Directed By: Mark Steven Johnson

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

We've got a lot of big superhero movies in 2014 and 2015, including the likes of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Still, moviegoers seem to have their eyes fixated on the Zack Snyder's Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which is still two years away.  What's been interesting to watch is how moviegoers have ripped apart each and every one of Snyder's casting decisions.  We've certainly seen all the vitriol that's resulted from his decision to cast Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  Fans have made it abundantly clear that they preferred Heisenberg over Jesse Eisenberg in the role of Lex Luthor.  However, nothing has quite been like the initial backlash to the announcement that Ben Affleck would be suiting up as the Dark Knight.  Though I don't agree with the fools who signed a White House petition to reverse the casting decision, perhaps there is something to the movie-going public's grievances.  After all, we've seen what he can do as a poor man's Batman in the 2003 flick Daredevil.

Matt Murdock's (Affleck) life is flashing before his eyes.  As a young boy (Scott Terra), he grows up with his father Jack (David Keith) in the New York neighborhood Hell's Kitchen.  A washed up boxer, the elder Murdock makes a living as a mob enforcer.  While taking a shortcut home to show his father a good grade he has received in school, Matt discovers his father's line of work.  Horrified and fleeing the scene, Matt ends up the victim of a toxic waste spill and is now facing a life of blindness.  With the loss of his vision, Matt's other senses are heightened, and he begins training himself in the martial arts.  Blaming himself for the accident, Jack "The Devil" Murdock stops working as an enforcer and goes back into training as well to try to rejuvenate his long-gestating boxing career.  After several successful fights, Jack is approached by a mobster, his former employer, and asked to throw a fight.  When he fails to honor the request, the mobster has him killed.  All that Matt has left of his father is a rose the murderer left at the scene of the crime in a dark alley.  A grieving Matt vows to avenge his father and to ensure that other innocent people in Hell's Kitchen do not succumb to the same fate.

Years later, Matt is living dual lives.  By day, he is the blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen who partners with his best friend Franklin "Foggy" Nelson (Jon Favreau) to protect the innocent from the unjust nature of the justice system.  By night, he is the vigilante known as "Daredevil" who cleans up the streets of Hell's Kitchen by serving justice to those criminals who have managed to sidestep the justice system.  He's on a larger mission to take down a crime boss known as the Kingpin / Wilson Fisk (Michael Clarke Duncan).  Aware of this, Fisk hires a mercenary named Bullseye (Colin Farrell), a man who never misses, to take down Daredevil.  Meanwhile, Matt meets a woman by the name of Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner), the daughter of wealthy businessman Nikolas Natchios (Erick Avari).

For better or worse, Daredevil was made, and we've lived with the consequences for more than a decade now.  While most of the blame for the failure that this movie turned out to be is placed squarely on the shoulders of actor Ben Affleck, I'm of a different mindset.  Daredevil failed because it lacks originality.  Instead of trying to offer moviegoers a poor man's Batman and going through the typical motions of a superhero movie, director Mark Steven Johnson should have done something outside the box.  From the painfully awkward father-son scenes in the film's opening to the cheesy graphics of Murdock's radar-like hearing and the cartoonish villainy of Bullseye, Daredevil is a tough-to-watch film that harkens back to the unsuccessful superhero movies of the 90s.

We get a mixed bag of performances from the cast.  Murdock may be a man without fear, but Affleck gives us a man without hope.  As the Daredevil, Affleck lacks the darkness to make his interpretation of the hero imposing or menacing in any way.  Moreover, his interpretation of the character lacks an edge.  For her part as his romantic interest Elektra Natchios, the future Mrs. Affleck Jennifer Garner has decent romantic chemistry with her co-star but not much else.  She gives Elektra no other dimensions beyond this romance.  She's just a tough-talking rich girl that spends the bulk of the movie flirting and fighting with Affleck’s Murdock.  As the villain Bullseye, Colin Farrell misses just about every mark.  Like many failed supervillains before him, his slippery interpretation of the character is entirely two cartoonish.  I do have to give his on-screen employer Michael Clarke Duncan credit, however, for offering up a smooth interpretation of the Kingpin / Wilson Fisk with style.  He has a commanding and imposing presence befitting the character though he doesn't get the chance to shine.  Lastly, Jon Favreau fails to deliver any laughs as Murdock's legal partner Foggy Nelson.  He's no Happy Hogan yet.

Daredevil was certainly a bad comic book movie but far from the worst.  It's tough to watch but I don't hold it in the same regard as disasters like Superman IV: Quest for Peace, Batman & Robin, or Catwoman.  Unlike all the other comics characters I've mentioned, Daredevil never got another chance to shine on the big screen after this first film.  The Daredevil will be returning on the small screen in the not too distant future as part of a Netflix series from Marvel leading into The Defenders series.  Hopefully, they don't make the same mistakes this time around.  Daredevil gets a 0.09% rating.  Have some Long Island Iced Teas with this one.