It was recently announced that Fox was returning the film rights to the character of Daredevil back to Marvel, thus ending any continuation of the film series that started off badly with the Ben Affleck-helmed 2003 film and only got worse with Elektra. The move puts the final nail in the coffin for the rumored Joe Carnahan (A-Team)-directed attempt at a reboot, which is just as well since Carnahan is also allegedly attached to a film adaptation of Gath Ennis's Preacher, something much more his style.
So now Marvel has back both one of its best and most difficult properties, and there is little to no chance that they're going to let it go to waste. With Spider-Man still in the hands of Sony Pictures and the Fantastic Four set to reboot with Fox, Daredevil is Marvel Studio's best bet to really explore crimefighting on the streets of New York City, something that is conspicuously absent in the six films the studio has so far released since it's so instrumental a part of the Marvel comic mythos.
The question is, "What on Earth do you do with Daredevil in film?"
The basic original story has already been tried and failed, and with each new entry from Marvel Studios, doing origins seems more and more drawn out and pointless. We don't need to see half a movie of superheroes not being super. We need to see more of things like Hulk smashing Loki or Thor trying to get into Natalie Portman's pants. You know, stuff we can fantasize about. No one fantasizes about being normal.
Here's the best of DD in the comics that we hope Marvel will draw on for the next time we see the Man Without Fear on the screen.
4. The Current Mark Waid Series
I've covered the new series a couple of times in the monthly comic round-up, and it's one of those books that it took me awhile to realize is one of the best things in comics going on right now. The thing that makes it brilliant is the fact that Matt Murdoch, disbarred genius attorney now secretly working cases no one else will take, is Daredevil is an open tabloid secret.
Whenever he shows up in costume, everyone just kind of politely pretends not to notice so that he can still technically operate outside the law and get things done. Which is exactly what you'd want in a vigilante. This aspect of the storyline would allow the movie to play out like an action mystery as Murdoch proceeds like a John Grisham character with superpowers. Picture A Few Good Men with backflips and roundhouse kicks and you'd see where I'm going.
3. Guardian Devil
Kevin Smith wrote one of the best Daredevil arcs ever with Guardian Devil. In it, a dying, second-rate Spider-Man villain named Mysterio decides to go out with a bang and begins using his illusion powers to drive Murdoch crazy using a complicated scheme involving convincing him his pornstar ex-girlfriend has HIV and that a child left on his doorstep is the Antichrist. Though obviously the film would have to be toned way down to fit in with the much lighter Marvel film universe, the storyline's deep, visceral attack on one man's sanity and integrity is a hard-hitting examination of the constant crises of conscience that all the heroes must go through at some point. It could also be used to introduce many of the magical Marvel characters like Doctor Strange and the demon Mephisto.
2. Typhoid Mary
Daredevil's problem is that with the exception of Bullseye and Kingpin, who he shares with Spider-Man, he has a pretty crappy rogue's gallery. There just aren't many good Daredevil villains. An exception is the psychotic psionic Typhoid Mary. She was a young prostitute that Murdoch accidentally sent out of a window when she and the other brothel workers attacked him during an encounter with another villain. From there she became a telekinetic and massively unhinged villainess.
Her story is a sad and very cinematic one in which she spends her days dating the lawyer Matt Murdoch and her nights as an assassin for Kingpin. Her battle with three personalities is both heartbreaking and easy fodder for film, especially with the guilt factor of being created by Daredevil himself.
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1. Born Again
The time has never been better for Frank Miller's best Marvel work to get a film. Much like the later Smith story, Kingpin is out to ruin Daredevil's life slowly and methodically by crippling his law firm and all of his personal relationships as a payback for the years of trouble Daredevil has given his crime dealings. Murdoch thinks he is just the victim of bad luck, but a clue in the Kingpin's coup de grace makes him realize who is behind the campaign, and he suits up for battle once again.
This is either the perfect second-act story for a new series or, hell, just jump right into it. People saw the 2003 film. They know who Kingpin is. Murdoch spends much of the story out of costume, something that comic book movies absolutely love for some reason, and the Avengers all make a cameo near the end to help DD capture a nuclear-powered villain whose existence is tied to Kingpin and brings down his reputation as a honest businessman forever.
The book is an examination of the life of an underpowered hero in a world of gods and super soldiers, and what it means to fight on anyway. It would be a perfect opportunity to put the audience in the place of such an impossible universe and still make us feel like we could go toe to toe with the best.