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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Daredevil: Director's Cut

Here we go with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the many movies I own.  I'm taking a look at Daredevil again, because I just got the director's cut out of a discount bin.  This was originally in my notes at August 27, 2016.

When I did Daredevil oh so long ago, I mentioned that I'd always been curious about the director's cut.  While film critics say the theatrical version is the better film, the comic book fans say the director's cut is the better Daredevil adaptation.  And when I saw the director's cut in the discount bin at Giant Tiger for just $5, I figured, "Why not?" 

As I mentioned before, the biggest difference in the director's cut is there's an entire courtroom subplot featuring rap star Coolio as Matt and Foggy's latest client.  Coolio plays Dante Jackson, a junkie and general low-life thug who's framed for murdering a hooker.  When they first meet Dante, Matt flat-out asks if he did it.  Dante says no, Matt's super-senses don't pick up any of the signs that someone's lying, so they take the case. 

Matt and Foggy head to the murder scene to check things out, and using his super-senses to be a one-man CSI, Matt figures out that the hooker was actually killed in her apartment and then dragged out to the alleged murder scene.  Matt questions the detective about this on the stand, but the detective doesn't set off Matt's super-senses.  Meaning he's telling the truth.  This confuses Matt.

Until he gets a tip from crime reporter Ben Urich.  Urich points out that the detective drives a very expensive car...something he couldn't afford on a cop's salary.  Matt confronts the detective, and learns that yes, the detective did lie on the stand.  He didn't set off Matt's super-senses because he has a pacemaker, and thus, no elevated heart rate when he lies. 

Meanwhile, back and Nelson & Murdock, Karen Page offers a fresh set of eyes on some evidence -- yes!  Karen Page gets a moment to shine -- and Nelson determines that the hooker's client, and thus the true murderer, was the Kingpin's assistant, Wesley.  Turns out he said a little too much during pillow talk, and killed her to cover his tracks.  When confronted with this evidence, Wesley squeals on the Kingpin. 

I tell you, this was a much better way of having our heroes uncover the Kingpin's identity.  And I can see what they say about this being the better Daredevil adaptation, as most of Daredevil's supporting cast get drawn in and has their moments.  As I said, Karen Page gets a moment and helps Foggy crack the case.  In the theatrical version, she only has, like, three lines, and is never identified, so you only know it's her if you're a Daredevil superfan.  Ben Urich has some nice moments as he helps out Matt and Foggy on the case.  But the true star in this subplot is Jon Favreau as Foggy, as we really see their friendship shine in their courtroom shenanigans.  We see they have a routine where they use Matt's blindness to get jury sympathy.  And there's a hilarious scene where Foggy's on his own, as Matt's out Daredeviling, so he fumbles his way through the trial. 

I remember reading an interview with Jon Favreau where he said that playing Foggy was his "in" with Marvel, and led to him directing Iron Man.  They were filming Daredevil just as Favreau had finished production on Elf (he directed that), and there was already positive buzz about it.  So the Marvel reps on set were like, "Sounds like you're a pretty good director!  We're thinking about starting our own studio and making our own films.  Let's keep in touch, and maybe you can direct one of our films."  And the rest is history. 

The rest of the film plays pretty much as the theatrical version.  We get some good character moments.  When Kingpin learns that someone's been blabbing to the press about his operation, he immediately suspects his bodyguards and kills them with his bare hands.  We get more of Bullseye's coming to America, and see him circumvent airport security.  It's all good stuff. 

All in all, it's not better and not worse than the theatrical version.  There's just more.  And it's fun to see the supporting cast fleshed out a little more.  It's tough to compare, because, in the time since I watched the theatrical version and now this director's cut, we've had two very awesome seasons of the Netflix TV series.  Of course you get to do more in 26 hours of television than you do in a 2-hour movie.  But as a compressed Daredevil story, I still think the movie is OK.

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