In 2003, following the first boom in comic book based movies, a film titled Daredevil graced us with its presence on the big screen, starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Jon Favreau in the roles of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Elektra Natchios, Bullseye, Wilson “The Kingpin” Fisk, and Franklin “Foggy” Nelson. Based off the successful character of the same name, created by comic legend Stan Lee, Daredevil would mark the directorial debut of Mark Steven Johnson. With an A list cast, an eager director, and loads of fantastic source material to base off of, it seemed Daredevil would go in the right direction; it did not.
Barely making an impact with critics and audiences alike, Daredevil would flop at the US box office. Yet the film remained a small time hit due to reasonably better attendance numbers overseas, which allowed it to make a big enough profit for Fox Studios, who still own the rights to the Daredevil character and others involved with it. Daredevil would still remain a movie that would achieve mild success at best, but I am thankful for the movie for providing me, as a young comic fan, an introduction to the character and its many exciting stories. After years spent reading about the character, I have been eager to see it get another shot at a major blockbuster film. Some characters are just too silly for the big screen; some just got off to a bad start and can, for lack of a more awesome term, be born again.
Daredevil has gone through many incarnations in his 48 year run in comics, like Stan Lee’s original, more eccentric take on the character, or the hugely successful darkening of the man without fear done by Frank Miller in the 1980’s. Many have taken their shot at creating their version of ol’ horn head, including industry favorites such as Joe Quesada, Brian Michael Bendis, and most recently Mark Waid. Each of these writers portrayals showed not only that the character could juggle both being taken seriously and being fun, but could have great story potential for a movie in the right hands.
When it comes to casting Daredevil, I see no one that could fit better in the role than Patrick Wilson. Wilson hit big with his portrayal of Night Owl in the 2009 adaption of Alan Moore’s groundbreaking graphic novel Watchmen. I believe that Wilson has the right look and attitude to pull off the blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen without really even trying, which is half the battle. He has also proven in Watchmen that he can pull off the man behind the mask required for most superheroes, while proving in his many other movies that he can pull off both drama and dry comedy rather well. I believe given the right script and director guidance, Patrick Wilson could bring Daredevil to heights yet unseen on the big screen. Wilson is a rather cult favorite choice for other superhero roles, such as Ant-Man (Hank Pym) and Plastic man, but I feel like this role would provide both a better challenge and a better story for him to work with.
Helming the film seems, to me, the biggest challenge. The director should know how to present a reasonable amount of well placed drama and humor, which most will rightfully claim the original attempt lacked. Though going with a relatively unknown director would be just as much of a gamble as it was the first time, I think one man has the talent to direct one hell of a Daredevil flick, independent horror/suspense director Paul Hough (a find credited to Ken Murray). His short film, titled The Angel (which you can view below), is a brilliantly told story chalked full of action confined into a mere seven minutes. Hough handles a serious and dark surrounding that would certainly help if he was chosen to bring Marvel Comic’s crazy take on streets of Hell’s Kitchen New York to the big screen. What I am sure will grab other fans attention is the action; seeing Hough work so well with crazy stunts with such a small budget only seems to foreshadow goods signs if he were to ever get the gig. Though Hough certainly isn’t all to credit. The one legged man you see kicking a ridiculous amount of ass is Eddie McGee, who has worked with Paul on his upcoming flick The Human Race, which is said to be doing the rounds at film festivals currently, as well as featuring in a music video by WWE superstar Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy.
Having dropped a disgustingly cheesy pun based off the title of this specific story arc, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I believe Frank Miller’s legendary Born Again story arc should feature as the basis for the movie. Having only read the story for the first time fairly recently, it served as further proof that Daredevil is worthy of one more shot at big screen glory, but also was the direct reason I have taken the time to write this in the first place, an inspiration to spread my views. Circling around Matt Murdock’s former secretary/lover, Karen Page, whose life has spiraled down into a drug addiction and a career as an adult film star living in poverty in Mexico City, whose need for a drug fix provokes her into selling Matt’s secret identity as Daredevil; which, in turn, is sold to the Kingpin of New York City’s organized crime, and Daredevil’s arch nemesis, Wilson Fisk, who proceeds to destroy the once successful Matt Murdock’s life. After forcing Matt out of a job, a home, and even his mental security, Daredevil is forced into a life of despair. But Matt Murdock, ever the fighter, shows he can rise from the ashes of his burnt out self. It can serve as a deep, twisted, dark, and even uplifting tail worthy of its fair shot on screen. it has potential to not only be a superb superhero movie, but a superb movie in general.