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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Daredevil is a 2003 movie in which Ben Affleck plays the Marvel Comics superhero. This movie is more somber and much more violent than Spider-Man, including many deaths. The action violence is frequent and unrelenting, including two protagonists who witness the murder of their parents. In a rape trial, the man accused claims that the woman enjoyed it while she breaks down crying as her lawyers look at photographs of her beaten and bruised after the incident. After returning from fighting villains, Daredevil is shown taking different kinds of prescription painkillers. There are sexual references and non-explicit sexual situations; brief nudity, a female breast. A man on trial talks of being high on marijuana at the time the incident in question occurred. Devout Catholics might have a problem with an extended fight scene taking place inside a cathedral. Cigarette and cigar smoking occurs. Occasional profanity includes "f--k," "a--hole," and "d--k," and "s--t" and its UK variation, "s--te."
- Parents say
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What's the story?
Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is a lawyer whose father, a boxer, was killed for refusing to take a dive in a fixed fight. Matt, blind from an accident that also left him with his other senses super-enhanced, vows to become a righter of wrongs and a force for justice. Crime boss Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan), who wants Daredevil out of his way, hires Irish assassin Bullseye (Colin Farrell) to do the job. Jennifer Garner plays Elektra, who is also on Kingpin's bad side.
Is it any good?
DAREDEVIL may be another Marvel comic superhero movie rated PG-13, but it's a much darker story than Spider-Man. Parents whose 8- and 9- or even 13-year-olds loved that movie should think carefully before agreeing to let them see this one. The fights are very good, but it's clear that's where most of the creative energy went in this movie. Affleck doesn't act very much, and if he did, most of it would be hidden by Murdock's sunglasses and Daredevil's mask.
Garner brings energy and freshness to her role, and Farrell is, as usual, the most watchable part of the movie. There are some fun in-jokes, including appearances from Marvel's Stan Lee and onetime Daredevil writer Kevin (Chasing Amy and Dogma) Smith. But the script is flat, mostly just space between fights. Sometimes loud noises incapacitate Daredevil, sometimes they don't. He's badly injured, and then he isn't. These are continuity errors that are evidence either of laziness or, more likely, some re-cutting after early screenings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why we don't take the law into our own hands. How do you become a killer without being one of the bad guys? Why, when most superheroes have fantasy special powers, is a character who is disabled so appealing?
How does this movie compare with other superhero titles?
What would be the challenges in adapting a comic book series to the silver screen?
- In theaters: February 14, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: July 29, 2003
- Cast: Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner
- Director: Mark Steven Johnson
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: action/violence and some sensuality
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.