While 2003's Daredevil
was a conventional superhero movie, the 2005 spinoff, Elektra
, is more of a wuxia-styled martial arts/fantasy flick. Elektra (Jennifer Garner) has returned to her life as a hired assassin, but she balks at an assignment to kill a single father (Goran Visnjic, ER) and his teenage daughter (Kirsten Prout). That makes her the target of The Hand, an organization of murderous ninjas, scheming corporate types, and a band of stylish supervillains seeking to eliminate Elektra and tip the balance of power in the ongoing battle of good vs. evil.
As the star of Alias, Garner has proven that she can kick butt with the best of them, and some of the visual effects are impressive, but the action sequences tend to be anticlimactic, and there's not much to the story. Fans will notice numerous references to Frank Miller's comic books, but there's very little resemblance to Miller's cold-blooded killer (Elektra with an agent? Elektra referring to herself as a "soccer mom"?).
Is Elektra better than Daredevil? Not really, even with the distinct advantage of having all Garner and no Ben Affleck. That could be the spinoff's greatest disappointment: after Spider-Man 2 raised the bar for comic-book movies, Elektra lowered it back to Daredevil's level. Directed by Rob Bowman (the X-Files movie), and featuring Terence Stamp as the mysterious mentor Stick, Will Yun Lee (Die Another Day) as the chief villain, and NFL-player-turned-mixed-martial-arts-champion Bob Sapp as the immovable Stone. --David Horiuchi, Amazon.com