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Daredevil: Director's Cut (15)



Review: Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by writer/director Mark Steven Johnson and producer Avi Arad. Giving the Devil His Due: The Making of Daredevil - The Director's Cut.

THERE'S a lot to be said for director's cuts, given that most seem to fare better (once released) than the 'audience-friendly' versions that are frequently placed into cinemas.

Blade Runner is one of the most obvious examples of a film that got better for resorting to the director's original version, while even the likes of King Arthur and Exorcist: The Beginning have benefited from reverting back to their origins.

So it comes as little surprise to find that Daredevil: Director's Cut marks something of an improvement on the theatrical release of Marvel's blind crime-fighting superhero.

Not that I found the original Daredevil to be that bad a film in the first place, merely one which hinted at being able to offer a great deal more.

I always liked the dark tone of the film which, at the time, marked a darker direction for superhero movies.

What's notable about Mark Steven Jackson’s director's cut, however, is that it makes things even darker, placing less emphasis on Daredevil’s relationship with Elektra and giving viewers a greater insight into the character of Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck).

As such, the film takes more time to explore his upbringing and relationship with his father, as well as his work as a lawyer defending the underdog, thereby providing an interesting contrast to the dingy, dark world he inhabits.

As a result, audiences are introduced to a brand new character, Dante Jackson (played by Coolio), a former drug dealer/addict framed for a murder he didn’t commit.

And given more time to enjoy the supporting performances of Jon Favreau (as Daredevil's best friend and legal aid) and Joe Pantoliano (as a reporter), who are given much more to do.

Those who found the love-story between Daredevil and Elektra (Jennifer Garner) to be diverting will be relieved to hear that it's also given less time, so as not to remove the focus from Murdock's torment.

This is, as Jackson explains in one of the featurettes, a story about one man's attempt to find justice for the murder of his father, more than a revenge story driven by a lost love.

As such it provokes many obvious comparisons with the likes of Spider-Man (and even Batman) but manages to maintain an identity more of its own.

The use of religious imagery, in particular, is a highlight, as is the longer screen-time afforded to Colin Farrell's wickedly OTT villain, Bullseye.

All of which serves to ensure that Daredevil: Director's Cut rights the supposed wrongs of the theatrical release and serves to provide die-hard devotees with the film they might have been hoping for in the first place.

It's well worth checking out to decide for yourself.

 

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