Daredevil is a 2003 American superhero film written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Based on the Marvel Comics character Daredevil, the film stars Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer who fights for justice in the courtroom and on the streets of New York as the masked vigilante Daredevil. Jennifer Garner plays his love interest Elektra Natchios; Colin Farrell plays the merciless assassin Bullseye; David Keith plays Jack “The Devil” Murdock, a washed up fighter and Matt’s father; and Michael Clarke Duncan plays Wilson Fisk, also known as the crime lord Kingpin.
The film began development in 1997 at 20th Century Fox and Columbia Pictures, before New Regency acquired the rights in 2000. Johnson shot the film primarily in Downtown Los Angeles despite the Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan setting of the film and comics. Rhythm and Hues Studios were hired to handle the film’s CGI. Graeme Revell composed the Daredevil score, which was released on CD in March 2003, whereas the various artists’ soundtrack album, Daredevil: The Album, was released in February.
The film was released on February 14, 2003. It received generally mixed reviews from critics with many praising the action sequences, acting performances, its soundtrack, storyline and its visual style and stunts, while many negatively criticized Affleck’s performance and a lack of ambition. Despite its critical reaction, the film became the second-biggest February release to that time and grossed over $179 million against production budget of $78 million.
In 2004, an R-rated director’s cut of Daredevil was released, reincorporating approximately 30 minutes of the film, received significantly more acclaim from critics than the theatrical version. A sequel was planned, but because of Elektra‘s failure, it was canceled. A much more positively received television series of the same title but set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, by Netflix and Marvel Television, followed, premiering in 2015.