Quite recently, I wrote an article comparing the Kingpin from the 2003 Daredevil movie, and the Kingpin from the Daredevil TV show, and it got me thinking—What about Elektra? Because yeah, she was in both the movie and the TV show as well. That’s why I decided to highlight the Jennifer Garner Elektra movie, because honestly, I feel like a lot of people forget that movie even exists.
Now, let me be clear. I don’t really think Elektra is a “good” movie, per se. It has a lot of problems, and one might even argue that it’s Marvel’s version of Catwoman, meaning that it’s really campy and bad. But I don’t think that’s the case. In fact, even though I don’t think Elektra stands with the likes of, say, any of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies or some of the X-Men movies (I mean, I definitely think Elektra’s better than that Godawful first Wolverine film). I certainly think that the Jennifer Garner superhero film is a lot better than most people make it out to be and I have 5 reasons why you should give it another shot. Oh, and spoilers up ahead.
It Is Officially The First Female-Led Marvel Superhero Movie
Okay, yes, I know. This has nothing to do with the quality of the film, but I do think it’s important that before there was a Captain Marvel or a Black Widow movie, there was Elektra. And while I definitely think that Captain Marvel was WAY better than Elektra (the verdict is still out on Black Widow), I do find it interesting to re-watch Elektra with the mindset of what the industry thought a female-led superhero movie should be back in 2005, and then juxtapose it with 2019.
Of course there’s a romance in Elektra, which involves a character named Mark Miller (Played by Goran Visnjic). But the film doesn’t overly sexualize Jennifer Garner too much, which is appreciated. In fact, the movie mostly sticks to action sequences and a wonky storyline involving something called “the treasure” (I’ll get to that soon). But as the first female superhero movie out of Marvel, it’s not as cringe-inducing as it could have been, and it’s certainly not as cringe-inducing as Catwoman. So, while Elektra is definitely not as progressive as Captain Marvel was with its messages of female-empowerment and toppling the patriarchy, it’s certainly no slouch, either.
It's Goofy But Enjoyable
Okay, so let’s talk about the story of Elektra, shall we, because yeah, it’s really silly. But you what? It’s also kind of awesome. Since this is a spin-off of the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie and Elektra died in that film, they had to bring her back to life in typical comic book fashion. And guess what, she comes back stronger than ever. Elektra is an assassin, but one with a heart, as she decides not to kill her targets once she realizes that she likes them.
But this brings about a hunt for Elektra since she didn’t go through with the hit. We find out that the girl Elektra was supposed to kill is known as “The Treasure,” which is a prophesied martial arts prodigy (I’m serious). And the killers out to get Elektra are really bizarre and unique, like a dude who has tattoo powers (named, er, Tattoo), or a woman who has a deadly kiss named Typhoid. The CG is pretty awful, even back then, but it’s still really fun, especially Tattoo. I mean, as long as you don’t take it seriously, it’s a pretty enjoyable film. Which brings me to my next point.
It Represents The Kind Of Marvel Film We Never See Anymore
Look, I love the MCU with my full heart and soul, but do you know what I kind of miss? Marvel movies that aren’t all directly connected to one another. Now, this might be kind of silly to say since Elektra is directly connected to the Daredevil movie, but is it really? Yes, Elektra’s death and resurrection had to be explained in this movie (and is actually worked into the plot since she gets resurrecting powers herself). But it’s not like this movie was just another stepping stone to the next Marvel flick, which so many MCU films were on the way to leading up to Avengers: Infinity War.
No, Elektra is that extremely rare Marvel movie that didn’t get a sequel. It’s its own little, self-contained adventure for an interesting character played by an excellent actress. It’s a superhero film, sure, but it’s one that you can just sit and enjoy knowing that once it’s over, it’s over, and you don’t have to wait for the next one to come out.
It's Fun To Compare This Elektra To The One From The Daredevil TV Show
I mentioned earlier how I compared the Kingpin in the movie with the one in the TV show, and it was fun. But I could also compare Elektra's, as well. In one corner, you have the very lively and cool movie-version of Elektra played by Jennifer Garner, who kind of goes through the entire film with a nod and a wink. And in the other corner, you have the deadly and anti-heroic TV-version of Elektra, played by French actress, Elodie Yung.
Now, while I do think the Kingpin from the Daredevil TV show is better than the one in the movie, I actually prefer Jennifer Garner’s Elektra’s to Elodie Yung’s. It’s not Yung’s fault, either. She acts the role that she’s given really well. But as much as I like the darker aesthetic of Daredevil and The Defenders, I prefer Garner’s more energetic performance instead. Both Elektras kick butt, but Garner’s performance is the one that sticks with me more. Which brings me to my final point.
Jennifer Garner Kicks Ass
And here’s what may be the most important reason why you should give Elektra another chance—Jennifer Garner is just plain awesome in it. Because even though a lot of people might have first gotten to really know Jennifer Garner as double agent, Sydney Bristow on Alias, no matter what she does, she’s awesome in it.
And Elektra is no exception. Jennifer Garner is what holds it all together. Yes, the story is super silly, and yes, the CG is terrible, but Jennifer Garner looks really cool swinging her sais around like Raphael from the Ninja Turtles, and she delivers some truly ridiculous lines in a way that is still somehow engaging. If you’re going to watch Elektra for any reason, watch it for her.
In the end, Elektra is the kind of film that you watch and quickly forget about after it’s over. But if it’s a rainy day and Elektra just happens to be on TV, I say give it another shot, or, a first shot if you’ve never seen it before. It’s a turn-your-brain-off kind of movie, and really, is there anything wrong with that?
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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