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"...it's Elektra-fying...ly awful."










The Masked Reviewer

It's hard to imagine that a movie could spin-off from something that involved Ben Affleck.  But, the best two things about Daredevil were Jennifer Garner and Colin Farrell.  Now the former reprises her role as the titular Elektra, based on the Marvel super heroine. 

As well read as the Masked Reviewer is (especially in terms of comic books), the character of Elektra is a bit obscure for a feature film.  Sure, Frank Miller did a revitalization of the character in a graphic novel a while back, but the Masked Reviewer hasn't gotten around to reading it yet.  So, what do we have?  A third-tier character played by an actress who is currently a hot commodity.

The Masked Reviewer also hasn't gotten around to seeing Jennifer Garner's hit show, "Alias".  You may ask yourself "what the hell are you doing, Masked Reviewer?  You don't know the source material, you don't know the star's TV show, what good are you?"  Well, back off.  The Masked Reviewer has feelings too, you know.

Essentially, the word on the street is that her character in "Alias" is very similar to her character in Elektra.  She's tough, brooding, vengeful, but compassionate.  A woman of few words.  Very few words.  It seems unlikely that Jennifer Garner had more than three minutes of dialogue in the whole movie.  There were a lot of shots of her reacting to things without words; her reactions included frowning, pouting, wide-eyed expressions of shock, and a number of other facial expressions.

Let's get this out there, though...she does look good.  While her outfits weren't skimpy enough to make it worth the ticket price alone, the people who enjoy gazing at her will have plenty of opportunities in this movie. 

Do you like flashbacks?  If so, this movie will be right up your alley.  The filmmakers use repeated flashbacks to set up Elektra's back story.  It's not too much of a spoiler to let you know that her mother died...this information was in Daredevil, but that movie was forgettable enough that you may have blocked it all out.  The flashbacks to the scene of her mother's death happen regularly...it seems like every ten minutes or so.  There are also flashforwards.  See, Elektra has a number of magical powers.  If you're one of the people who thought she was just a normal woman who liked kicking butt, you might be confused by what she can and can't do.  Usually in a superhero movie, they dedicate some time giving back story.  Elektra is confusing at times, because a lot of the movie is spent on the same three flashbacks.  However, we never get a sense of who she is or why she does what she does or how she can do what she can do.  There's magic, there's martial arts, and there's some big sinister plot going on, but it's never clearly stated.

There are a number of other people in the film, like Goran Visnijic ("E.R."), but no one really stands out.  Terrence Stamp (who you may remember as General Zod in Superman 2) plays Stick, the blind martial arts master.  Presumably he's called Stick because he likes to play pool.  For a blind man, he's good.  How is he able to shoot pool amongst other things?  Well, why get bogged down in little details? 

Young actress Kirsten Prout is a co-star, of sorts.  She's good, but the writing is not. 

Weak screenplays can be forgiven if the visuals or action are good enough.  While there are some effects that aren't bad (some fairly realistic looking computer-generated animals), the effects are at times unnecessary.  In one scene, Elektra does battle with a bunch of sheets that are flying through the air.  It's like a dry-cleaner's worst nightmare!  You can't understand why this is in the movie, it isn't interesting, and it isn't explained. 

Most of the fight scenes suffer from too many quick cuts and close-ups.  How is it that there are still filmmakers working today who don't understand that the appeal of the cool fight scene is to be able to see what's going on?!  A hand...a face...a foot...some random body part...another face...each flashes on the screen for a second, accompanied by a lot of fighting sound effects.  Who cares?  Why not just have some say "I just got back from defeating an evil opponent"? 

You know, Elektra wears a necklace with her name on it.  The necklace used to be her mother's.  Why would her mother wear a necklace with her daughter's name on it?  Does anyone do that?  Wouldn't that be confusing?  Presumably she was an only child, otherwise how would the other kids have reacted?  It's just one of the many mysteries in this movie. 

At times, it's Elektra-fying...ly awful.  It's got a lot of the Batman vibe to it, but nothing is explained adequately.  Nothing interesting visually happens.  The fights aren't great.  The characters are nothing and the story is nothing, too.  All that being said, the overall experience isn't nearly as bad as the individual parts.  The actors have their undeniable charms, and the movie's positive points stem entirely from the likeability of the performers.  Though Jennifer Garner barely says five words, she does have a screen presence, and the other actors are more interesting than the characters they portray.  It's not a good movie, and there's no reason to recommend it, unless of course you're a huge fan of either Jennifer Garner or the character of Elektra.  It is better than Daredevil, though that's not saying much, and it's not much better.  It's a mediocre experience; you won't hate yourself for sitting through it, but you may find it's hard to put your finger on why you didn't hate it. 

Expectation from the Title: Fed up with too many close presidential elections, a mad scientist creates a Godzilla-like giant monster who rampages from city to city, conducting exit-polls.

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Jennifer Garner looks good at all times; not everyone has that gift.

The Pros: Jennifer Garner and the other actors have an appeal that transcends the material...unfortunately, it doesn't entirely make up for it.  Ben Affleck does not appear in the movie.

The Cons: Unclear story, her powers (and other people's) aren't explained.  Repetitive flashbacks, no depth, bad writing, sub-par action.

If you're looking for information on Terrance Stamp, Jennifer Gardner, or Electra, read above and take some spelling classes.

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