First blindness, now the critical onslaught. Two brutal reviews just in today’s Slate. From David Edelstein: “The new Marvel Comics superhero adaptation, Daredevil (20th Century Fox), has been getting such an across-the-board critical drubbing that I feel rather daring saying it’s not that terrible, it’s just kind of lousy, and it sends you out feeling dour and mean.” And Emily Nussbaum is just plain mean.
The amusing thing is all the complaints that this movie is a Batman ripoff. Umm. Not exactly. Daredevil the comic book is a rip-off of Batman the comic book. Batman, who debuted in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), was a brooding, no-superpower superhero who trained himself to battle crime after watching the slaying of his parents. Daredevil debuted in Daredevil #1 (April 1964) as a brooding, limited-power superhero who trained himself to battle crime after, er, hearing his father get killed. The twist was that Daredevil was blind and had the now-ubiquitous “enhanced other senses to compensate” plus some cool radar sense.
I don’t think anyone who likes comic books really likes movie adaptions, as they invariably make major changes to make the concept work on the big screen. Whether it was Christopher Reeves’ Superman in 1977, the strange Michael Keaton Batman of 1989, or the more recent X-Man and Spider-Man adoptions, the movies are more or less entertaining on their own but they’re not particularly faithful adaptations. So, the fact that the movie Daredevil appears to be a rip-off of the movie Batman is, in one sense, a relief: they got it right!