When Bad Movies Happen to Good Heroes

We are in a Golden Age for superhero movies. The Spider-Man, Iron-Man, X-Men, and Batman movies have been for the most part home runs both critically and financially. Sure, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand suffered from too many characters and production issues but their excellent predecessors more than made up for their shortcomings.

But not even superheroes bat a thousand. Case in point: in 2003, Ben Affleck donned red leather and horns to fight Elektra, Bullseye, and Kingpin in Mark Johnson’s Daredevil film. With the exception of comicbookdaily.com’s Walter Durajlija, I don’t know a single person who likes this movie.  Critics panned the movie and its Rotten Tomatoes score stands at 45%. Interestingly, the movie actually had a pretty strong debut weekend, grossing over $45 million.

There have been a few other duds besides Daredevil. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Green Lantern are not just bad comic adaptations they’re just really awful movies, period. In fact, both have Rotten Tomatoes approval ratings worse than Daredevil’s 45%.

But here I want to focus on Daredevil because just a few days ago, long-suffering fans received some excellent news: the movie rights for Daredevil have reverted back to Marvel Studios. Daredevil is a very unique character within the Marvel Universe. Does he have the broad appeal of Spider-Man or Iron-Man? No. But there’s a reason so many big-name writers and artists have been attracted to the book over the years. If the Avengers movie made Hawkeye cool again, a well executed Daredevil movie will be huge.

Fans have been long-suffering. But what about collectors? I looked at a few pre-2003 auctions to compare their values to recent completed auctions.


These numbers look pretty good! On average, the 9.0, 8,5, 8.0 and 4.0 grades have increased by 47%.

But wait… let’s compare these numbers to the performance of other Silver Age #1s like Spider-Man and X-Men—which have seven movies between them.


Clearly, Daredevil has been an underachiever. Of course there are many other factors at play besides the movies, but one cannot ignore the fact that Daredevil just hasn’t received as much collector attention—and the poor movie followed by nine years of inactivity play a big part in Hornhead’s underperformance.

The good news is the future looks brighter. Hopefully Daredevil fans will finally get the movie (and its inevitable sequels) they’ve been waiting for. Perhaps Daredevil’s underperformance can be seen as an opportunity. If Marvel goes all out with a new Daredevil trilogy then there could be upside to current values.

R.J. Steinhoff
R.J. Steinhoff

RJ Steinhoff is a lifelong comic book fan and when he’s not working for a living he runs the comictrend.com website.

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Andrew Ardizzi
11 years ago

While I agree the theatrical release of “Daredevil” is, let’s face it, pretty bad, Johnson’s director’s cut is remarkably better than the original. While that version is what brought me back into comics, specifically the character, it had gaping holes that the near 40-minutes of additional footage fills up. There’s an entire subplot with Coolio added. There’s Affleck’s Murdock doing some slight breaking and entering into an apartment to do some detective work. Karen Page gets more screen time, while the very simple question of how the police know to come for Fisk is addressed. It’s a superior version, and I love it. I wish Elektra had benefited from such a director’s cut…

I can’t dispute the numbers though, and the horrid theatrical cut clearly didn’t do the character’s book sales any favours.

11 years ago

Yes, the director’s cut was quite a bit better.

What has been equally as damaging as the poor theatrical release–perhaps more so–is Fox’s complete lack of interest in the character since 2003. They moved on to the other franchises they have the rights to.

I think Marvel has huge plans for Daredevil.

Anthony Falcone
11 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Ardizzi

You had me at Coolio.

Walter Durajlija
11 years ago
Reply to  comictrend

This is the best news for the DD property.

I recently picked up a sweet looking DD #1 CGC 9.0 OW/W for $4203. I think that is a bargain price and I would have bought 3 more at that price if they were available.

DD #1 was one of my early Undervalued Spotlight picks and I’m still high on it long term.

R.J. Steinhoff
11 years ago

Yeah, couldn’t agre more, Walter!

Ed Campbell
11 years ago

There is more deleted scenes from the director’s cut where Ellen Pompeo plays Karen Page and she is Matt and Foggy’s receptionist.