The new Daredevil movie – Dos and Don’ts

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!

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

13 comments

  1. That’s a perfect list. They really do need to do their homework on this, but there is no reason a good DD movie can’t be made. I’d go so far as to say that the character has a lot of film potential, as much as well mined characters like Batman (potential that in Daredevil’s case has not been realized, making a reboot something I’ve been rooting for).

    I’ve read through some comments from comic fans online, and it has been mostly positive of course (I’m partial to the idea of Michael C Hall [of Dexter] playing an established Daredevil), but there are always the cynics. One said that there is no demand for another DD movie like there is for more Spider-Man so it shouldn’t be made, but that only speaks to the failure of the first DD film in capturing peoples imaginations, not a defect in the concept. And given the richness of the character, he deserves that second chance. Look at Iron Man. You can’t say there was a demand for an Iron Man film prior to its release. I bet most movie goers had never even heard of him until then, but it was a smartly crafted film, with great casting, was embraced by fans of the comic, and became a huge hit. Iron Man 2 is coming this summer and there is tonnes of hype. Who doesn’t know him now? I’m not saying this will happen with Daredevil, cause it’s far too early and we just don’t know yet, but it certainly could and that alone is reason enough to try again.

  2. Good points. Crossing fingers for them writing a solid script which has actually something to do with ole hornhead’s story.

    And a good casting would be getting a good part of the movie right, not to mention getting the right Fogster: I have proposed Tyler Labine to be the new Foggy Nelson, and I mean it very seriously, I honestly think he’d be just about perfect in the part.

    And PLEASE, whoever plays Ben Urich, it should be FORBIDDEN to depict him again with earring, the “gafapasta” glasses, and a cap with the visor backwards

  3. Great post. I’m totally with you about Elektra – been there, done that, let’s move on – and not being afraid to ditch as much CGI as possible – Daredevil should be about getting down and dirty.

    As for who should play DD… Like you, I didn’t mind Ben Affleck too much. He was a fanboy like me and who could blame him for wanting to play Matt? Michael C Hall’s an interesting choice though a little too beefcake, perhaps? Personally, to keep the whole redhead thing going, how about fab British actor, Damian Lewis? Admittedly he’s pushing 40, so if we’re waiting 3-4 years for a new movie, perhaps he’d be too old. But he’s a good actor. And, importantly, a genuine redhead!

    I’m with Gloria about Ben Urich, too!

  4. No, Daredevil isn’t Spider-Man but a, “good enough for a Daredevil movie” attitude among the executives isn’t going to fly with me ether. I don’t know how I feel about a new DD movie. It wasn’t that the other one was bad, (It had some good parts … and some very bad ones as well) but I would rather see them just not make another one so Fox/Regency can suck as much money out of the property as possible before they loose the rights.
    It was very far off character, in the first one (and I nearly puked), when he let that rapist get aced on the subway tracks. I don’t mind going dark, but I think that that should have a very specific meaning in a DD movie. Killing is fine, but not DD, not on purpose. It goes with respecting the canon.
    I agree with the low-tech approach, there are a lot of stunt folks out there who can do some amazing, acrobatic and martial-arty things. With just little CGI for flavor I think they can get the right tone.
    I also agree the “Devil” is in the details. Assistive-tech is a must, as is Stick.

  5. Speaking of stunt work, I think when these guys are doing their homework for the movie that they should look at parkour artists for inspiration on how to depict daredevil’s ability to traverse through the city.

  6. Very nice list. I agree with ya. I loved the first movie (well, the director’s cut at least) but that was before you got me into Daredevil proper. So you might say you ruined the first movie for me! Haha. But seriously, if they do this right I have no problem with it. If they make it a cash cow, I’ll be pissed.

  7. I agree with you here. I don’t want to see another origin story. They could do like what was done for “The Incredible Hulk” reboot movie and show the origin in the opening credits. That would be awesome. It would leave the rest of the movie for the fun stuff.

  8. Ooh – this is the first I’ve heard of a new movie! Yay!

    I’m hoping that they can expand on what they had in the director’s cut. Affleck was decent Matt and I think he could do just as well with a better script. (And I really like Robert’s suggestion of Damien Lewis…never thought of that one!)

    I, personally, would like more about Matt Murdock the lawyer – but not Matt Murdock throwing himself another pity-party. I thought the script made Matt too guilt-ridden and had him doing things out of character as DD. They could easily pick one of the comic arcs (i can haz Bendis?) and run with it – maybe with the Black Widow rather than Elektra again. But I have this hunch that they’re going to want to put Ben and Jen together again.

  9. I’d really like to see a Gladiator/Owl story arc. Gladiator would give us the opportunity to see Matt in his role as a lawyer while he struggles to make both lives mesh. The Owl could act as the Kingpin did in the last one, manipulating the events from afar. I’d also love to see Karen Page, but it’s tough to go from Elektra to Page from a movie standpoint. Black Widow is off the table though since she’ll be in the Iron Man series and that’s a different company. Maybe a Dakota North/Page hybrid story where Foggy is in the mix too?

  10. Zach, I’m not for reviving the Matt-Foggy-Karen false triangle, but adding Dakota is a fine idea: In fact, I’d love a cast of characters including the Bendis/Brubaker ensemble: Matt, Foggy, Becky, Dakota, Natasha, Danny, Luke, Jessica, Angela and Carlos, all involved in a strong story effectively mixing noir and legalese.

    The trouble with the Matt-Foggy-Karen thing, for me, would be that we’d be back to Pre-Miller DD, and honest, I’d rather do DD Milleresque, keselesque, Bendisesque or Brubakeresque rather than unearthing the Old Stan Lee style.

  11. Excellent summary, lets hope most of your suggestions come true, propably not though. I do think they will try a relative unknown, they must have realised the mistake they made picking Ben Affleck. Why not some really good, up and coming english actor, why not one of the Skarsgård boys ( not Stellan obviously). Very nice looking Blog/Site, I have linked to it in my blogpost for this week. Friendly Yours Kåge

  12. Thanks for all the feedback guys! I think (and hope) that Fox may have learned from past mistakes. We may not get that perfect movie everyone will absolutely love – not to mention that what would be the perfect movie varies from one person to the next – but I think they may think this process through a little better this time. I saw someone on a different blog comment that the movie-makers only care about the money and not the quality, but last time I checked making a good movie is much more profitable than making a bad movie. On some level, I hope that the producers know that the heat is really on this time.

    Also, a very special welcome to Kåge who, for those who didn’t know it, is my “dealer.” 😉 If you’re ever in Stockholm and looking for comics, check out Comics Heaven in Old Town. Though it goes without saying that if any of you guys are ever in Stockholm, you need to look me up too.

  13. I’m just going to throw this out there- if you have seen “free-runners” or people that practice parkour, this is how Daredevil would move through the city in real life.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour

    That is the beauty of the Daredevil character. Like Nolan’s Batman, the more he is like us, the bigger his appeal really is. I appreciated that they tried to show the blindness aspect in the movie with how he organized his money, but then he goes and jumps off a building.

    Um, no. Spiderman can do that. Daredevil can’t. That is what makes him impressive. That he can keep up with Spiderman somehow, through the fact that he basically has memorized the placement of everything in New York.

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