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Film / Elektra

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"Her name was Elektra. She was a warrior. She was also dead. Well, nobody's perfect. Only a warrior can come back from death and even then the second life is never quite like the first."
Stick, Trailer narration

Elektra is a 2005 spinoff of the Daredevil film starring Jennifer Garner as Elektra. After being killed in Daredevil, Elektra Natchios is revived by a blind martial arts master called Stick (Terence Stamp). She is brought to his training compound, but is soon expelled because of her inability to let go of her rage and fear from seeing her mother's killer as a child. She leaves and uses her training to become a contract killer, but becomes reluctant to carry out a hit on Mark (Goran Višnjić) and Abby Miller (Kirsten Prout). In helping them escape, Elektra learns that Mark and Abby are not as normal as they appear to be. As she faces off against The Hand, an organization that seeks to capture Abby because she is the sacred "Treasure," Elektra soon learns that Kirigi (Will Yun Lee), a member and top assassin of The Hand leading a group of powerful followers, was sent to kill her mother when Elektra was only a child.


This film contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Elektra seems to have forgotten that somewhere in the world is a bald Irish man named Bullseye who killed her and her father. In fact it isn't even brought up at all despite it being the reason she came back to life in the first place. Though it could well be that she believes he is dead, and she has enough trouble on her plate as it is with the Hand and her own personal demons.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Typhoid's outfits. A subtle one in the dress she uses to fight, and a blatant one in her casual wear.
  • Action Girl: Elektra and to a lesser extent Abby. The film's main plot revolves around Abby being destined to become a much stronger one when she reaches adulthood with Elektra and the Hand fighting each other in order to recruit her to join their side and thus tip the balance in their ongoing war.
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  • Adaptational Badass: This version of Elektra has a number of powers and abilities she didn't display either in the previous movie or in the comics themselves up to the point of this movie's release. This includes the ability of precognition, astral projection/telepathic communication and healing/resurrection powers. It is unknown what the nature of these powers are, but the supernatural is implied to be at play, possibly related to her resurrection and Stick's training. Though she did gain precognition and telepathic communication in the comics a few months after the movie, probably inspired by this depiction of her, along with other powers over time.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Like in Daredevil. Elektra, while a cold and stoic assassin initially, isn't remorseless and actually tries to keep Abby and her father safe, undergoing a good deal of Character Development.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Stick was a bit of an asshole in the comics. He was a harsh, cynical old man who got his money through hustling and gave Matt a hard time while training him. While he makes questionable decisions here, there's no doubt he's a much nobler person by comparison.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Conversely, Stone is a member of the Hand in this movie, rather than part of the Chaste.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Tattoo can use his animals to spy on Elektra and gang.
  • Animated Tattoo: Tattoo has the power to make his tattoos come to life.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: Elektra tells Abby that her sais are offensive weapons, not suitable for defending yourself. Sais are actually primarily defensive; the prongs are for trapping enemy weapons and disarming them.
  • Astral Projection: Elektra uses this to communicate a meeting with Kirigi.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Abby thinks this of Elektra's name.
  • Back from the Dead: Stick brings Elektra back early on and then Elektra brings Abby back at the end.
  • Badass Crew: Kirigi and his team.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The whole movie hangs on which side the "Treasure" will take and tip the balance in favor of one or the other.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Stone is black and is the first of Kirigi's squad to die.
  • Breakout Character: Elektra was originally a love interest of Daredevil in both the comics and the movie — she later had several spin-off comics and this spin-off movie.
  • The Cameo: In a deleted scene, Ben Affleck appears as Matt Murdock in Elektra's dream, urging her to come back to Hell's Kitchen to find him, and promising he will be waiting for her when she is ready. It would be the last time he'd ever play Matt Murdock.
  • Canon Foreigner: Kinkou is the only member of Kirigi's squad who has no comic counterpart. Roshi has no direct counterpart in the comics even though he is the leader of the Hand in this movie. And the Millers were created specifically for the plot of this film.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Elektra initially decides not to go through with assassinating the Millers, departing the island knowing someone else will just do it instead. When she senses the Hand Ninja Assassins arriving to murder the Millers on the island, and has a precognitive vision of Abby screaming, she decides to go back to save them instead of departing and leaving them to their fate.
