When characters are introduced in comic book films, there’s a wealth of untapped potential that is just left of the pages. So, when Jennifer Garner was introduced as the literal butt-kicking love interest to Matt Murdock, Elektra you couldn’t leave such potential trapped as an ancillary character. In 2005, that very character was given her spin-off, and in doing so highlighted the promising potential of said character and the world she inhabits, that character being Elektra.
Legendary assassin Elektra faces off against the evil organisation, known as the Hand. The ace up her sleeve is that she does not fear death, as she has been through all that before. While waiting for her next target, she must wait on a well-catered but secluded island. When a widower and a troubled girl move to the island, Abby. Elektra and the child form a mentor relationship but Elektra fears history repeating itself. As a relationship starts to blossom with Abby’s single father, Mark. Electra’s two separate worlds collide together. Can she avoid the mistakes of the past, or will her untapped rage and the ruinous road to rampage and revenge lead down the same path Elektra has been through before?
High on martial arts and trying to emulate certain cinematic trends, Elektra oozes with style, much like its franchise forbearer, yet does so in its fashion. The Asian influences that follow Elektra’s solo endeavours play well in her theatrical debut, one that bears some resemblance to the distinctive Catholic iconography that followed through the original. The change allows newcomers to fully get up to speed with Elektra’s backstory, without having the foreknowledge of the prior Daredevil film. Unfortunately, a scene was cut that would have offered more of a connective link, but once again helps Elektra stand on her own.
The focus on other characters from the expansive, and creative world of the Daredevil franchise is a welcome reason to see this spin-off and the actors that inhabit them. Terrance Stamp as the mystic Stick is great and the likes of Will Yun Lee as the deadly Kirigi equate to some distinguishing adversaries, ones that do their printed counterparts justice. This is not to say that it is beholden entirely to what has come before. The Millers are an interesting concoction, providing the grounding and the elements of drama that allows Garner to thoroughly explore the many facets of her character. Demonstrated with the mentor/motherly relationship with Abby played by Kirsten Prout and the blossoming romance with Mark played by Goran Višnjić. All are placed in perpetual jeopardy by the life/path Elektra has chosen.
Successful debuts must be ambassadors to the brand they came from, and the characters that they are promoting. Elektra does all this and more in setting up an intriguing world that feels distinct and modish. Focusing more on martial arts and mysticism as opposed to the tell tail traits of Murdock et al. Elektra makes for a fine film for its eponymous heroine, proving that some characters shouldn’t be left for dead.
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