Written by: Zak Penn, Stuart Zicherman, Raven Metzner
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Goran Visnjic, Will Yun Lee, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Terence Stamp
Supporting characters succeed when they make an impact with less screentime than the lead. They steal the show when audiences walk away talking about them more than the main attraction. Arguably the titular character of this feature achieved this in her first outing and now gets the opportunity to shine on her own. While Elektra serves as an improvement of the film preceding it, the lack of a coherent story ultimately does not allow it to become a good film.
Resuscitated from what appeared to be certain death, Elektra Natchios (Jennifer Garner) has turned to be an assassin-for-hire. When given an assignment she refuses to complete, she learns of the insidious plans by “The Hand” to take out an unsuspecting father and daughter.
Even with some epic Evanescence songs, Daredevil ultimately landed like a fart in the wind for a bevy of reasons. However, some may argue Elektra brought the most intrigue to the story, and learning more about her could make for a better story. She becomes this alluring figure in the story with plenty left untold and with her getting a film dedicated to her completely, you would think more would be expanded upon. Well, there you would be wrong. As a spoiler for what occurs in the aforementioned Daredevil, towards the climax of the film, it appears Elektra died at the hands of the villain Bullseye. Well, this film argues that she was saved and resuscitated because of reasons Elektra has no interest in answering. Now she works as an assassin for reasons also not given. I understand if this follows a story in the comics, but considering they cast Jennifer Garner once again and had a flashback to what occurred in the film set in Hell’s Kitchen, this Elektra needs to have some sort of continuity. The Elektra we met in that film only brought out her famous blades in a moment seeking vengeance and now with the new life given she suddenly decides to kill people for money.
Not only does this not track with this character, but it does not receive as much as a passing explanation as to why she went from who see in the preceding film to someone killing others in cold blood. A fairly stark character change, which makes no narrative sense. Does she kill others as some part of the vigilantism she wants to practice? Do the people she kills deserve it for the pain they have caused others? An easy assumption to make if not for the plot surrounding her refusing to kill an innocent father and daughter. It brings up far too many questions but I suppose we’re supposed to support her killing people in cold blood because her name is on the title. This story may make more sense with it being based on a comic but the lack of any context provided in the story fails in connecting this character to who we saw in the previous film due to the drastic change in motivation.
Nobody wanted to make this film, even Jennifer Garner, but luckily this gave us some pretty fun villains for her take on. Are there fight sequences compelling in any sort of way? No, absolutely not, but they definitely have some cool abilities, which made for some fun shots. While protecting this unsuspecting family, Elekta must take on members of the shadow organization, The Hand, who are bad for reasons not given. You just have to trust they’re bad. The more notable ones include Kirgi (Will Yun) who looks cooler than the challenge he actually presents the lead character. Typhoid (Natassia Malthe) has the touch of death apparently, as everything she lays her hands on dies. It makes for a fun scene where she walks through some vegetation leisurely and it all begins to wilt as her hands bush upon them. I wonder how she eats anything of substance without it wilting away. She barely gets anything to do but gets a moment to demonstrate her deadly ability when taking on Elektra by surprise. The character Tattoo (Chris Ackerman) has you guessed it, tattoos of animals all over his body, which can animate to do his beckoning. While not having a creative name or the animals doing nothing of note in the story, his appearance and character concept drive more intrigue than the actual execution. None of them receive any substance whatsoever as villains, but they make for some formidable foes for this person we’re meant to believe is the hero of the story.
Elektra barely works as a story and I can only imagine plenty was cut out because of the disaster they knew it would be. Complete character motivations and context must have been taken out because it all feels pointless. The ultimate goal they each have all surrounds something meant to be special but ultimately does not because of what another character discloses. It makes for a revelation ultimately deflating the story and only further reveals that the studio simply just wanted an excuse to bring this character back because they had the contractual ability to do so. Even for the subpar filmmaking, the villains introduced brought enough fun to the story to have some level of enjoyment but the rest of it proves to be an incoherent mess.