  • Character Development: Elektra starts out cold and angry about her tragedies in ''Daredevil', the loss of her family, her murder and separation from Matt, having a violent rage when she goes too far with fighting members of the Chaste, before being banished for her imbalance by Stick. She went on to become an assassin, before eventually meeting the Millers and seeing their kindness towards her, seeing them as human beings, and is unable to assassinate them afterward. Instead she goes on to risk her life protecting them from the Hand, and by the end of the movie after successfully protecting them and avenging her mother, she has calmed down a great deal, more freely displaying emotion and is at peace with herself and her past. Reconciling with her old mentor Stick in the process.
  • Cloth Fu: Elektra fights Kirigi in a room full of flying white sheets. The villain seems to be manipulating them somehow to distract Elektra and/or hide his movements. Though as described by Roger Ebert, "we're expecting maybe an elegant Zhang Yimou sequence, and it's more like they're fighting with the laundry."
  • Contract on the Hitman: The Hand basically puts one on Elektra after her failed attempt. Subverted if it was Stick all along who put her up to assassinating the Millers as a test, as is implied by him.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Compare and contrast Roshi and Kirigi to Kingpin and Bullseye in Daredevil.
    • Kingpin and Roshi are each a Corrupt Corporate Executive and are the Man Behind the Man, although unlike Kingpin, Roshi does not get involved in a fight with Elektra, being too busy leading The Hand from Japan. He also lacks any personal vendetta with Elektra that Kingpin did with murdering Matt's father.
    • Bullseye and Kirigi are both mercenaries who murdered one of Elektra's parents. Bullseye was an Irish Large Ham who loves murder and tries to accost Elektra during their fight while Kirigi is stoic, showing no attraction to Elektra. Bullseye was bald and wore an all black leather ensemble, Kirigi has long hair and wore a white martial arts gi. Both do manage to get under her skin by bringing up her murdered loved ones, but the only main difference in the end is Kirigi ends up getting gutted, while Bullseye is still alive somewhere.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Though Elektra first appeared in Daredevil, the film explores her own story that is similar yet different from Matt's. Both are about a character who wears red whose life went downhill after a parent's death. Matt was self-taught in his fighting by "watching" his father and using his senses since he was 12. Elektra, before her death, was taught by a different sensei each year since she was 5 and developed her powers as part of her resurrection as an adult. Both are still haunted by their parents' deaths and learn though a seemingly-unrelated situation involving mercenaries and protecting a parent and daughter from them who the killer is. Matt failed to save Elektra and her father, while Elektra only barely saved Abby with those same mystical abilities. Matt decided Wilson Fisk wasn't worth killing, while Elektra doesn't give Kirigi the same treatment as she had become a professional assassin instead of a hero.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Roshi. Giving orders from a boardroom. It comes across that the Hand is The Mafia or Yakuza and not just an evil organization.
  • The Corrupter: Despite not being mentioned in anyway, Bullseye is this to Elektra. His murder of her father and Elektra herself made her extremely aggressive. She's become a mercenary, just like him, only she's very stoic and distanced. In Daredevil, she was a more well-adjusted person capable of having a normal life. Though by the end of this movie Elektra has undergone a good deal of Character Development, mellowed out, losing her rage and regaining her humanity and inner peace.
  • Deadly Sparring: A flashback shows Elektra brutalizing her sparring partners, much to Stick's disapproval. He orders her to leave the dojo as it is clear she cannot control her violent tendencies.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: Elektra over the course of the story, with her time around the Millers and Stick, being a good deal less cold by the end.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Typhoid, The Dragon to Kirigi's Big Bad is the final threat to be dispatched by Elektra, soon after she slays Kirigi himself.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: In the finale. Although Kirigi wants to kidnap and train Abby to serve as a weapon for the Hand, Typhoid attempts to kill her out of envy of the girl for replacing her as the latest "Treasure" after she was a prior one.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite all the struggle she goes through, Elektra manages to protect the Millers from the Hand, making a deal that ensures they will not be targeted any longer, defeats and kills the Big Bad Kirigi and his band of followers, along with avenging her mother and Abby's in the process. She also reconciles with Stick, having learned her lesson, parting ways with him on good terms, and mellows out from the rage she had been carrying around inside her at the loss of her family and her own death and resurrection, at peace with all that transpired. In the end she vows to find the Millers again in the future, before departing for further adventures. The ending is surprisingly upbeat, and clearly just what Elektra needed after her Downer Ending in Daredevil.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Kirigi's squad consists of himself, a Japanese man, Stone who is black, Kinkou who is Ambiguously Brown, a Caucasian man named Tattoo and Typhoid Mary who is a half-Malaysian woman.
