As excited as I am to hear of the new Daredevil movie that’s in the works (though I’m not really expecting anything before 2013 or so), I can’t help feeling a little nervous about it. A movie is a big deal. It will be seen by millions of people who don’t read the comic. Because it is such a big deal, we’re naturally desperate for the movie makers to get it right, and treat the character and his universe with the respect they deserve. To get the conversation going, here’s my list of what I would tell the people whose job it is to bring the Man Without Fear back on the silver screen, if I had their ear.
Don’t be afraid to cast an unknown in the lead
I honestly don’t feel that Ben Affleck was horrible in the title role in the 2003 movie, but his performance was crippled by cheesy lines, an uneven script, and the fact that he really didn’t look the part. He was also a huge Hollywood star at the time, and you don’t ever want that to get in the way. Many interesting names are being tossed around on people’s personal lists of who they’d like to see play Matt Murdock, and while most of them have solid acting careers, no one seems to want to see any Hollywood A-listers in the lead. I wouldn’t mind a new face myself.
Do remember who your audience is
Daredevil is not Spider-Man. There’s nothing wrong with Spidey (ironically, Spider-Man 3 is on TV and playing in the background as I’m writing this), but kids are not going to rest their little heads on Daredevil pillow cases. While I don’t see a specific need to have Daredevil be an R-rated movie, it needs to be targeted to adults and older teens. It needs to feel free to break every superhero cliche in the book. I’d love to see Fox approach this as a tense, character-driven movie that just happens to be about a superhero, not as just another superhero movie.
Don’t be a slave to the comic
This may be a little controversial, but I don’t particularly need to see an adaptation of something we’ve already read in the comic, I just want a good Daredevil story that feels true to the character. One of the problems with the 2003 movie was that it was a jumble of elements and scenes taken straight out of canon, but assembled in a way that was new but not improved. Having said that…
Do know your canon
Maybe it sounds like I’m contradicting myself here, but a solid knowledge of canon is vital. Don’t fudge around with the characters, the origin or anything else that you don’t need to. Like I mentioned, I’d love something new, using established characters, but that requires that the writer and director know their stuff.
Don’t feel like you have to do the Elektra saga
I guess I sort of covered this already, but I’d go as far as to say that Elektra doesn’t need to be in a Daredevil movie at all, especially considering the Elektra movie that is already out there and how doing something too similar to the first movie would make it hard to sell it to audiences as something new and different.
Do try the low tech approach
One of the things that bothered me about the first movie was the excessive use of CGI. At the risk of repeating myself, Daredevil is not Spider-Man, and he shouldn’t move like Spider-Man. Keep it down to Earth, keep it physical, and use great stuntmen. Make it look real.
Don’t do an origin film (necessarily)
It seems that the first installment of any superhero movie franchise always needs to include the origin story. This makes sense, of course, but it eats up a lot of story time. I happened to love the scenes between Matt and his father in the original movie and would love to revisit that, but the events that created the hero don’t need to be told in a linear fashion at the beginning of the movie. It could be done through flashbacks or in some other way that breaks the traditional mold. I would like to see Stick mentioned in some way though.
Do your research
The details matter, and it seems a shame to spend millions of dollars on making a movie and not taking the time to check out the small matter of what lawyers do, and what they don’t (like prosecute cases). While you’re at it, spend an hour or two checking out blindness-related paraphernalia. Or, let me just save you some time: White canes? Yeah, they’re supposed to be long enough to touch the ground when the person using it is walking!
Don’t put something in your movie just because it “looks cool”
I think they’ve probably learned their lesson this time around, and I hope we won’t be seeing any flaming ‘D’s in the subway, sensory deprivation tanks or playground scenes. While I still find plenty to actually like about the Daredevil Director’s Cut, there’s no denying that both versions of the movie were flawed, and that Mark Steven Johnson would have been well-advised to kill his darlings, as the expression goes. Not every brilliant, or not-so-brilliant, idea needs to go in the movie. Keep it clean, and make every scene count and make sense, and we’ll be fine.
Well, that was my list of things that came to mind. What do you want to see and what can you do without? Let everyone know in the comments!