Elektra

Say what you like about the Ben Affleck movie Daredevil (not out loud, obviously) – it did well enough to get a spin-off centred around the hero’s love interest (Jennifer Garner), a broody assassin named after a type of fence.

“Where do you want all this toilet paper?”

The early 2000s were a different time; a time of the Bond villain Elektra King and the person Carmen Electra, when a red corset was appropriate sportswear and Marvel films didn’t have to be good. The eponymous assassin is sent to an island to carry out a hit, and befriends a man called Mark and his daughter Abby (Goran Višnjić and Kirsten Prout) who turn out to be her intended targets. This causes Elektra shock, apparently forgetting that she has precognitive powers. And that Mark and Abby are the only other people on the island.

Elektra-lyte.

Even if we put these plot holes down to Elektra’s constricted air supply, this 2005 superhero flop is as electric as a power cut. Every element appears to have been stolen from better films: fight scenes from The Matrix Reloaded, a poisonous villainess from Batman & Robin, and Elektra’s haircut from Christina Aguilera in Burlesque. As if to prove she has no other distinguishing characteristics, Elektra has the exact same hairstyle in childhood flashbacks so we can tell it’s her. Garner also speaks in a constant whisper as though terrified of drawing attention to the existence of this film.

Rob Bowman directs (for the final time) with maudlin monotony, making us wait half an hour for an action sequence and delivering a strong contender for the worst Marvel film ever made; a martial arts mishap so flavourless that not even Terence Stamp can inject any personality. Meanwhile the only trace of humour is accidental: the antagonists are a ninja syndicate (that’s not even the funny part) called “The Hand”, resulting in straight-faced line readings like, “The Hand wanted something he couldn’t give.” Whether it beats the “Loom of Fate” from Wanted as cinema’s most risible assassins guild is a toss-up for the ages.

Elektra was such a failure that Hollywood executives were afraid to make another female-fronted superhero movie for about 15 years, at which point they pretended Wonder Woman was the first one. The truth was just too embarrassing.

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