Elektra ★★

In a time before simpletons had existential crises regarding Marvel’s lack of a female-led superhero movie, Marvel had a female-led superhero movie. Of course, nobody wrote think pieces about ‘finally seeing myself on screen’ about poor Elektra, or showed any support for the project at all, because it was not particularly good. Yet the world’s selective amnesia makes it possible to have some sympathy for Jennifer Garner et al.. Made before Marvel put together a studio specialising in hiring writers and chucking silly money around, Elektra suffers from a weak script and slightly mundane on-Earth battles.

Large portions of Elektra seem to be missing. The film comes in, pre-end credits, at a little under an hour and a half, and the brevity appears linked to a lack of character building or dialogue. Elektra gets a few flashback scenes showing a strict father, but Goran Višnjić doesn’t receive anything, making it seem like Dr. Kovač is on holiday from ER and accidentally became a love interest. His daughter is simultaneously a key role in the plot and highly forgettable, while the villains are horribly undercooked. The principle nemesis is an empty shell, purposelessly and dully attacking our heroes with less charisma than his 3 flanking henchmen. Alas Henchman 1 is cannon fodder, Henchman 2 requires improved CGI and a dictionary, and Henchman 3 (Typhoid) is criminally underused for a character with true bad-ass potential.

All in all, Elektra has the feeling of a spin-off in the world before spin-offs were seen as genuine cash cows. It still cost $40m, so should certainly be better, and as strong writing isn’t bound by budgets there is no excuse for the limp plot and interaction. Therefore, make no mistake, it isn’t either good or excused. Nonetheless, like the first two X-Men films, it has trapped the air from a time when superhero films were not trampling over the cinematic universe, and as a result being a bit crap is not the end of the world.