Elektra

Elektra did something for me. It reinforced the idea that the way something looks on paper, and the way it ends up playing out, is very different. On paper, Elektra looks like the worst kind of movie for me. Its star isn’t one that I particularly like, its premise is basic, and, worst of all, it’s a spin-off to a movie that wasn’t all that good to begin with. In this case, that not-very-good-to-start-with movie is Daredevil, while the not-so-likable lead is Jennifer Garner.

For those of you who saw Daredevil, I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering how a spin-off can be made with the character of Elektra, considering the fact that she was killed off part way through Daredevil. I wondered that for a little while too, but this more recent film quickly explains this in a flashback, and then explains it again later on in a direct conversation between two of its characters. I guess the film wanted to be certain that we understood how our lead is actually still alive.

It doesn’t really matter how, to be honest. The point is, Elektra is fine and is now an assassin-for-hire. After being offered a sum of $2 million, provided she turn up to the location early and wait for the names of the people she is required to kill, she befriends a man named Mark (Goran Visnjic) and his 13-year-old daughter, Abby (Kirsten Prout). You’ll be shocked to find out that they end up being her targets, and that she refuses to kill them.

Instead, she takes them on the run, ending up betraying the company that ordered her to kill the pair. Or maybe they betray her. Or maybe it’s a mutual betrayal. This is never made especially clear, but in the end the company is bad and Elektra is good. They have trained, magical, assassins that are now hunting the family down, as well as Elektra. There is only a few of them though, because otherwise the film would take too long to finish. With something like this, you don’t want any spare time — the audience might get bored.

Elektra is primarily an action film, but there isn’t that much action, nor is it all that impressive. The opening sequence is by far the best part of the film, joining Elektra right in the middle of an assassination mission. There isn’t much action here either, but there’s a mystery, an allure, that doesn’t get recaptured for the rest of the film. There are a couple of interesting fight scenes, but one of the bigger ones actually ends up being tedious and boring. It ends up resulting in Elektra slashing her way through bed sheets for a couple of minutes, with some flashbacks that we’d already seen dispersed between slashes.

These flashbacks that are scattered throughout the film attempt to make us care about Elektra’s past. Some of these work, but most do not. We see the same flashbacks multiple times, but some of them become redundant, while some didn’t add all that much to the film to begin with. Also included in the “does not have a point” section is the fact that Elektra is given OCD in this film. There’s no reason for this, and it takes up some time that could have been used to extend the fun action scenes.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of Jennifer Garner. Her range is very limited, and I’ve yet to see her perform well in a dramatic role. Thankfully, Elektra is not a dramatic role. There are times when emotional range is required, but these moments are quickly forgotten regardless of how well she does in them. Garner is extremely dedicated to the role, she showed that in Daredevil. She actually trained with Elektra’s signature sai weapons, and took great pleasure in learning how to wield them. She hasn’t lost that ability in the two year gap, and now that we get a film focusing on her character, her skill shines through.

Considering the fact that Elektra and the enemies were the most interesting part of Daredevil, I’m glad that they decided to do this spin-off. Unfortunately, similar problems are present here. The secondary characters and enemies all get little development, even though there’s supposed to be something bigger going on behind the scenes for most of the film. The story doesn’t really flesh this idea out until the very end though, which makes all of the hints dropped throughout the film seem like a waste.

Elektra is not a terrible film, nor is it even really a bad one. It’s got some wasted time, and a lot of wasted potential, but it’s definitely entertaining, at least for the most part. I liked Elektra as a character from Daredevil, and getting a feature-length film proved to be worth my time to watch. This is the role that Garner fits well in, as it doesn’t require much emotion, and she does well with the character. While the story could have been tighter and wasted less time, I still have to give Elektra a pass. I had enough fun while watching it to say it was worth my time. And yes, for those of you wondering, it was better than Daredevil.

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