Movie Review: Daredevil (Steven Johnson, 2003)

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Movie: Daredevil

Production Companies: New Regency Enterprises, Marvel Enterprises, Horseshoe Bay Productions

Director: Mark Steven Johnson 

Producers: Arron Milchan, Gary Foster, Avi Arad

Scriptwriters: Mark Steven Johnson

Main Cast: Ben Affleck, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Joe Pantoliano

Release Date: February 14th 2003 (US)

Running Time: 103 minutes 

Certificate: 15


Now don’t we love Daredevil in the MCU? Well today I’m going to maybe ruin all the hard work put in by Netflix to rehabilitate the character by reviewing the 2003 film: Daredevil. Coming at a time when superhero movies were starting to break into the mainstream American cinema scene, Daredevil may have made a fair amount of money but it was certainly far from a critical success. Oh also arguably the most dated part of this film is the soundtrack. I mean Drowning Pool anyone? So without further ado here is my review of the film.


Daredevil follows Matt Murdock (Affleck), a man who was blinded after accidentally running into a ludicrous amount of toxic waste, as he attempts to administer his brand of justice in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Now this justice obviously takes two forms for those who know the character. The first is through his day job as a lawyer and the second is his night time vigilante activities as The Man Without Fear: Daredevil. On his crusade to clean up Hell’s Kitchen, Matt runs into an old acquaintance, Elektra Natchios (Garner), as well as classic Daredevil foes Kingpin (Clarke Duncan) and Bullseye (Farrell).

Now you might wonder what Kingpin is after and I couldn’t really tell you either mainly because he very much fulfills the criteria of a terrible one film Marvel villain. Oh also the fact you could tell they had planned a sequel from how Bullseye is portrayed in the ending so probs best for everyone that the sequel wasn’t made. So without further ado, let’s get into the analysis portion of the review now….


Ben Affleck’s Performance in Daredevil

To begin my analysis of Daredevil, I’m going to discuss the elephant in the room: Ben Affleck’s performance as the Man Without Fear. And yes he’s nowhere near as good as Charlie Cox. Also if there was an award for the most mediocre performances in a single year, Ben Affleck’s 2003 would probably take it. I mean Gigli, Pearl Harbor and Daredevil in one year? But I digress, Affleck’s performance is at best mediocre and at worst kind of questionable.

Take the scene where he notices Elektra for the first time. Here he decides to use his blindness to try and win her over. Now that’s pretty questionable however that’s nothing compared to what he does next. And what is that? Well he stalks her and attempts to grab hold of her. One, you’d think a lawyer knows the law. And two that’s definitely not a questionable thing to do to a woman who turned you down outright. But overall, the performance is just mediocre at best….

Special Effects in Daredevil 

Continuing my analysis of Daredevil, I’m going to discuss the film’s special effects. Now for a film that cost $78 million some of the special effects are pretty rubbish. So what are some examples of these bad special effects? Well, take the visuals used when Matt as a child first realises he is blind. The weird hospital light like effect might be a good idea in practice but really it looks pretty rubbish.

Oh and also the constant sound of rushing water in the background definitely doesn’t help. And don’t worry the bad special effects don’t end there as we see from whenever Daredevil is scanning the city for crimes. Again we see the camera blur across the screen while we hear rushing water sounds echo in the background. This is just nauseating to listen to and also it’s pretty rubbish when compared to the time and effort put into Netflix’s Daredevil. 

Universe Building in Daredevil 

Concluding my analysis of Daredevil, I’m going to discuss the universe building that takes place in the film. Now given Marvel’s love of universe building with the MCU it’s not surprising that there was evidence of future universe building within the film. Where is this seen? Well, take Bullseye’s appearance towards the end of the film. Despite doing a robo cop after flying out of a window, the next scene shows he hasn’t lost his perfect aim. And it definitely doesn’t imply they had a sequel planned with Bullseye returning.

Oh and if one potential spin off wasn’t enough then how about a character who got their own spinoff film: Elektra? A film so good that reviewers have agreed that it was in fact….. a film. So while I can commend the film for its bold attempts to build a universe, I’ll end this analysis by mentioning that this has the pretensions of the future MCU but the execution of the future DCEU.


To summarise Daredevil, this is a below average attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of superhero films in the early 2000s. Though it is almost worth a watch for some of the hilariously bad performances but even then that’s incredibly reaching for a reason….

Overall Rating: 5/10 – Average

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Mild Sex and Nudity, Moderate Violence and Gore, Mild Profanity, Mild Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking, Moderate Frightening and Intense Scenes 

Recommendation: No