So it pained me greatly when I first went to see the film Daredevil at the cinema, in 2003. Staring Ben Affleck, it was an incoherent mess, a string of bad action sequences without any real story to link them. It was a horrible movie, and what really annoyed me about it was that having made it, no-one else was going to make Daredevil the movie properly.
A couple of years later, the director’s cut came out on DVD, and I (and many others) ignored it, believing that you can’t polish a turd.
However, on seeing it discounted recently in The Works, for 2.99, I thought “what the hell, how bad can it be?”
Not bad at all, is the answer. Stepping forward a bit, I’ll tell you something I didn’t realise when I watched (and enjoyed) this version. Unlike many Director’s Cut versions, this wasn’t the result of a return to the editing room, some years later. It turns out that this is the original Director’s cut that he intended to be released theatrically. Unfortunately, it was felt by the producers that the audience for this kind of movie didn’t need plot, but action, action, action. Anything that slowed the film down was cut, with the exception of an *added* love scene between Daredevil and Electra, which was not in the original script. The 127 minute film was cut to 90 minutes, the violence was toned down to avoid an R rating, and so a decent film was ruined.
So this is truly the original film Mark Steven Johnson set out to make, and very good it is too. The “new” footage makes sense of the whole thing, and fleshes out the characters. Matt Murdoch’s partner, Foggy Nelson, and reporter Ben Urich – both important characters in the comic – now have their cut scenes restored, the Kingpin is now the main villain, rather than just a bogeyman, and the film is all the better for it.
If you get a chance to grab a copy of this, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Sorry it took me so long to get around to it.