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DAREDEVIL, 2003
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DAREDEVIL The Director's Cut
Classic Movie Review
Directed by Mark Steven Johnson
Starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Colin Farrell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Jon Favreau
Review by Andrew Kosarko



SYNOPSIS:

Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock / Daredevil: An attorney-at-law with a disability. He was blinded as a youth in a radioactive accident that also drastically heightened his remaining senses and gave him a "radar-sense", which allowed him to perceive his surroundings. After this, he makes a silent promise with his father to "stick up for the long shots". His father is killed not long after and at that moment, he vows to seeks justice by any means. At night, Murdock becomes Daredevil, and takes justice into his hands.

REVIEW:

I must preface my review by saying that Iím reviewing the DIRECTORS CUT and not the original film. Many times, when you buy a directors cut, thereís some added scenes and youíre like ďohÖ.thatís a nice little treat.Ē Not in this case. Not at all in this case. And most definitely, not in the way you thinkÖ.

The Story:

The story is somewhat strong. Youíre not really sure where itís going most of the time, but itís interesting enough to hold your attention. The Elektra storyline, in my opinion is completely un-needed and in the studio cut completely hinders the film. You can tell some executive suit had his hands meddling in the story. When you see the directors cut, itís used as a tool for our main heroís story. It emphasizes the hurt and loneliness that Matt Murdock is going through as daredevil and helps separate him from most superheroes of modern day. Case in point, when he hears sirens and Elektra asks him to stay. In the studio cut, he stays with her. As a fan boy, I slam my head through a wall. In the directors cut, he leaves.YES! It was a stand up and cheer moment to see something like that changed. In my opinion, itís little character development things like that that say so much more and are far more interesting than extended scenes that give you more un-needed insight into the plot. The main plot of Matt Murdock tracking down and taking on the Kingpin is flimsy at times, and you wonder why it takes so long for him to decide to go after him. But when he doesÖitís somewhat of a let down. The fight isnít built up to all that well. They make Kingpin into an ďhonorableĒ thug. Which, in the comics, heís not. He sends the guards home in the film. In the comics, Daredevil would have fight his way to the top to take on Kingpin. This robbed us of some great action sequences in my opinion. All so we could see Daredevil fight Kingpin fresh under some water. Overall, itís satisfying as a story, but nothing to write home about.

Acting:

Iím going to seem a little lazy in this, but I assure you, Iím not. There is no way I can rate the acting in the film by each actor. Thereís very little ďemotionĒ in everyone. Itís just flat overall. No one steals the show, and not one of them ďfalls behind.Ē I really canít put it into words how I feel about the acting. Itís just, ďindescribably boring.Ē

Directing:

The fault on Mark Steven Johnson is that his heart is in the right place, but Iím not sure his abilities are up to par as a film director. The stories would work great in comic books, but not on film. The directing, in terms of emotional turns, doesnít seem to be there. Everything is flat and dry to me. Forced even at some points. Almost as if a recent film school graduate was directing. I mean, itís not deplorable by any means. Certainly a watchable movie. But in the end, it doesnít feel like it has much heart in it.

Cinematography:

Like the other Marvel movies (Spider-man, Iron Man, X-Men) this film has a strong sense of color direction and is very well translated from comics to film. The shots are well done and very poetic, which is nice. Daredevil has always had a religious undertone so to feel that kind of ďmoodĒ in the film was a great addition.

Production Design:

Like I stated above, Marvel does a great job of translating both their shots and their worlds from comic to film. I see the strong color and the styles of the world, but I still think of comics and yet, donít feel as though Iím not in a realistic setting.

Editing:

Most definitely one of the best edited films for the Superhero genre. Iím not talking overall cut to cut editing, I mean by the structure of the film as a narrative whole. Granted, I havenít read the script for this film, but from watching it numerous times thereís a feeling that most of it was sculpted in the editing room. Especially when comparing the studio cut and the DC.

Score:

Easily forgettable. Marvelís biggest fault in itís films is finding a voice for itís heroes through their music. The best yet has been Iron Man, and thatís only because of Ozzy Osbourne.

Special Effects:

Strong. Not Spider-man 3 strong. But up there. The fight scenes are well done, are as the intrusive effects for Daredevilís superpowers. In closing:

Iíd like to add the last, curveball for why this film is better than the studio cut. Mr. Gangsterís Paradise himself Ė Coolio. Thatís right I said it. There is a whole side plot line with Coolio as a framed criminal that Matt Murdock defends because he can tell heís truthfull even though tons of evidence and witnesses say different. Itís not only VERY interesting, but it adds insight to Murdockís character and stands as a metaphor for the Superheroís view of his city and his resolve to do what he believes is right. All in all, this film has many of the strong points and weak points of a Marvel film, but shows the depth and potential that a lot of lower-tier Marvel heroes have. Itís only sad that this wasnít the version shown in theatres. If it had been, Daredevil would have been revered just as highly as Spider-man, Iron Man and the X-men. But who would have known that a lack of Coolio would have been the strongest fault?

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