If superhero movies have one fatal flaw its their annoying focus on, well, the heroes. But where would they be without a nemesis whose one goal in life is to make them have a really bad day. Where would Superman be without Lex Luthor, Batman without the Joker, Professor X without Magneto, Thor without his demented half-brother Loki, Flash without Ok thats enough comparisons. Now with the news that the Man without Fear is to be given another chance at big screen immortality from director David Slade after Ben Afflecks somewhat anemic attempt in 2003 (not forgetting the super-criminal directing by Mark Steven Johnson), lets forget the pretty boy actors who might step into Matt Murdocks super-sensory shoes and consider the villains who might be worthy to trade celluloid blows. Admittedly, dealing with one of Marvels 2nd tier heroes does mean you are faced with bad guys who arent exactly in most mainstream movie-goers consciousness, but to me that makes it all the better new faces, more surprises, less baggage. So for those of you who have no idea what Im talking about, and the few of you that do (and who are probably already annoyed at me referring to DD as 2nd tier), heres the countdown in reverse order.
5. NUKEIf you want a Stars & Stripes wearing super-human, forget goody two-shoes Steve Rogers. Heres 200+ pounds of adrenaline fuelled rage with an American flag tattooed right on his face. Created by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli and introduced in Daredevil #232, Frank Simpson was an American Marine in the Vietnam War. Having been kidnapped into the super-soldier program (yep, the alma mater of Cap himself) by none other than Wolverine, young Frank Simpson was used as a black-ops agent until being put into the Weapon VII programs. This turned him into a partial cyborg named Nuke with two hearts and a bullet-proof sub-dermal shield. Hes also addicted to a regimen of red, white, and blue pills which supposedly control his behaviour. White and blue keep him docile, but the red pills, which trigger his ultra-violence, are actually placebos. Nuke is a man on a constant, explosive edge. Ultra-durable with superhuman strength, Mr Murdock would have a whole heap of trouble putting this boy down. Of course years of systematic abuse at the hands of the US military have caused a slight problem hes completely insane. Not someone easy to write a character journey for. So someone else has to be pulling the strings and his biomech body. That of course would make the big bad the US Government itself Fantasy Casting - Stephen Lang
4. KING COBRAI suppose to be a supervillain a degree of mental imbalance is a given (superheroes too Mr Wayne), but if Nuke is one extreme then Klaus Voorhees is perhaps another. This reptilian Dutchman was a laboratory assistant who, jealous of his superior Professor Schecktor, kills him with a cobra bite. Not wanting the police to point the finger he naturally subjects himself to the same punishment, but being a clever chap he gives himself an experimental anti-venom. The problem being that these two geniuses have been experimenting with irradiated cobras and in a human/reptile twist akin to Peter Parkers arachnid fusion, Voorhees finds himself super-augmented snake style. Incredibly strong he also has an extraordinary double-jointed physiology with the ability to dislocate his hips and shoulders. Breaking in has never been so easy. Not only that, he has practically unbreakable bones, and he doesnt get hangovers. In the comics King Cobra does have a somewhat outlandish suit which naturally resembles a man with a tad too much affection for his slippery friends, but movies are platforms for re-invention. Im not talking Halle Berry/Catwoman re-invention, but theres nothing wrong with little poetic license in the looks department. Fantasy Casting - Mads Mikkelsen
3. LADY BULLSEYEOk, I know what youre thinking, wasnt there a twinkly Irish Bullseye in the original? Yes, sadly there was, as played by fine actor and box-office killer, Colin Farrell, and no this isnt his annoyed missus. Although inspired to assume her alter-ego by her namesake unwittingly rescuing her from the Yakuza, names are where the similarity ends and this lady begins. Japanese Maki Matsumoto learned her subsequently murderous ways from the notorious ninja order The Hand and she is highly skilled. No superhuman, she is a master at hand-to-hand combat, and proficient at several martial arts. Not to mention being handy at dispatching her victims with katana and shuriken. She is notably faster than Bullseye himself (though a little less burly), and Daredevil himself has remarked on her odd lack of scent and yogic low pulse. Advantage one to the lady already. Thats not all. Not content with going head to head in monochrome spandex in the dark alleys of DDs stomping ground of Hells Kitchen, Lady B is herself a lawyer. Just the ticket to disorientate and frustrate our hero, both in the courtroom, and out on the mean streets. Fantasy Casting - Maggie Q
