As a Marvel movie fan, I know I'm not 'supposed' to do this.
After all, Ben Affleck is over in the DC Universe as Batman now (albeit controversially), and "Daredevil" was released in 2003 by Fox. The rights have reverted back to Marvel since Fox failed to produce another Daredevil flick before October of 2012.
And then there's Elektra, the 'not-true-to-the-comic-book-enough' 2005 movie. Fox made that one, too, only Marvel sadly does not have the rights back (yet).
And now I present my defenses:
- I saw both films for the first time recently, going in without the expectation of recent Marvel movies.
- I viewed the director's cuts.
Because Daredevil and Elektra are a couple, I enjoyed watching their stories unfold together. I appreciate how this was planned and how the characters met. Specifically, I tend to view superhero movies in particular through a feminist lens, but I really enjoyed what both movies accomplished, particularly concerning Elektra.
The journey of heroes
I'm disheartened that the Elektra movie in particular is overlooked so frequently. While I agree with the criticism that the film included a gallery of villains (denying each of them their depth), the climactic action was especially appropriate for the female hero's journey, with a special focus on its cyclic nature.
Too often we see the trope of 'single mom and her child' in which the male protagonist fills the missing role for them. Elektra fills that role - additionally, she is not simply a nurturer, but a protector.
As a viewer who had not read the comics, I was most skeptical of the films because of the costuming. However, learning about Daredevil's origins (and his reason for donning the outfit), I completely appreciate the deliberate costuming suggestion.
About the devil costume and the lingerie...
The outfit was actually a reason I hesitated seeing the Elektra film in the past. Judging from the advertising materials, it would seem as though Elektra constantly fights enemies in her skimpy red outfit, serving as simply eye candy for a male audience. Only after watching the film did I realize the true meaning behind it. She dons the outfit as a true means of empowerment, skill, and confidence.
These movies came out years ago, but I feel like Fox missed an opportunity to market these films to more specific audiences in addition to existing comic book fans. Elektra, for example, is a movie that every mother should want her daughter to see. Daredevil is a wonderful hero for kids without direction or boys who feel the absence of their fathers - and as an Irish American, it was pretty cool to see the journey of a superhero emerge from Hell's Kitchen. (Seriously, he could be the Boondock Saints' other brother.)
I appreciate Elektra having a child to mentor - one who doesn't just need a nurturing mother figure in her life (in fact, the dad's the one that usually cooks the dinner...), but someone more like an example or role model. That said, Abby's annoying. The fact that there are two female characters in this trope makes it no less annoying when it's a male role model and a smartass kid being overly annoying.
Abby's problems aren't makeup and boys - and that's good - but she was still pretty snotty.
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck both performed well in their roles. That said, the casting wasn't at the level that contemporary Marvel movie fans have come to expect. (Is RDJ actually Tony Stark? Yes. Flawless casting happens.) -- SPOILER BELOW CUT
Despite all of the female empowerment promoted by these films, Elektra is still (temporarily) fridged in the Daredevil movie to further his plot. I would excuse this if Elektra's movie had come first, but it didn't.
What did you think about these movies? Please leave your comments below.