For many a Marvel fan, there’s really only one Devil of Hell’s Kitchen – Charlie Cox.
The British thesp was undoubtedly the beating heart of Netflix’s now-cancelled Daredevil series, and his heartfelt performances as Matt Murdock will be sorely missed. But he wasn’t the first to stalk the neon-lit streets of New York City as the Man Without Fear; before he was Batman, Ben Affleck also donned the red-tipped horns for Mark Steven Johnson’s ill-fated Daredevil movie.
It’s far from the genre’s finest, but it’s also not the worst superhero film in existence. In fact, even now, more than 15 years after its initial release, Johnson still takes pride in his costumed crusader.
“We tried some things, which I am proud of. I do like the look of Daredevil very much. We hadn’t seen a superhero come home covered in scars, and chewing on pain pills, and it was kind of grim. You’re not going to get that right now from a Disney-owned Marvel character. You’re just not going to see that, and maybe there’s a reason. But I found that very interesting. It was something you hadn’t seen.”
It’s easy to sweep the 2003 Daredevil movie under the rug in this golden again of superhero films – the MCU alone has set a whole new standard for Hollywood’s most profitable genre – but let’s not forget that Johnson’s flick spawned a spinoff of its own in Elektra. Neither was particularly stellar, but you can’t fault the director for standing by his adaptation after all these years.
As for the future of Daredevil… well, we’re not quite sure. There’ve been rumblings that either Hulu or FX will swoop in to revive Marvel’s canned TV series. But then again, would fans really take kindly to a watered-down version of the Man Without Fear? Time will tell.