Daredevil: Director's Cut (2004) -- It's Really Not That Bad, I Swear

by F.D. White on March 27, 2015

When Warner Bros. announced that Ben Affleck would be the next person to wear the cowl the internet exploded. Cries and expletives filled the series of tubes that run the internet and seemingly no one approved. I was one of the few who thought, as incredulous as it was to pick Affleck in the first place, that he could do a good job as Batman. One thing I constantly repeated as a source of approval was his performance in Daredevil. Not a reliable source, since I hadn't seen the film in years. But from what I remembered, if there was anything terrible about that film (which there was) it wasn't Ben Affleck's performance.

Having now re-watched it, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, I was right. Ben Affleck isn't nearly close to the worst thing in this film, and he could potentially do an excellent job as Batman. He is able to straddle playing a swaggering Matt Murdock in the courtroom who simultaneously uses his blindness as a source of pride and a pity chip in the courtroom when called four. When he puts on his suit, he becomes something entirely different, menacing and possibly psychotic. Clearly, not afraid to use extreme methods. It's an interesting dichotomy especially considering he'll have to do something similar in BvS.

Moreover, the director's cut isn't really that bad! Everyone likes to look back at this film with shit-tinted glasses, but it stands up. It's clearly not the best made film in anyways, but the director clearly put a lot of heart into making this film and it shows. Most importantly, it's fun. Despite featuring grim elements and themes, a lot of the movie is very fun and "comic book-y." The park fight scene is particularly spectacular in it's ridiculousness. Sure, a majority of the acting is hammy and over the top, but it's all done in a way that melds well with the tongue in cheek self-seriousness of the film. Also, don't get me started on the scenes that demonstate DD's echolocation ability. Wonderfully done and exactly what I wanted to see.

Still, the film isn't all that great either. It's wacky, undulating tone pulls the viewer out of the film on more than one occasion. It's not engrossing like Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy, and neither is it wholesomely fun like Joss Whedon's Avengers. It exists somewhere in between and for the sake of the film, that is going to deter people from watching it more than once, or even for one full sitting. When the second Evanescence song appeared in the soundtrack I considered if I was really watching an actual film that was released in theaters (granted, the second Evanescence song could be a Director's Cut exclusive).

It's not a perfect film by any means, wavering like it's tone between good and bad. It lacks complete vision, but, then again, so does Daredevil.




stephengervais's picture

I re-watched this last week as well and I have to agree it's really not as bad as folks make it out to be. The writing's definitely not the greatest and the Elektra scenes probably could've been cut but Aflleck gave a pretty good performance with the given material. Must say the highlight of the film for me was the Kingpin played by Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP). He gave a great performance in my opinion! I think I would've rathered a film more pitting Kingpin VS Daredevil and left the other subplots out ie Elektra and Bullseye.

On another note I tried watching Elektra do give a review for our Daredevil celebration and couldn't get through it! I may try again.

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