Daredevil Live-Action Costume Evolution

Daredevil has been played by three different actors in live-action. Here's how the character's look has evolved over the years.

daredevil live action evolution

Here is the evolution of Daredevil's costume in live-action. Superhero movies only seemed to really hit their stride around the early 2000s, thanks to the success of X-Men and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. While there had been some great comic book movies made prior to this - namely Superman and Batman - the genre had a reputation for producing shoddy work.

Sadly, it took a long time for Daredevil to receive his due, with the character's first live-action appearance being in the 1989 TV The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk. The character was played by Rex Smith but while this was intended to serve as a backdoor pilot for a solo series, that failed to emerge. Ben Affleck - who was a fan of the comic as a child - took the lead for 2003's Daredevil. Sadly, the movie turned out to be something of a dour mess, and Affleck has since proclaimed it's the only movie he truly regrets making.

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Matt Murdock finally received a worthy adaptation in Netflix's Daredevil, where he was played by Charlie Cox (Boardwalk Empire). The show was a gritty, faithful adaptation of the source material, and it managed to (mostly) nail the look of the character. Here's how each live-action adaptation has handled Daredevil's costume.

The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk (1989)

Daredevil in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk

Rex Smith's costume for The Trial Of The Incredible Hulk is often considered the weakest. That's a little unfair because while it might not be terribly dynamic, the black ninja costume feels like the smart choice tactically. Most of the Daredevil's scenes in Trial find him sticking to the shadows anyway, and while the suit looks pretty cheesy on the few occasions it's well lit, overall it works fine.

Daredevil (2003)

Ben Affleck in Daredevil (2003)

Ben Affleck's Daredevil outfit is pretty faithful to the red suit from the comics, though it's not exactly a cool look either. The mask looks good, though the bulky red leather - complete with a tiny double D logo on the chest - feels like it needed a couple of further redesigns. It's hard to image the suit would allow for much mobility either, though the open neck design at least means Matt could look around.

Affleck has since stated wearing this costume was a source of great embarrassment, which is one of many reasons he didn't return for a sequel. He did make a cameo - sans costume - in spinoff movie Elektra, though this was cut from the theatrical version. Thankfully, his Caped Crusader costume for Batman V Superman was much better.

Daredevil (2015 - 2018)

daredevil netflix ninja suit

Matt Murdock initially wears an all-black ninja-style outfit for much of Daredevil season 1, which bears some resemblance to the Rex Smith look. It looks a lot more grounded in the show, however, though he eventually needs a suit that will protect him from more severe beatings. This leads to him seeking out designer Melvin Potter, who creates an armored costume complete with horned mask.

Netflix's Daredevil suit is more tactical than the Affleck version and is designed for ease of movement. The suit was given an upgrade in season 2 following an encounter with the Punisher. Matt also dons the suit during The Defenders but switches back to the black ninja costume for season 3.

Next: Daredevil's Season 2 Episode 13 Unleashed The Punisher

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