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The Marvel Movies: Elektra (2005)

by on June 24, 2011
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So you’re a Hollywood producer and you just had a film that modestly underperformed at the box office. So what do you do?

Let’s take the worst character in that film, spin it off and give her her own movie!

And thus Marvel and the world has “Elektra,” the Jennifer Garner-starring offshoot film where Garner’s attractive-but-emotionally-vacuous assassin continues to founder as we who so choose get to watch.

As bad as Garner was in “Daredevil,” she somehow manages to be worse here. She’s playing emotionally wounded, but again plays it as moody and standoffish, so to begin with, she’s not too engaging a character. Her idea of conveying anguish and emotion is staring at someone blankly and not talking. And instead of going through this for one-third of the movie as in “Daredevil,” we have to sit with it for two-thirds of the runtime since she’s the star.

The plot is only the finest in B-movie cheese: Elektra is now a paid assassin, somehow reanimated after her death in “Daredevil.” (We don’t really learn how she was resurrected. Perhaps she’s a zombie. It’s hinted that Stick, whom we’ll learn about in a moment, brought her back to life.)

She is sent to a remote island but isn’t told who her target is. So what does she do in this sparsely populated area? She makes nice with her neighbors, a single dad (Goran Visnic) and his teenage daughter (Kristen Prout), having Christmas dinner with them (though the weather in this vague but northern-looking area seems awfully mild for the Yuletide season).

Anyway, after having dinner with the neighbors, Elektra is mortified to learn that she is to kill them, being, you know, the only two people around. She of course refuses and decides to defend them, fighting off ninjas who use guns and can commit suicide by breaking their own necks without even using their hands. (From my son while watching the movie: “Dad, I thought ninjas were invisible.” My reply: “The good ones are.”)

Then there’s Terence Stamp, double-dipping on his superhero movies, as Stick, Elektra’s trainer. He looks bored but still spouts lines like “Why did you really save them, Elektra? Some kind of penance? Down payment on your sins?”

Then Elektra sees graffiti of a crow on a wall, and the crow emerges from the wall and becomes part of some dude’s tattoo. I’m guessing that’s supposed to mean the guy was watching them through the graffiti, but my God, is it a ridiculous gimmick.

But that’s not all, we get a guy named Stone (MMA fighter Bob Sapp), who gets killed by the same tree he knocks down; a woman named Typhoid who lesbian-kisses Elektra to death (don’t worry, Stick is around to bring her back again); Tattoo, who can turn his tattoos of animals into real animals (yes, he’s the guy with the crow); and a guy who can teleport himself whose name I missed.

Worst of all is that the movie takes itself with such deathly seriousness that it’s impossible to not laugh at the next ridiculous development in a film that does nothing but amp up the ridiculousness, until a climax where more completely unlikely, physically impossible and out-and-out ludicrous things happen.

“Elektra” is enjoyable on almost no level — its only real saving grace being it’s short, running barely 90 minutes. Unfortunately for us, that’s about 89 minutes too long.

Next time: AHHH!! It’s Swamp…er, Man-Thing!

Previous Marvel Movie Entries

Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Conan the Destroyer (1984)

Red Sonja (1985)
Howard the Duck (1986)
The Punisher (1989)
Captain America (1990)
The Fantastic Four (1994)
Blade (1998)
X-Men (2000)
Blade II (2002)
Spider-Man (2002)
Daredevil (2003)
X2: X-Men United (2003)
Hulk (2003)

The Punisher (2004)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Blade Trinity (2004)