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The Man Without Fear’ gets a polished DVD upgrade

Mark Bemenderfer | Monday, December 6, 2004

When “Daredevil” originally hit theaters, it was met with a lukewarm reception by audiences. It felt like a shallower version of previously released superhero movies, such as “X-Men” and “Spider-Man.” Because of its poor box office earnings, the planned sequel was axed.The movie was generally considered to be a disappointment by long-time Daredevil fans and critics alike. However, director Mark Steven Johnson claimed the theatrical release was a butchered version of his original movie, with over 30 minutes of character development cut off. He maintained his film was a better movie than the sub par one the audience received.When “Daredevil” was originally released on DVD, it was the disappointing theatrical version. Now, almost two years after the film had been made, the “Daredevil: Directors Cut” has been released. But is it really a better film?The answer is a resounding yes. The scenes that were cut from the film were important ones to character development, which explained why the theatrical cut felt shallow. The Elektra love angle that dominated the theatrical release is lessened here and made into a smaller plot element, as none of the new scenes include her.New to “Daredevil: Director’s Cut” are scenes exploring the personal and professional life of the superhero’s alter ego, Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck). One of the things that made the “Spider-Man” movies so appealing to audiences was that they were able to relate to Peter Parker, as well as the heroic Spider-Man. Audiences were allowed a glimpse into his job, his love life and the complications from his superhero adventures.”Daredevil: Director’s Cut” introduces many of these elements, making it a more well-rounded movie. The character of Murdock, and his day job as a blind lawyer, is more fleshed out. The majority of the new screen time is dedicated to scenes developing Murdock’s daily life and some of the supporting characters are given more screen time as well.All of the performances in the movie were well done, if a little over the top at times. Colin Farrell, playing the villain Bullseye, is particularly eccentric in his role. Also, some may question the choice of Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. Although a large actor physically built for the role, his demeanor does not quite fit the bill for a ruthless crime lord.The audio and video for the DVD are both of superior quality. There are no major flaws or complaints on either department of this DVD release. Some parts of the film, including camera angle choices and cinematography, seemed like it would have fit better in a stylistic music video. These parts detract from the overall film, and seem frivolous. The extras are impressive on this release as well, with commentaries by the director and writer. The new segments included in this director’s cut are explained and critiqued as a part of the film, allowing the viewer to understand the original direction for the film before studio bosses imposed the film’s original cuts. They aren’t bad, but these are pretty standard features and ordinary for a DVD release. Overall, this “Daredevil: Director’s Cut” is not a bad film, and certainly better than the original. Check it out if you are a fan of superhero films or Ben Affleck. There are certainly worse ways to spend your study days.