DD Directors Cut, Dissected

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Is it worth another 2 hours of your life to see if Daredevil was really supposed to be a good movie?

So if you’re anything like me, when you walked out of the theater after watching Daredevil you thought to yourself, “Eh… I’m pretty sure there was a good movie in there somewhere, just seemed like it was rushed. Like they crammed a 2 hour movie into 1.5 hours and took out all the parts that fleshed out the characters.” Because let’s be honest, the theatrical release of Daredevil was a hodgepodge of Frank Miller ideas, turned into a melodramatic mess – too much whining and crying, not enough fun. The characters had no depth at all; they were just cardboard cutouts of their 4 color selves.

Then came the announcement that Mark Steven Johnson, the man who wrote and directed Daredevil, was signed to write and direct the film version of Ghost Rider. And I became scared that he would once again take a fairly popular dark marvel character and turn them into a whiney mess. That apprehension was abated a little when a new version of Daredevil was released. This one, with an extra 30 minutes of footage, was billed as Johnson’s true vision of Daredevil. It was supposed to have everything that was missing in the theatrical release. So, in an effort to try and rid myself of some apprehension for the upcoming film version of Ghost Rider, I decided that I should give this Director’s Cut of Daredevil a try. One thing it immediately had going for it – I knew it couldn’t be worse than the original.

But I was still a bit worried. After all, what if this version wasn’t better than the original?  Then I would not only still be scared that Ghost Rider would suck, but I would also never get back the (now) 3.5 hours I spent watching this movie. And I realized that others would be worried about the same things. Now, my time may not be all that valuable, but I know others would find something much more constructive with their 2 hours, so just for you, I have decided to keep a running diary of Daredevil: The Director’s Cut.

(Author’s note – This review/diary assumes that everyone reading it has seen Daredevil. This diary will be abound with spoilers and make note of everything (noticed as) new in this version. Do not read if you have yet to see either version and want to keep the story a secret. Time stamps are running time of the movie.)

0:00 – Already you can see why this movie was chopped. Before even getting to the Main Menu, a rating appears, declaring this movie rated R by the MPAA. At least this gives the chance for more violence, sex, and bad language. We’re definitely off on the right foot.

4:00 – Do you get to see DD slide down into the church with the “Billy Club/Grappling HookTM” Accessory in the regular version? I think he just falls.

5:30 – How bout that? The priest isn’t surprised that he’s in the costume. That’s a bit more trust he puts into the priest, he’s sure to have a bigger role now.

7:05 – Young Matt curses. Leads into an extended scene with Battling Jack, then we see Matt got straight ‘A’s on his report card. Way to go Matt.

10:00 – I’m still not happy with the way he got blinded. Where’s the old man he saves?

12:00 – Another extended scene with Battling Jack. And Young Matt knows he’s special.
Random Comment – Ben Affleck voice over narration sucks.

15:00 – Young Matt toys with AJ Soprano a little more, a good 10 seconds of ridicule and smacking in the face before flipping him. He isn’t just defending himself, he’s toying with him.

16:40 – Battlin’ Jack makes the long walk down the hallway to the ring. Has a final walk to his execution feel to it and with his son no less.

19:30 – Daddy Murdock’s death scene is longer here, a little more poignant when it’s more than just two slo-mo scenes. Who decided that shortening his father’s scenes was a good idea? It’s only the character’s motivation for putting on a funny costume and fighting evil. 

21:20 – Was that just the face of a nun?

21:57 – Good shot of Ben Affleck’s beat up knees cracking as he gets out of his isolation chamber.

24:10 – That was just 15 more seconds of Foggy talking. Did someone along the way decide the audience didn’t like the secondary characters of the Daredevil mythos? Why would they do that? Foggy brings humor to the story, he grounds Matt, why eliminate it?
The fight scene in the bar when he goes after Quesada is longer. Now apparently they decided that not only did we not like the secondary characters, but we don’t like action from our comic book heroes either.

32:05 – Don’t like that he kills. Although it was fun choice for the name of the victim, most of the other creator names were used as boxers.

33:10 – An extra few seconds of Ben Urich with the burning “DD” reflecting in his glasses, apparently he’s going to be a bigger part of the movie now too. When did someone decide that Joey Pants and Jon Favreau weren’t good actors?

35:57 – Affleck puts salt into the water in the isolation chamber. And he hears someone dying of a gunshot wound.  Rough times.

37:08 – That’s a nun standing over Young Matt sleeping.

39:13 – With Foggy in the coffee shop, Affleck makes a Fight Club reference. That was really funny. More funny Foggy Nelson lines, these about a seeing eye dog incident.
Does the scene in the park get better or worse knowing now that Affleck and Garner are married and having a baby? I can’t decide.

