Daredevil

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios
Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin/Wilson Fisk
Colin Farrell as Bullseye
Jon Favreau as Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson
Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich
David Keith as Jack Murdock
Scott Terra as Young Matt Murdock
Erick Avari as Ambassador Nikolaos Natchios
Coolio as Daunte Jackson
Ellen Pompeo as Karen Page
Kevin Smith as Jack Kirby (Lab Assistant)
Frankie J. Allison as Abusive Father
Lennie Loftin as Detective Manolis
Paul Ben-Victor as Quesada

Special Features:

Disc One –

Full Length Director and Producer Commentary

Enhanced Viewing Mode – Takes You Behind The Scenes As You Watch The Film

On-Screen Trivia Track

Audio Description Track For the Visually Impaired

DVD-ROM Content – Comic Book Chronology, Sensory Quiz, Web Links, and More!

Disc Two –

All New 60-Minute Documentary: “Beyond Hell’s Kitchen”

All New 60-Minute Documentary: “The Art Of Daredevil”

6 Production Featurettes: “L.A. For New York”, “Combat Choreography”, “Costume Design”, “Smoke And Fire”, “Film Work”, and “Seeing With Sound”

HBO “Making Of” Documentary

Multi-Angle Scene Studies

Jennifer Garner Screen Test

Shadow World Comic Book-To-Film Comparison

“A Day With Tom Sullivan” Featurette

Kingpin Featurette

3 Music Videos: “Won’t Back Down” by Fuel, “For You” by The Calling, and “Bring Me To Life” by Evanesence

5 Still Galleries: Storyboards, Costumes, Set Design, Production, and Props

Character Bios

Theatrical Trailers

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
English, Spanish, and French Language Tracks
English and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 103 Minutes

Synopsis:
“Daredevil” is based upon the Marvel comic book.

As a child, Matt Murdock was blinded by biological waste that took his sight, but gave him new gifts. His other senses were heightened to superhuman levels. His hearing, in particular, began to work like a radar allowing him to “see” the world around him. He also gains enhanced balance and coordination. As an adult Murdock uses his powers to fight crime. By day he’s a lawyer. By night he’s an urban vigilante dispensing justice.

The superhero gig doesn’t allow him to get involved in lasting relationships with women, but that changes when he meets Elektra. Beautiful and rich, she’s also a highly trained martial arts expert with a dark past. Elektra and Matt fall in love with each other. But it couldn’t last, could it?

Elektra’s father is involved in organized crime with the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. When he tries to back out of his shady dealings, Fisk puts a contract on his head. He hires Bullseye, an assassin with the ability to throw any object with deadly accuracy. When Elektra’s father is killed, it appears that Daredevil is responsible. She seeks revenge on him, unaware that Fisk intends to have Bullseye kill her as well.

“Daredevil” is rated PG-13 for action/violence and some sensuality.

The Movie:
“Daredevil” is a fun film filled with action, adventure, romance, and a number of great laughs. It’s the perfect popcorn movie. While I liked “Spider-Man” a bit better than “Daredevil”, I still thought this was a great film.

I’m a big Marvel Comics fan. While I never followed the Daredevil comics, I was very familiar with the characters and storylines. This film seems to follow those comics very faithfully. Comics fans will get an additional bit of enjoyment out of easter eggs spread throughout the story. Look for references to various Marvel Comics writers and artists who have worked on the series. Also look for a cameo by Daredevil writers Kevin Smith and Frank Miller.

While many may brush off “Daredevil” as another generic superhero, he does have some powers and characteristics that are quite unique. His radar sense is an incredibly cool effect in the film. As sound waves pass over objects, Murdock gets a reflection of the sound that lets him see things. This is used particularly well in a scene where he “sees” Elektra through rain drops splashing on her face. It’s quite a beautiful effect. Daredevil also has unique problems to overcome. He loses teeth after a fight. He takes prescription drugs for pain. He sleeps in a sensory deprivation tank to block out all the sounds from the world around him. He goes to confession. His everyday life is closer to what it would be like to be a superhero in the real world. The fact that he’s otherwise a normal human without powers also makes him significantly more vulnerable. There are even some powerful moments when he must remind himself that he’s not the bad guy.

