Movies and TV
Daredevil Vs. Daredevil: Who Is The Best Man Without Fear?

Marshall Lemon | 16 Apr 2015 16:00
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Netflix released the first of its live-action superhero series last week, and it's all about the Man Without Fear: Daredevil. But when most people think of a cinematic Daredevil, they imagine the 2003 Ben Affleck film from Fox - largely considered one of the most disappointing superhero films of all time. That means Netflix's Daredevil not only has to stand on its own two feet, but must surpass the expectations of audiences that disliked the original - no easy feat on the internet.

Here's the thing - a lot of the rage over Affleck's Daredevil seems incredibly unfair. Daredevil wasn't nearly as bad a film as we remember - just an unfortunate casualty of an edited theatrical cut during a time when Hollywood was still coming to grips with superheroes.

But it does raise a question - how exactly do Daredevil and Daredevil compare with each other? Let's break it down and see how each version's characters holds up:


Daredevil (Ben Affleck) Vs. Daredevil (Charlie Cox)

Any Daredevil production faces an interesting challenge - it has to portray Daredevil and Matt Murdock. Murdock is a blind lawyer specifically known for taking hard-luck cases - meaning he's compassionate and has a strong sense of justice. Daredevil is the other side of that coin - violent, aggressive, and terrifying to anyone who cheats the system. It's crucial that any actor portraying Daredevil embody both sides of this character.

That's why it's strange when Ben Affleck gets so much hate for this performance - he actually pulls off the dynamic quite well. His Daredevil is certainly a character with personal baggage, but does have a human side once his mask is off. That's not to say Cox is emotionless, but he is a little more distant as Murdock - as though he can never quite turn off being Daredevil during business hours. Nothing wrong with that approach, but it is an interesting choice.

It's also worth mentioning that, despite having a longer runtime, the Netflix series doesn't spend much time on Daredevil's "origin." The chemical accident that generated his powers is almost an afterthought - instead flashbacks introduce other aspects of Murdock's past to explain how he became the vigilante we know. It's a far more organic process than the film, which like most superhero movies of the day had to dedicate a solid chunk of runtime to a mandatory origin story. Outside of the actors themselves, each story also treats Daredevil's origin story in different ways. (And from a purist perspective, having Murdock push someone from the path of a moving vehicle once again was a nice touch.)

The Winner: Strangely, there are two winners here - Ben Affleck has an edge as Murdock/Daredevil, but the Netflix version's world-building gives us more sympathy for Charlie Cox. Where you lean might be a personal preference, but Affleck is not easily dismissed here.

But what about Daredevil's archnemesis, the Kingpin? Read on to find out!

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