Review: Elektra

Following in the footsteps of Ben Affleck and proudly wearing a fashion statement "that brings out the bitch in everyone," Jennifer Garner steps into her own Marvel Comics vehicle with Elektra, an epic saga of a super-assassin caught between an ages-long battle of Good vs. Evil. While Jennifer looked great in her "Elektra Red," I found myself missing Ben decked out in his Darewear.

My wife, Natalie, thinks I'm an idiot.

My Rating: 3 out of 5
My Wife's Rating: 4.5 out of 5

For those of you who missed Daredevil, blind-lawyer Matt Murdock doubles as the vigilante-crime fighter Daredevil. Sadly, ol' Ben and his biker bar leather outfit are incriminated in the death of a Greek tycoon. You think that would be tough to deal with, but it gets worse as the tycoon's daughter sets out on a vendetta of her own.

The daughter's name is Elektra and she is out to open a can of whomp-ass on Daredevil. Only after she opens said can does she find out that it was Bullseye, not Daredevil, responsible for dear old dad's death; and that the guy she's dating is Daredevil. Think this can't get any worse? It does. She dies.

And this is where we join Jennifer Garner (without Ben, Colin, or anyone else from Daredevil?) in Elektra, the latest comic book-to-big screen offering from Stan Lee and Marvel Comics.

It's a few years after her "date with a Daredevil gone bad." Between the death of her father, the revelation of Daredevil's identity, reoccurring nightmares about her mother's death, being kicked out of her hideaway dojo -- oh yeah, and her dying -- Elektra's trying to keep her wits together. She's developed severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but it turns out that a little OCD goes a long way to hone the skills of an assassin. Complete with revealing red outfit and razor-sharp sais, Elektra's become the best assassin in the business, especially if you want a high body count. Seems that Big E has been pouring all her frustrations into the job, and lately she's been VERY frustrated. Even her agent, McCabe, thinks a vacation is in order -- after she takes one more gig. Elektra is asked to stay at this luxurious lakefront estate in the middle of nowhere and await further instructions. While waiting for word on her assignment, she is befriended by a rebellious thirteen year old and her single dad--and these two wind up to be her next hit.

Safe to say, it's not easy being an ultra-hot super-assassin.

Now with my opening comments, you might think I wasn't impressed with Jennifer Garner's scarlet silk look. On the contrary?yuuuuuumiiiieeeeeee!!! She was very easy on the eyes and very much up to par on the Marvel creation. However, when it comes to Elektra the film, it tends to fall short of its big brother, Daredevil.

Daredevil's story was pretty easy to follow. The creation of a hero who was also having a tough time finding the line between good, evil, and his place in between them. I genuinely enjoyed the film, provided I dealt with the too-over-the-top performance from Colin Farrell as Bullseye. Elektra, on the other hand, had a script that suffered on two fronts: lack of direction and predictability. The opening segment starts off very promising with Elektra on assignment, but after that we spend a good portion of the film wandering through Elektra's bouts of OCD and depression, and waiting for Elektra's next assignment. At one point, Elektra tells McCabe (in so many words) Find out what I'm waiting for. Otherwise, I'm going to bail. My thoughts exactly.

Fortunately, the action kicks in the minute her assignment arrives. Unfortunately, the predictability kicks in as well. I went from asking ?Where are we going with this?? to ?What do you mean ?We're not there yet.'?? Another disappointing aspect was the filming behind its fight scenes: all in close-up, all with strobe effects, all with faster playback. What is the point of choreographing beautiful fights when you can't see them clearly? When I was done with Elektra, the final shot being one reminiscent of the first Spider-Man film, I was surprised at the amount of hang-up's I had with the film, and even more surprised by the fact that Daredevil was a better ride for me.

Garner's solo adventure, to its credit, is no Hulk. There were some fine performances turned in by the cast, a particular favorite of mine being Stick, Elektra's mentor and master in martial arts, played by Terence Stamp. Kinda cool when you think it was a comic book film that made him a hit. ("No matter if it takes an eternity?YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME! BOTH YOU, AND THEN ONE DAY, YOUR HEIRS!!!?" Terence Stamp as General Zod from 1978's Superman) The acting and the direction (for the most part) were quite good. If there were a second Elektra, I would go. Hey, where the film lacked, I got Jennifer Garner in red silk, performing martial arts, and kicking ass with sais. Bonus!

Now, you might notice that my wife chimed in on this one. She loved Elektra, claiming the reason why I lost a lot of the subtext in the movie that she caught had something to do with my anatomy. Nat also claims that while I found Elektra painfully predicatible, she found Daredevil painfully predictable. In a situation like this, the best thing for me to do is to nod, smile, and say ?Yes, dear... However, Nat continued her pounding of my problems with Elektra by describing the film as ?Tim Burton's Batman for chicks.? She admired the way details concerning OCD and depression were addressed, making this super-assassin less super and a character she could understand, if not sympathize and relate with. This makes me wonder if Jennifer Garner is going to be this decade's chic chick hero the same way Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman was in the seventies.

I'm looking on the positive side of things in this divide between us over Elektra. If she becomes a big enough fan, maybe I could convince her to get one of those Elektra outfits to wear for me on those ?special occasions? here at the house?

Hmmm, my wife dressed as Elektra? yuuuuuumiiiieeeeeee!!!