Daredevil | 2003
Director Mark Steven Johnson has a fanboy’s enthusiasm and knowledge of Stan Lee’s comic strip, but he doesn’t have the cinematic technique to light up the screen (though, to be fair, the Director's Cut is vastly better).
Set in New York’s notorious, and largely gone, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ district, but despite a few establishing shots of New York, the filming locale is largely downtown Los Angeles, on rooftops surrounding Fifth Street and Broadway.
Los Angeles’s Olympic Auditorium is usually the venue for boxing or wrestling scenes in the movies (see Ed Wood, Rocky and Raging Bull for starters) and, seemingly true to form, the Red Devil wrestles at the Olympic. The frontage seen, though, is the old (and closed) Olympic Theatre, 313 West 8th Street, downtown Los Angeles (where Charlton Heston watches Woodstock in the 1971 version of I Am Legend, called The Omega Man), while the backstage scenes use the bowels of the old Ambassador Hotel, which stood – until it was disgracefully demolished – at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard.
The apartment of Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is the Arcade Building, 542 South Broadway, between Fifth and Sixth Streets (which also served as the movie’s HQ). You might recognise the entrance from S.W.A.T., As the spot where Hondo (Samuel L Jackson) and Jim Street (Farrell, again) check out the vegetarian cop.
The black and white party, where Murdock takes the opportunity to confront Kingpin (Michael Clarke Duncan) is the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 South Grand Avenue at Pershing Square, a smart Spanish-Italian Renaissance landmark, seen in plenty of films including Beverly Hills Cop, The Sting, Ghostbusters, In The Line Of Fire, Independence Day and Species
Even the ‘English’ pub, where Bullseye demonstrates the lethal potential of the humble paperclip, is Los Angeles. You can test your accuracy at the dartboards of Ye Olde King’s Head, 116 Santa Monica Boulevard, a British expat watering hole in Santa Monica, dating back to ye merrie dayes of 1974.
This reasonable facsimile of a good old English boozer, a stone's throw from the Santa Monica oceanfront, is great place for homesick Brits. There's a shop next door where you can get essentials such as (slightly late) UK newspapers, baked beans and proper salad cream. Much needed.
Still in LA, the church interior, where the film opens and where Murdock finally faces off against Bullseye, is the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 South Commonwealth Avenue, between 5th and 6th Streets, Downtown near MacArthur Park. The same church can be seen, also standing in for New York, in both Spiderman 2 and in National Treasure.