44:36 – Ooooo, Elektra snuck away from her bodyguard, something about dad being protective. And she speaks some Greek!!! 

45:34 – The Kingpin’s entrance music was edited. Who edits background music?!?!?  And he just killed 2 of his bodyguards. He actually is a badass. Again, why weren’t we shown this? Actually showing the bad guy doing bad things in a movie? What a crazy concept!!

48:20 – We’re given the first parts of the Coolio subplot that was cut. He’s been arrested for murder. And Foggy ate the fluke. Even Coolio’s surprised Matt believes him. That sneaky guy and his heart beat hearing skills.

51:40 – More funny Foggy talking about Coolio. If he does pay like Foggy suggests he would be a good client.

52:00 – Bullseye walks through the airport. He chews paperclips like gum and scares a dog. Again, showing us the bad guy a little more is usually a good idea.

54:00 – Matt and Foggy break into the murder victim’s apartment. She was a prostitute and Foggy has a tough time with the wigs. Holy crap. Not only do we get more of the secondary characters, not only more of the bad guys, but we actually see Matt use his powers to help with a case.

57:35 – Matt gives his opening statement in Coolio’s defense, and then he and Foggy aim to get some sympathy. Would have been funnier to see Affleck fall on the floor. And Ben Urich is in court watching.

1:04:05 – Let me get this straight. In the PG rated theatrical release Matt and Elektra sleep together. The audience is shown a sex scene. In the R rated director’s cut, he actually leaves her on the rooftop to go out as DD. Is the sex scene later? (Written at the end – Nope .)

1:06:25 – There’s that nun again. And here’s the padre, having a conversation with Matt.  Told you he’d be more important.

1:08:30 – Karen Page speaks! More than one line for a girl who was one of Matt’s most important love interests, what a novel concept, turns out Mark Steven Johnson does know his Daredevil.

1:14:35 – Foggy and Kingpin’s lackey Wesley have a chat at the bar. Wesley isn’t very nice.

1:16:15 – It’s Frank Miller as “Man with pen in head.”

1:20:56 – Elektra just emptied a clip trying to hit Daredevil. For being such a superstar she has awful aim.

1:23:52 – Bullseye doesn’t want a “bloody costume.” Instead he uses a variation of a four letter word to add emphasis. Just sounds better this way.

1:24:00 – Really funny sequence of Foggy questioning Coolio on the stand, when Matt misses a day in court. And they even threw in a Turk reference.

1:28:45 – There’s another Joey Pants scene. And it ties in the Kingpin with the Coolio subplot.

1:30:40 – Matt tries to muscle a cop. Why didn’t they do this part with him in costume?

1:32:34 – Foggy and Karen in the office. I don’t know why someone decided people wouldn’t want to see these characters. I really, really don’t. Not only that but they prove their worth.

1:35:40 – I guess they thought we’d rather see Elektra play with sais in some elaborate sand bag setup. Someone has to clean that up you know. I hope it didn’t take more than one take.

1:39:20 – The DD/Elektra fight scene was longer. Why cut the action scenes?!?!

1:43:04 – The Bullseye/Elektra fight scene was longer. And he stole a kiss at the end.  You know, if they would have just kept the fight scenes it would have been 10 times better.

1:45:00 – You’ve got a movie that runs 13 minutes past 2 hours. Your flashback sequence is 1 hour 45 minutes long. Why even have it? What purpose does it serve?

1:49:15 – The Bullseye/DD fight scene was longer. Why wasn’t this the version that was in theaters?

1:50:17 – If you watched up to this point in the movie with no knowledge of the DD mythos, with the whole movie as a mystery, this was the “found” moment where everything comes together.  Something strangely absent from the theatrical release.

1:53:03 – Looks like Wesley is getting arrested. Looks like it’ll actually make sense for the cops to be coming for Fisk at the end.

1:57:20 – Do I need to mention that the Kingpin/DD fight was longer? It was. The big end fight of the movie and someone decides to cut it. @#%#!!!

2:00:15 – Coolio is a free man. And all is right in the world.

And a few more shots at the end to show all the subplots have come to their conclusion.

You know, it’s really a shame that this wasn’t the version shown in theaters. The plots actually make sense, we get to see more of the secondary characters, and there’s more action. It’s so very frustrating that we had to wait so long just for a chance to see if the movie was actually improved. My only hope now is that Johnson is given a little more freedom when putting together Ghost Rider, because apparently the man does know his comics. It would be a shame for audiences to keep thinking otherwise.

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