Question: Why does Daredevil refuse to kill Kingpin? He didn’t hesitate to kill that hood at the beginning of the movie.
Answer: Character development. After all, there’s an entire story sandwiched between those two scenes. Let’s break it down:
1. Matt Murdock, still a broken man years after the unsolved murder of his father, dons the Daredevil suit to sate his thirst for vengeance. He seems to specifically target criminals who have slipped through the cracks of the justice system—and, as his encounter with Jose Quesada illustrates, he doesn’t mind getting his hands bloody.
2. One stormy night, Daredevil tracks down a small time mob enforcer and violently assaults him in his own home. As he orders the man to leave Hell’s Kitchen, he suddenly hears the faint sound of sobbing. Flinging open a nearby door, he finds a young boy (presumably the thug’s son) cowering in a dark corner. “I’m not the bad guy, kid,” the vigilante insists—but even he sounds unconvinced.
3. Matt watches his new girlfriend, Elektra, slowly self-destruct after she, too, loses her father to organized crime. Consumed by rage, she embarks on a roaring rampage of revenge—which comes to a tragic end when the psychotic assassin Bullseye stabs her through the heart with her own sai.
4. After narrowly overpowering Wilson Fisk—The Kingpin of Crime, his father’s killer—in hand-to-hand combat, Daredevil, battered and exhausted, raises the gangster’s heavy cane to deliver the finishing blow… and stays his hand. “I’m not the bad guy,” he explains when his foe expresses disbelief. Profoundly changed by his experiences, his struggles, his failures, Matt chooses to let go of his anger before it destroys him—or, worse, transforms him into a monster.
Storytelling flaws abound in Mark Steven Johnson’s Daredevil film (even in the superior Director’s Cut), but this climactic act of mercy is not one of them.
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