The casting of this film is perfect. Ben Affleck makes a great Daredevil (except for the fake red hair). He handles the action very well. He also plays a blind guy with a fine attention to detail. We see him read brail to pick out his clothes. He folds his money in particular ways to know what denominations they are. He’s even not above playing up his “handicap” to flirt with a girl. It all comes together to make him a more likable character when he’s not in costume fighting crime. Affleck is also a perfect match with Jennifer Garner as Elektra. Beautiful and tough, she is the best super-heroine ever to come along. She holds her own very well against the bad guys while charming everyone else with her stunning looks. The romantic scenes between her and Affleck are what make this movie most interesting and most memorable. They make it a good choice to release on Valentine’s Day. I think women will enjoy this story, too.

“Daredevil” has a fantastic supporting cast. Colin Farrell is way over the top as Bullseye. From the first moment he appears on screen you can tell he’s a total psycho. It gets more outrageous and fun from there. He’s one of the cooler bad guys to come along in a while. Jon Favreau brings some great humor into the mix as Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson. He has some of the funniest lines in the film and he carries on a running gag about alligators in the sewers that will have folks laughing. I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much from Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin. Fortunately, I thought he got the job done well enough. While he didn’t come across as a savvy businessman like he does in the comics, he does bring toughness and style to the movie that the character needed.

As much as I enjoyed “Daredevil”, I’ll admit that it did have some flaws. Fortunately, they are forgivable ones. The action required a bit too many wire stunts for my tastes. A person flying around in impossible moves is admittedly “comic-booky”, but the film is so otherwise grounded in reality that I didn’t feel it fit in. I thought the action would have been cooler without it. I also thought some of the very CG looking effects looked better on the small screen than they did on the big one.

The film is fast paced which is good. There are no long, lingering dull moments in the film. However, there are a couple of times in the story where you get the distinct feeling that something is missing. There’s a big noticeable skip in plot elements. I can’t get into details without spoiling parts of the film, but you’ll see what I mean when you view it. Maybe we’ll get them in the director’s cut of the DVD.

I also thought the final resolution between Matt Murdock and the Kingpin was unbelievable based on his confrontations with other bad guys throughout the film. Again, I can’t discuss it without getting into spoilers, but what I mean will become apparent when you see it.

Other than these minor gripes, I thought “Daredevil” was a first class effort all the way around. This is a fun movie and another home run for Marvel Comics. Bring on the sequel! (And be sure to watch the credits to see the final fate of one of the characters.)

The Extras:
As you might expect from a genre film, the DVD offers up a TON of extras. First of all, you navigate the menus through the “Shadow World”. Brail menus pop up, then transform into text (like in the opening credits). Unfortunately, the text is rather fuzzy and I found it hard to read the menu selections.

While the extras are fantastic, there is at least one glaring omission – deleted scenes. Director Mark Steven Johnson stated that over 20 minutes of footage was cut from the film. As you watch the documentaries, you even get quick glimpses of some of the missing scenes. However, they were left off of this DVD. It was a bit of a disappointment that they were gone, but I believe you can expect a director’s cut (which could even have an R rating) in the near future. It’s too bad that we must wait for that extra footage, but there’s more than enough on this two disc set to hold you over. Here are some of the highlights:

Full Length Director and Producer Commentary – Mark Steven Johnson and producer Gary Foster provide the commentary for this DVD. It is lively and interesting and gives you lots of information and trivia that you won’t find elsewhere on the DVD. They talk about what happened behind the scenes while filming (like LA residents throwing trash on them as they filmed in an alley), what you might expect in an Elektra sequel, and much more. It’s very much worth listening to if you’re a Daredevil fan.

Enhanced Viewing Mode – As you watch the movie, a logo will pop up. When you hit the button, it takes you into a quick documentary about what you just saw. For example, you’ll be treated to a multi-shot view of the opening special effects, the background plates, and the footage before effects were added in. It’s very interesting and probably the first way you’ll want to view the movie when you bring it home. It’s also the main content featuring the effects on this DVD.

On-Screen Trivia Track – On the widescreen version, bits of trivia will periodically pop up in the black bars in the bottom. It will give you trivia from the comic (like what happened to Matt Murdock’s mother), info about the cast (like how the bully kid is a regular on The Sopranos), and more. I also recommend watching this version. The trivia doesn’t pop up as fast and as furiously as I might have liked, but it has a lot of good info to share.

Audio Description Track For the Visually Impaired – I haven’t listened to this yet, but I think it’s a fantastic addition to the DVD. I commend the creators for adding it.

