When audiences had their first glimpse of the Ben Affleck starring Daredevil back in 2003, reception was less than stellar. That reaction led to a director’s cut that supposedly fixed the criticisms of the shorter release. Whether it’s any better as a film is still up for debate.
Key to the films problem is Ben Affleck. Nothing against his skills as an actor, but as an action star he’s less than credible. As a blind superhero in red leather? It’s even worse. He’s trying to perform his best Neo, but it comes off as campy.
The script is loaded with characters, including two villains and two heroes. Their interaction isn’t compelling, despite the foreboding presence of Michael Clarke Duncan who does great work as Kingpin. Jennifer Garner seems to be an unnecessary addition, as Elektra doesn’t do much during the film.
Despite the added material, it’s still not clear what Daredevil can do. His heightened senses don’t explain how he can impossibly leap from buildings, probably even beating out Spiderman if he tried. Apparently, his legs are also super powered.
Action is fairly frequent and stylish, but mostly incoherent. The restaurant brawl is a mish-mash of showcasing Daredevil’s moves, quick cuts, special effects, and slow motion that is nothing more than a mess. Most of the action follows this same trend, including some awful effects during a church battle.
While this may be an improvement over the theatrical release, it never comes together like the mounting flood of other superior Marvel adaptations. At over two hours, this extended cut doesn’t feel worth the time aside from die-hard fans who need to see another vision (no pun intended) of their blind hero on screen. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Daredevil is given one of those annoying transfers that jumps all over the place. Black levels are rich and deep, at times to the point of black crush. Detail is admirable in many scenes, even approaching top tier material. Sharpness is strong throughout. The gritty look of the nighttime shots hasn’t been compromised.
Then, there are the shots that completely fail on every level. Flesh tones somehow end up in neon territory, bleeding unbearably. Contrast is overblown. Detail is non-existent. The brief park fight between Affleck and Garner is a perfect example of how wrong this can look. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Video]
The DTS-HD Master mix definitely steps up when compared to the video though. Immediately apparent is the tight, deep bass that always provides a satisfying rumble. Surround use is absolutely phenomenal. As the young Daredevil wakes up after being blinded and hears the sounds around him, it’s pure directional bliss. Action scenes are packed with tracking audio that never misses a cue. Even subtle noise such as rain becomes impressive. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Audio]
A candid commentary from director Mark Steven Johnson and Marvel Studios Avi Arad delves into the shoot, cuts made by the studio, and more. For fans, it’s a fantastic track. A trivia track can also be run concurrent with the film. Beyond Hell’s Kitchen is an hour long documentary that is another feature that can be viewed during the film, or separately. It’s in-depth and another worthy piece to this disc.
A screen test for Jennifer Garner, promotional piece from HBO, and a short featurette on Kingpin are all skippable. Moving Through Space is an interesting piece on Tom Sullivan, who served as the film’s blind consultant. Giving the Devil His Due talks about the theatrical and director’s cuts, including the studio head who ordered the increased pacing. Dailies, music videos, trailers, and stills are primer for yet another hour of features on the comic itself. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Extras]