Poor Jennifer Garner.
It’s entirely unfair that Ben Affleck could make such a huge comeback — especially in action films — after the clunker that was Daredevil. Garner had a much better foundation in the action genre with TV series Alias, but the minute she got a big-screen action role... flop. Then, she receives the starring action role in Elektra, and what does she get? A bigger flop.
Garner was sadly another victim of early-2000s Hollywood writers and their inability to craft believable women superheroes. And unlike Affleck, Garner never fully recovered from her superhero disaster movie. Getting Affleck himself was terrible compensation for her massive career hit.
Fifteen years later, let's take a closer look at Elektra, and how it signifies everything wrong with superhero movies in the decade before Marvel's Cinematic Universe to form.
Although Elektra died back in Daredevil, audiences knew before she wasn’t dead for good. Comic book law dictates everyone gets at least one resurrection. When the film opens, Elektra is alive and doing her assassin thing -- in bright, flaming red.
Yeah, I know the red outfit was in the comics, but it looked just as gratuitous there as it does here.
Going strictly off the Daredevil film, Elektra can’t afford to be this transparent. Let’s not forget what happened the first time she went after bad guys.
But now she’s a highly sought-after assassin. She even has a broker!
No joke, Elektra has a broker/agent who handles her assassination requests while creepily asking when she's getting laid next. For this, Elektra gives him 10 percent.
In a flashback, we see Elektra was resurrected by the blind martial arts master, Stick -- played by everyone’s favorite Superman villain, Terrance Stamp.
Stick trains her in the ancient art of Kimagure, where practitioners receive precognition and resurrection power bonuses. She's his most powerful student, but Stick says that Elektra is "too angry."
Yes, it’s probably fair to assume that after discovering her murdered mother’s dead body, witnessing her father’s murder, then getting killed herself and brought back from the dead, Elektra might be a little pissed off. Instead of recommending mental health treatment, Stick kicks Elektra out of his facility. Elektra can now add “abandonment issues” to her running list of crippling psychological problems.
Back in the present, Elektra’s creepy agent tells her she’s been offered a huge kill job payday — but there’s a catch. She has to rent a house on a sparsely populated island and she won't get the details on her target until later. Sounds legit, right?
Elektra decides to take the job. Her agent thanks her by sending a nice fruit basket.
Nice to see that 10 percent is being put to good use.
Later, the bratty neighbor kid breaks into Elektra’s rental to steal jewelry before Elektra catches her.
Kid, you are so lucky this isn’t Texas.
This is Abby, and unfortunately, we’ll be seeing more of her. Many child actors are irritating, but Abby is especially grating. I don’t know if it’s her vapid facial expressions or her whiny voice, but I physically cringe whenever she's on-screen.
Abby then invites a reluctant Elektra to have dinner with her and her uninteresting, but semi-attractive single dad, Mark, and Elektra and Abby bond over their respective dead moms.
After a satisfying evening of dead mother talk, Elektra finally receives the details on her next kill. Or kills. Because Elektra’s targets are none other than Abby and her dad! How unexpected!
Elektra decides to let them go, but because Abby and Mark are so in-demand, Elektra has to save them from other assassins (but evil ones) -- a group called The Hand.
Now Elektra is saddled with the thankless task of protecting an obnoxious teenager and her insipid father. She takes Abby and Mark to a safe house where Abby goes Single White Female.
If you thought Elektra would ultimately develop a maternal bond with Abby, you would be correct. This is one trope writers fall on when it comes to writing women -- if they’re not someone’s girlfriend, they have to be someone’s mom.
Elektra might now be Abby’s pseudo-mom, but that doesn’t stop the writers from throwing in a Mark-Elektra makeout — despite no romantic buildup whatsoever. I've seen stalks of asparagus with more chemistry than these two.
The Hand attacks again, but Stick steps in and takes everyone to his training compound. It turns out this bratty, white teenager is a martial arts prodigy, and the evil Hand wants her for themselves.
In another big reveal, Stick was the one who ordered the hit on Mark and Abby! It was all part of his twisted plan to manipulate Elektra into protecting Abby. Seriously, Stick just keeps adding to Elektra’s running mental health issue list.
The Hand assassins aren’t even worth discussing -- they’re just hollow side-characters. The real story is about Elektra becoming a mommy. You have notables from the comics like Typhoid Mary and Stone, but they’re forgettable. Except for one scene where Typhoid infects Elektra with an open-mouthed kiss.
Gotta give the teenage boys their obligatory jerk-off material.
The movie ends with Elektra defeating the Hand, resurrecting Abby from temporary death, and leaving to restart her life...somewhere.
Besides the bland story and lackluster action scenes, here’s where the movie absolutely fails — it doesn’t make you care. A movie is obligated to create fleshed-out characters that force the audience to become invested. I couldn't feel anything for these characters — not even when Abby was dead. The whole plot was a pile of exposition getting thrown out bit by bit. It didn’t allow the audience to connect with the characters.
The only speck of emotion I felt was sympathy for Jennifer Garner, who hated this movie (she was under contractual obligation) and who would long suffer the effects of this crappy flick.
Rewind is an Inverse series that remembers the forgotten performances we love.