2. TOMBSTONEAlthough it pains me to even consider the prospect, if the powers that be have any desire to connect Daredevil 2.0 to Ben Affleck then the perfect, highly dangerous, and quite possibly psychotic thread would have to be erstwhile Kingpin crony, Tombstone. Then again, connection or no connection, this is a man born to crush DD into a bloody pulp. As Harlems only albino, African-American Lonnie Lincoln, knows all there is about pain and alienation. From school bully to mob enforcer and hitman, Lonnie augmented his fearsome 6 7 frame by hitting the weights and filing down his teeth and nails to vampiric effect not to mention his light sensitivity due to a lack of melanin. His years of street level bruising and scrapping have made him highly adept at hand-to-hand fighting, and this is before he suffers the artificial augmentation of his powers by an experimental preservative gas (youd think someone in the Marvel Universe would take better care of this stuff). Now super-strong, physical injury is nigh on impossible, as he deflects bullets, even more toxic gases, and even temperature extremes whilst barely breaking sweat. Matching Daredevil for reflexes and speed, the titanic Tombstone is a worthy immoveable object for DDs unstoppable crusade against crime. The fact that hes illiterate may cause problems with Hells Kitchens poor signposting though. Fantasy Casting - Dwayne Johnson
1. KIRIGIYou may have noticed in my denigration of DDs previous cinematic incarnation I studiously neglected that other stillborn spinoff Electra. But in mentioning my final choice to eviscerate our hero it does need passing mention. In that storyline the awesome and mysterious Kirigi was reduced to a one dimensional martial arts bully-boy, who came to a disintegrating end at the hands of Electra and her sais. Which considering hes so mysterious he may not even exist, was a good trick. So, in the bastardised words of Zack Snyder referring to his Man of Steel, there havent been any other Daredevil movies. Wipe the slate. Forget. Back story is admittedly a problem with Kirigi, but we do know he has superhuman ability to shrug off injuries and pain, can apparently lift 450kg with ease, is a master at swordplay and various ninja weaponry, plus hes a dab hand at meditation. I would be too if it stopped me from keeling over dead. Hes seemingly immortal and has possibly existed for hundreds of years, and is the most feared legend amongst the ninja fraternity. If you dont believe me then believe the words of Frank Miller;
Huddled about their campfires, master warriors of old Japan spoke fearfully of the ninja, who seemed possessed with mystic ways of dealing death. But the ninja knew a terror all their own. They would shudder and grasp their swordhilts, and the long night would pass without sleep - if they heard a single name Kirigi!So what is he? Why is he here? Can anyone actually put him in the ground (or the astral plain / dimension he may, or not have come from)? I dont know, but it creates an opportunity for some original story-telling. Perhaps they can bring in his employer The Hand - as long as they remember one thing Kirigi is an entity of fear, frightening, merciless, inhuman. If he can unnerve ninjas, he should be able to give Matt Murdock a few nightmares. Fantasy Casting - Absolutely no idea
EPILOGUE: THE PUNISHERNow, I realise that in the real world of corporate ownership the division of Marvel characters between Marvel* and Fox means that certain fanboy match-ups are stuck in the realms of wish and fantasy (I mean god forbid someone thinks about the audience), but in creating my countdown of antagonists for Daredevil I just couldnt get Marvel Us finest anti-hero out of my head. I made some mention at the beginning of this piece about new faces and less baggage but if the cinematic superhero zeitgeist is redemption, then alongside Daredevil Id like to place one of my all-time favourite comic characters in the firing line. Mis-served by Thomas Janes not too shabby attempt in 2004, and the grindingly one-dimensional Punisher: War Zone in 2008, its time that we really welcome back Frank. And by redemption I dont mean finding his inner humanity. Frank Castle, the psychologically skewed, unrelenting avenger against the scum perpetrators of crime is essentially not a very nice man. A war-vet and husband to a slain wife and child he is the master of using the violence and weapons of criminality on the criminals themselves. He is unrelenting, unapologetic, vicious and a constant thorn in the side of the superhero fraternity, who constantly find themselves walking a tightrope between using his skills, and trying to reign him in. If Captain America is the all-American symbol of righteousness with a shiny shield and even shinier morality, The Punisher is the gutter symbol of righteousness with a machine-gun, axe, grenade, baseball bat, and chainsaw. In the Marvel Universe Daredevil has worked with and also worked against Castles rampages and lethal tactics. Hes been told in no uncertain terms, if he wants to stop The Punisher, he has to kill him. Get these guys on the same screen, give them a story worth clashing over, and save them both from movie ignominy. Thats what I say. Fantasy Casting - James Purefoy*NOTE: Marvel regained the rights to The Punisher/Frank Castle from Lionsgate in 2010. (article written by Mark Clark - casting choices made by Matt Holmes).
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