This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Hawkeye
If there’s one thing superhero fans love, it’s when a good guy fights a good guy. It’s even better when those good guys are the same guy.
Hot off his return to the role in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Charlie Cox had some unflattering things to say about the 2003 Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck. Cox told fans at the Middle East Film & Comic Con 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates that he never saw Affleck’s superhero movie debut before he was cast as Daredevil. According to People, Cox told the crowd, “I don’t love the movie … I feel like the movie tried to do too much and it was a little tonally confused.”
Few would disagree with Cox’s statement. Although it eventually earned twice its budget, Daredevil broke a string of critically well-received superhero movies that started with Blade in 1998 and continued through to 2000’s X-Men and 2002’s Spider-Man.
In addition to Affleck, Daredevil features a surprisingly stacked cast. Jennifer Garner plays Murdock’s ex-girlfriend-turned-assassin Elektra Natchios (a role she would reprise for 2005’s even more reviled Elektra), future Iron Man and The Mandalorian director Jon Favreau appears as Murdock’s partner Foggy Nelson, Colin Farrell brings twitchy energy to the killer Bullseye, and the late Michael Clarke Duncan is the Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk. Despite this cast of ringers, audiences complained about director Mark Steven Johnson’s approach, which squeezed a lot of plot into 103 minutes of film.
In particular, Cox calls out the design of his predecessor’s costume. “And the suit sucks!” Cox declared when closing his rant. That’s a bit of a risky move for Cox, whose own horn-headed duds didn’t always thrill fans. While most loved the black outfit (inspired by Frank Miller’s 1993 comic series Daredevil: The Man Without Fear) Cox wore for the first of his three seasons on the Netflix series Daredevil, his official red get-up struck some as silly. It remains to be seen if Murdock will keep that outfit when Daredevil makes his official MCU debut, following his co-star Vincent D’Onofrio, whose Wilson Fisk appeared in the Disney+ series Hawkeye.
While Cox’s comments might seem harsh, he took care to avoid trashing any fellow actor. “I like his Matt Murdock,” Cox said of Affleck. In fact, Affleck himself would likely agree with Cox’s take. “Daredevil didn’t work, at all,” the Batman-actor told Entertainment Weekly in 2015, claiming that after it came out “people realized you could make these movies and make them well.”
We still don’t know when Cox will get to return to Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil, but there’s a good chance he’ll make an appearance in the upcoming Disney+ series Echo. Maya Lopez aka Echo (played by Alaqua Cox) first appeared in a 1999 issue of Daredevil, written by David Mack and drawn by Joe Quesada. Echo is currently in production.