  • Face Death with Dignity: McCabe, to his credit, despite it being a Senseless Sacrifice, goes out Defiant to the End against the villains with honor, including a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner against Kirigi.
    McCabe: "Hey, dickhead. I'll bet you a thousand bucks you're dead before Elektra is."
  • Flat Character: Stone, Tattoo, and Kinkou have this bad. Typhoid has a couple of lines that catapult her into a two-dimensional character. Also, despite being the main villain, Kirigi could easily be considered a two-dimensional character.
  • Flechette Storm: The Hand's first attack on Abby involves a drum-fed handgun that shoots heavy darts at an impressive rate of fire. They also pack enough punch to go straight through wooden doors without losing much of their momentum.
  • Forceful Kiss: Elektra is no stranger to receiving these. She got one in the Director's Cut of Daredevil by Bullseye, and now by Typhoid Mary.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Elektra and Typhoid's "kiss".
  • Guard Stations Terminally Unattended: Elektra invades the lair of Jason Isaacs. Isaacs, knowing he can't escape, awaits his doom while enjoying a last glass of wine.
  • The Handler: McCabe is the go-between Elektra and the people who want to hire her.
  • Handicapped Badass: Stick is blind, but still kicks ass.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Most of the Hand's Ninjas would fall under this. At least they are now wearing black instead of red.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Elektra after she fails to make a kill because she comes to care for the marks after some time with them before she knew they were her targets.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Stone uses his superstrength to break the trunk of a tree while attacking Elektra, leaving it barely standing. When he them proceeds to chase after Abby and Mark, Elektra uses her weight to tip it over onto Stone, crushing him.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Elektra kills Typhoid Mary by throwing her sai through the bush maze. She also nails a running Abby's sleeve to a wall with a thrown box cutter in an earlier scene.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Kirigi can be seen as this as the inheritor of control of the Hand from his father, Roshi.
  • In Love with the Mark: Elektra finds herself caring about her marks that she was sent to kill, and one of them, her actual love interest in the movie, is named Mark.
  • In Medias Res: Elektra's backstory is told through a fairly large number of flashbacks.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Kirigi's weapon but it might be a case of Every Japanese Sword Is a Katana.
  • Knife Nut: Elektra and her signature sais. When those aren't available at one point, she picks up a box cutter instead.
  • Kiss of Death: Typhoid has a literal kiss of Death.
  • Left Hanging: Due to no sequel to Daredevil being made in time, the film rights of both Daredevil and Elektra reverted back from Fox to Marvel, leaving Elektra's revenge on Bullseye and a possible reunion with Matt unresolved.
  • Logo Joke: The Marvel logo features comic-book images of Elektra in its pages. Seen here.
  • Mooks: The Hand's Ninjas
  • Male Gaze: Blatantly in the first seven minutes of the movie even. After Elektra dispatches The Dragon of her target, the camera then shifts to her exposed backside, then to her ass and stays there for some time
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Stick is Elektra's master then briefly Elektra is Abby's master.
  • Morality Pet: Mark and Abby Miller serve as this to Elektra's cold blooded assassin, softening her more over the movie as she fights to protect them, with her as a love interest for Mark and a mother/older sister mentor figure for Abby.
  • Mr. Exposition: Elektra's first on-screen target DeMarco (Jason Isaacs in an uncredited role) exists only to establish Elektra as a world-class assassin with an almost mythical reputation. And then she kills him.
  • Missing Mom: Elektra and Abby both have mothers who died when they were younger.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Elektra, who wears skintight red leather for most of the movie, and can be seen in a bikini training to hold her breath underwater.
    • Typhoid has her moments as well. Her forceful kiss with Elektra may count as one of them.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Hand, with little explaination of their organization or a backstory.
  • Neck Snap: At least one villain is dispatched this way. One snaps his own neck.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: May or may not be part of Elektra's personal code, but she gives in to this regarding the Millers, undergoing Character Development.
  • Nice Guy: Mark towards the more cool and stoic Elektra, regardless of the dire circumstances he and his daughter Abby are in. Gradually helping defrost her a good amount.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: McCabe attempting to pull a You Shall Not Pass! merely makes it possible for Kirigi and his followers to easily track Elektra and the Millers when Kirgi reads his mind before executing him.