All New 60-Minute Documentary: “Beyond Hell’s Kitchen” – This is a stunning documentary about the making of the movie. It covers everything from the purchase of the rights to the movie to principle photography to scoring to the final release. There is a TON of behind the scenes footage here. In fact, as already mentioned, it shows many of the scenes cut from the film like Matt Murdock destroying a car, Matt and Foggy trying another case, and more. They get into heavy detail in the making of the costume that is really interesting. If you so choose, you can view it with an enhanced viewing option. As a logo pops up, you hit it and it kicks into a featurette. These include “L.A. For New York”, “Combat Choreography”, “Costume Design”, “Smoke And Fire”, “Film Work”, and “Seeing With Sound”. If you don’t want to watch these featurettes within the documentary, you can watch them individually apart from the video. Overall, this is one of the best Making Of documentaries I’ve ever seen.

All New 60-Minute Documentary: “The Art Of Daredevil” – The filmmakers pay homage to the comic book origins of Daredevil with this amazing documentary on the making of the comic. This 60-minute video interviews Stan Lee, John Romita, John Romita Jr., Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, and others who have contributed to Daredevil over the years. Simply put, it’s the most thorough video I’ve seen on the making of a comic in a long time. Even if you’re not a Daredevil fan, you’ll truly appreciate the creative process behind the character. I have to admit that Frank Miller’s stuff is a bit of a mixed bag to me, but his discussion about his writing on Daredevil was some of the most interesting and amusing commentary on the DVD. I highly recommend watching this video.

HBO “Making Of” Documentary – This is the Cliff Notes version on the making of Daredevil. While it features a lot of the same footage as the 60-minute documentary, it has a few new things and the added perk of featuring Jennifer Garner as host. She walks through Daredevil comic panels introducing each segment. It’s a visually impressive feature, not only because of Garner. However, watching her is reason alone to check this out. Yowza!

Multi-Angle Scene Studies – You can watch fight scenes between Daredevil and the Kingpin or Elektra and Bullseye from multiple angles in this feature. You also have the added option of seeing multiple takes of the fight scenes. Seeing it this way really makes you appreciate how well the fights are choreographed and how well the actors are handling the action.

Jennifer Garner Screen Test – Garner is shown reading through the scenes from the movie. Again, she alone is worth watching this. Yowza again!

Shadow World Comic Book-To-Film Comparison – This is probably the weakest of the DVD extras, but it’s still interesting. In this feature, they show scenes of Daredevil using his powers in the movie, and then they show the comic story panels that inspired them. Comic geeks will get enjoyment out of it, but it is kind of redundant if you’ve already seen the movie.

“A Day With Tom Sullivan” Featurette – The title of this made me say, “Huh? Who’s Tom Sullivan and why’s he on this DVD?” It turns out he’s the blind consultant for the movie. This short documentary follows him through a normal day as he talks about growing up blind, he plays golf, jogs on the beach, works out at the gym, and more. While I wish they had included deleted scenes rather than this, it is still an interesting feature about a remarkable fellow.

Kingpin Featurette – Michael Clarke Duncan talks about the Kingpin, his origins, and what it was like playing him. This is a very brief video and a little bit of a waste of space.

3 Music Videos: “Won’t Back Down” by Fuel, “For You” by The Calling, and “Bring Me To Life” by Evanesence – All of these videos are first rate and a bit of fun to listen to. Considering the song by Evanesence is still playing on the radio months after the movie’s release, it’s quite a popular video to appear to this DVD.

5 Still Galleries: Storyboards, Costumes, Set Design, Production, and Props – This is yet another area where it appears we’re not getting all the extras that we could. For example, the costumes gallery only features art for Daredevil. There’s nothing on the costumes of Elektra or Bullseye. Maybe we can expect them on a future DVD edition as well.

Character Bios –These are rather weak one-paragraph character descriptions for each of the characters. Not much here for comic or movie fans.

One word of warning on these DVD extras – the language on them is rated R. There are frequent uses of the word f**k, s**t, and more. While it won’t bother many people, you might get upset if there isn’t a warning then your little kid hears it while watching the video. I think there should have been some sort of warning or they could have at least beeped it out in the footage. Be warned!

The Bottom Line:
“Daredevil” makes a great DVD that is a must-have for your collection. It should appeal to comic geeks, movie fans, and general audiences alike. The fantastic extras make this DVD most interesting, but expect another director’s cut edition some time in the future.

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