The film Daredevil starts off with Daredevil at a church, weakened and nearly unconscious. He is found by Father Everett, who unmasks him to see that it is Matthew Murdock, a blind lawyer. Matt's mind then goes back to how he got his powers.
An unknown time ago, young Matt was growing up with his father, a boxer named Jack "The Devil" Murdock. Jack frequently made Matt promise that he would study hard, and not end up a loser like him. A few days later, Matt is walking home from school along the docks, when he sees his father attacking someone. Out of fear, Matt runs away, but has radioactive waste sprayed into his eye when a forklift accidentally opens a barrel. Matt wakes up in hospital some time later, blind, but with his remaining senses superhumanly sharp. His father and him make a silent promise to each other to never give up.
Matt's father regrets this promise later, as he is supposed to purposely lose a fight, but doesn't for Matt's sake. As a result of this, Matt's father is murdered.
Going forwards about ten years later, Matt is a lawyer alongside his colleague Franklin "Foggy" Nelson. In court, he uses his super hearing to tell that a man is guilty, but cannot prove it. As a result, the criminal goes free, but Matt decides to stop him. That night, he gets into his Daredevil costume and tracks down the man to a bar. After he defeats everyone else in the bar, he chases the man to a subway station, and pushes the man onto the tracks, where he is run over by a subway. The next day, the police find the body, and a reporter named Ben Urich tries to convince them it was Daredevil's work, but the police don't believe him.
That same day, Foggy and Matt are in a cafe, where Matt notices a young woman. He follows her out of the cafe, insisting that she should give him her name, but she refuses. The two have a fight in a playground, where neither are able to gain an advantage over the other, which is a first for both of them. Eventually the woman tells Matt that her name is Elektra Natchios. Elektra is the daughter of Nikolas Natchios, a billionaire, who is secretly working for the Kingpin of crime. Nikolas tells the Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) that he is going to stop crime, but after he does so, Wilson makes plans to frame him as being the Kingpin.
Shortly afterwards, the assassin Bullseye manages to kill Nikolas Natchios, and makes it look as if Daredevil is the murderer. Elektra swears revenge on Daredevil, which leads to her and Daredevil fighting. Elektra manages to badly wound and unmask Daredevil, and realises that he didn't kill her father. Just after Elektra unmasks Daredevil, she is attacked and killed by Bullseye. Daredevil escapes to a church, where the movie began, but is followed by Bullseye. The two fight until Daredevil manages to get a police sniper to shoot Bullseye's hands. Daredevil then throws Bullseye to the ground from the top of the church.
Daredevil then goes to Wilson Fisk, as Bullseye mentioned that he was the real Kingpin. Daredevil and Kingpin fight, and for a moment it seems as if Kingpin has won, but then Daredevil smashes a window, bringing rain in which makes it easier for Matt to fight in. With the advantage, Kingpin is soon defeated.
In November 2004, a DVD director's cut of the film which removed unnecessary content, upgraded the film to an R-rating and added in a thirty minute sub-plot.