  • Ninja School: Stick basically runs a mixed martial school.
  • No Body Left Behind: The Hand villains turn to dust in a flash of green light. Even the major villains end this way.
  • Off with His Head!: Poor McCabe for angering Kirigi with a remark about how Elektra was going to kill him, following his failed You Shall Not Pass!.
  • Old Master: Stick.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Hand's Board in a very dark boardroom so as to give Sinister Silhouettes.
  • Power Tattoo: Tattoo has the power to summon animals from his tattoos which cover his body. Snakes, Spiders, Wolves, and Hawks are all at his command. He uses them to spy as well as to fight for him.
  • Precision F-Strike: When she learns Kirigi is on the case, Elektra can't help but say "shit". You can't blame her.
  • Product Placement:
    • For Rite Aid. That's right, Rite Aid.
    • And Close-Up toothpaste.
    • Abby states she bought her bracelet on eBay which turns out out to be a Chekhov's Gun which she uses later as her main weapon.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Kirigi has his own squad, comprised of Tattoo (summons animals to fight for him through his tattoos), Typhoid Mary (a Walking Wasteland), Stone (super strength and immunity to attacks that he's expecting), and Kinkou (perfect balance).
  • Race Lift: Stone - from Japanese to black, Typhoid Mary - from Caucasian to Asian (half Malaysian to be specific) and Tattoo - from Japanese to Caucasian.
  • Scars are Forever: When Elektra is putting on her shirt from swimming, a scar just under the area of her breasts can be seen, dark red. This is presumably where Bullseye impaled her. It also shows coming back to life did not instantly heal all her wounds.
  • Secret Test of Character: Stick is implied to have done one to Elektra after banishing her from the Chaste for her violent anger by being the one who hired her to assassinate the Millers in the first place, but secretly had her wait on the island and meet them for a couple days before receiving their identities as her targets. Because she spent some time with them, seeing them as the kind people they were, she found herself unable to go through with assassinating them, instead protecting them from the Hand when it came after them and going back to Stick and the Chaste for help with doing so.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There is a convenient tunnel under McCabe's farmhouse that Elektra, Abby and her father use to flee from the villains as they surround the house.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: McCabe's You Shall Not Pass!. Heroic or not, it doesn't harm or kill any of the villains nor buy much time for the others escape. In fact, Kirigi simply reads his mind to find out where Elektra and the Millers have gone, which wouldn't have been possible if he had just gone with them in the first place.
  • Shout-Out: Abby and Mark Miller is a subtle one to Elektra's creator, Frank Miller.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Typhoid is the only woman among four men in Kirigi's hit squad.
  • Spin-Off: This movie is a spinoff of Daredevil.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Elektra chooses a tricked-out compound bow for her assassination of Abby and her father.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Kimagure — Combat Clairvoyance combined with martial arts and the power to control life and death.
  • Super OCD: Elektra shows this. She must have all her toiletries, fruits and veggies lined up just so. She is also a Neat Freak who cleans to avoid leaving her DNA. Abby is also shown having this by her counting windows early in the film.
  • Too Dumb to Live: McCabe for trying to pull a You Shall Not Pass! against Kirigi and the rest of his supernaturally powered followers with only a simple shotgun, instead of fleeing with Elektra, who he had the best chance of survival with knowing her skills as he did.
  • Touch of Death: Typhoid has a literal killer touch where everything she touches ages, withers and then dies, which is opposite to Stick who can bring back the dead by laying on hands and using Kimagure.
  • Weapon of Choice: Elektra her Sai, Abby her Warrior Beads, Kirigi his Katanas, Stick his Bo, Stone a club.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: There is a lot of needing fathers' approval subtext going on in the movie. Elektra on some level seems to want Stick's approval. Kirigi seeks his father Roshi's approval. It can even be read that Abby wants her father's approval. When the title of the movie is Elektra you have to expect some father issues.
  • You Have Failed Me: Apparently all Hand members are supposed to kill themselves if they failed.
  • You Killed My Father: Both Elektra and Abby's mothers have been killed by the Hand.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Attempted by McCabe, but ends up being a Senseless Sacrifice that just gets him killed and helps reveal Elektra and the Millers location to the villains.