackling the story midstream, with the costumed vigilante wounded and clinging to a church steeple like a living gargoyle. But it loses points for a sense of foreboding that feels cribbed from the first Batman. Both villains, Kingpin and Bullseye, read straight from the Big Book of Bad Guy One-Liners.
The bottom line: Fans who've been wowed by the recent run of Marvel movies (X-Men, Spider-Man) will find Daredevil darker, grittier and ultimately, less engaging than its predecessors. Though director Mark Steven Johnson attempts to give his characters more depth, they often come off as needlessly melodramatic.
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