Thursday, 1 August 2013

Daredevil (Director's Cut, 2003)

























Back before the superhero invasion we were given this semi gritty realistic take to the man in red, and boy did they take it seriously! Although there had been a few serious Marvel flicks before this, this was the first 'Batman-like' film to come along before the enormous Nolan film 'Batman Begins'.

So what do we have? a blind man in a red leather outfit with little horns, super senses, martial arts and a custom designed billy club. To be honest I've never really been into this character and kinda though of him as a poor mans Batman. He pretty much does everything Batman does like lurking in dark alleyways and being vigilant from the rooftops in that traditional comic book gothic manner, accept DD is in New York and Batman is in Gotham. Just guys in slick suits with weapons.

The plot includes the characters origins which is fine, of course its all quite predictable and similar to all superhero origins. As a kid Matt Murdoch gets accidentally blinded by some radioactive liquid, his dad raises him whilst he boxes in the ring under Kingpin. His dad refuses to throw a fight so he gets whacked, this causes the young Murdoch to seek revenge and become the Daredevil, fighting for justice, forever in darkness, a guardian devil blah blah blah...Must admit I did like the origins though, wasn't overly long and preachy, it was simple and straight forward, looked good too.

To be honest the film isn't too bad it just lacks any real punch. There are of course plenty of money shots with DD leaping through the air in slow motion, plenty of acrobatics, martial arts and dark cityscapes for our hero to pose against, but its all style and no substance really...or should I say action. The opening battle within a seedy bar is by far the best action in the film, the whole sequence feels very 'Blade-like' visually and is good fun, After that everything is pretty anti climatic frankly, even the finale fights aren't that impressive.

Don't get me wrong the film isn't bad, its well put together and looks quite good, its just rather dull for a superhero flick. Was this the first time we had a (sort of) crossover in a superhero flick? I think it might have been. The intro of female hero Elektra is a nice add on in the film which does set up the spin-off nicely and future adventures, shame she is kinda useless here though. The bad guys are also kinda unadventurous here too, Bullseye is performed amusingly at times by Colin Farrell but the character just seemed average. Apart from hurling paperclips at everyone with his deadly aim he has nothing else to offer...accept the obligatory martial arts. I just felt DD could beat this guy easily with all his super senses, body padded suit and amazing fighting skills.

Clarke as Kingpin felt underused really, all he does is stand around and pose with his cane. His finale fight against DD is quite good but over too quickly, although I guess that is more realistic seeing as he's pretty heavy and slow. Not much of a fight for DD really. As for the Daredevil himself...well the character is kind of a second rate hero really, in my opinion, he's not up there with the main superstar heroes. In that sense Affleck fit the role perfectly because at the time he was a second rate action hero (still is). He doesn't quite have the looks, or the physique, or the voice, or the hair, or the jawline, he's a poor mans action hero, harsh but true.

Funny to see a young Jon Favreau here, who'd have thought he would be so important in the future of comic book adaptations eh.

I don't really recall the original theatrical version but this director's cut does feel much better, tighter, better plotting. I did enjoy rewatching this and the added violence does indeed help. The film was never really gritty and dark but it has its moments, the DC does enhance that in places with a bit of blood, swearing and less romance...I think. But this version definitely comes across much better as I'm sure this film was much crapper when I saw it in the cinema.

At the time of release this was probably one of the best Marvel flicks alongside 'Blade' and 'Blade II'. Believe it or not it was the darkest superhero flick seen ('Blade' aside as that's more horror) as 'Spider-Man' was very childish and 'X-Men' was clearly tamed for the kids. It still does hold up quite well despite cheesy billy club twirling moments, the iffy looking outfit, the hammy dialog with Elektra and typical dark goth shots on rooftops.

With all those super senses I feel this guy should be a member of the X-Men really. And how exactly does getting splashed with radioactive goo in your eyes enable you to leap from the tops of skyscrapers and from rooftop to rooftop as if you can fly?! It enhanced his senses so I don't get that connection but never mind.

6/10