Why Daredevil Director’s Cut is Kinda Awesome

“Give the devil his due”

With Ben Affleck having been announced as the next Batman for the (still untitled) Man of Steel sequel, more news on the sequel coming out recently, and the internet blowing up about everything to do with the film, I thought now would be a good time to go back and take another look at that other superhero film Ben Affleck was involved in. I’m well aware the consensus on Daredevil is that it’s a pretty terrible film. Personally, I never hated it. Sure, it could be a lot better, but it did do some things right. And the Director’s Cut does a whole lot more right than the theatrical cut ever did. (This is why I’m reviewing the DC and not the theatrical release).

Firstly, a quick recap for those that have forgotten the film (by accident or otherwise): Matt Murdock is a lawyer by day and crime fighting vigilante Daredevil by night. He patrols the area of New York known as Hell’s Kitchen and, when obviously guilty men get off their charges on his day job, his night persona jumps in to make sure justice finds them. Murdock has run-ins with a female assassin he soon falls in love with, another assassin that never misses his mark, and the big man (literally) at the top of the crime-pile: the Kingpin. What makes Daredevil different from other superheroes is that he’s completely blind; after an accident involving nuclear waste as a young boy he went blind, but gained super-human hearing that acts as a kind of sonar. The basics of the DC are still the basics of the TC, but there’s more to them. There is actually about half an hour’s worth of film added to the DC in various areas. One of the major areas that have been expanded is the relationship a young Matt had with his father. This entire segment has some bits added to it and makes their relationship seem a lot more substantial and real.

I always wonder if there’s someone that makes these outfits for our heroes

Another area that is expanded is the insertion of an entire subplot that was left out of the TC. This subplot involves a man on trial for murder that Murdock agrees to defend. What I found to be great about this sub plot was that it actually tied into the main framework of the film and helped flesh out the main storyline. Another plus was that it allowed us more time to see Matt Murdock instead of Daredevil and the film has a lot better balance of the two in the DC.

Say what you will about Ben Affleck’s acting, I don’t think he’s that bad here. Sure, he’s not great but I do think he’s more believable as Matt Murdock than as Daredevil. There are however some very good performances here from Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan. Farrell seems to be having a great time playing Bullseye, with every strange facial expression and body movement suiting his portrayal of the character. Michael Clarke Duncan was a great choice for Kingpin and seems to relish the role. While I know neither of these actors are the same as their comic book counterparts, I feel they still work well here. Unfortunately, I don’t think Jennifer Garner is very good in this film - she’s just not believable as a highly trained assassin. Believability comes up as the main focus for a lot of characters in these types of films, and Garner just doesn’t quite fit the role. (Obviously there are worse miscastings – I’m looking at you, Mila Kunis in Max Payne).

Michael Clarke Duncan just looks awesome

There are some other major problems with the film, such as the pretty terrible CGI in a lot of bigger stunts and some inconsistencies with Daredevil’s abilities. My main gripe, however, is with how comic book-like the film is in certain bits. I get that it’s a comic book movie, but when they go for realism as much as they do here, it sticks out like a sore thumb when something is using comic book logic instead of real world logic. The examples range from how far someone can jump to some wirework that is very obviously wirework. My point is: if you’re going for realism, go for complete realism.

This DC changes the focus of the main storyline slightly, focusing less on Daredevil’s romance with Elektra and more on the dual life of Matt Murdock. It also presents the dark themes of the film more openly, which any movie about Daredevil (one of Marvel’s darkest superheroes) should put front and centre. It’s also more violent, which is always a win for a comic book movie.

One of my favourite parts from rewatching this film was noticing all of the comic book nods. I first watched Daredevil long before I really got into comic books and now I can watch it from the other side and notice all these little things for fans. Such as names: all of the fighters Matt’s father beat in the boxing ring are named after famous comic book writers/artists that worked on Daredevil in the past. That little nod was really cool to me.

The film wears its comic influences of its sleeve

Overall, if you thought the original was alright then I’d recommend giving the Director’s Cut a go. It may not change the minds of people dead-set against the movie, but it’s a considerable improvement on the theatrical cut.

Final Score: 7/10

Til next time, this has been Josh writing for The Awesome Update.

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