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Elektra: another 20 minutes needed.

By Scott Tibbs, January 23, 2005

I had the chance to go see Elektra, starring Jennifer Garner. The character was a hit in Daredevil, so a spin-off seemed inevitable. The film has arrived, but lacks something in execution.

We pick up a couple years after Elektra was murdered by Bullseye in Daredevil. Basically, she was magically brought back to life by Stick, the legendary ninja master. He trained her to be even better than she was in her first life. While Elektra was the most powerful of his students, she lacked wisdom, so she was sent away from (for lack of a better term) "ninja school".

Elektra picks up the career of assassin, and is a particularly brutal one, killing dozens of henchmen unnecessarily while playing a cat-and-mouse game with her target. She is challenged on this by her "agent" early in the film, but her there is no follow up to her bloodthirstiness. As difficult as it is to be sympathetic to a hired killer, a character that murders as coldly as she does brings even less sympathy.

Elektra is hired to kill a new target, but she has to wait a few days first. She gets to know a man and his 13 year old daughter, only to find out that is who she is supposed to kill. She suddenly grows a conscience, and is unable to finish her assignment. Then, she saves her targets from the evil ninja clan, The Hand. It is hinted later that this was intentional, making her get to know them so that her heart would be softened.

So, she has to face off with super powered enemies to save the girl (a "prodigy" with exceptional speed, reflexes, and intelligence) from The Hand. Along the way, she fights Typhoid, who can cause disease and deterioration in plant and animal life; Stone, who is superhumanly strong and near-invulnerable, Tattoo, who can transform his tattoos into living animals to be used in spying or combat; and Kirigi, a ninja with superhuman speed.

The fight scenes, special effects, acting and storyline were all decent, and it holds up well against Marvel's other offerings. The biggest problem with the movie is it was too short. To really flesh out the storyline, Electra really needed another 20-30 minutes. What the movie lacks in execution could have been fixed with some more time. More time could have been spent on the prodigy's back story and the murder of Elektra's mother. Elektra's "redemption", especially, could have used some more fleshing out.

Overall, this was a decent movie. It isn't Spider-Man 2, but it is good on its own. While there could have been more references to Elektra's previous adventure with Daredevil, the scar on her abdomen from getting impaled on her own sai was a nice touch for the detail-oriented. If you liked Daredevil or comic movies in general, this one is a good choice.

Final grade: B-