As Marvel Studios continues to develop their Daredevil revival, they should look to and learn from the Director’s Cut of the Daredevil movie.
While Marvel fans today are most familiar with Charlie Cox’s version of Matt Murdock, he was not the first to don the red spandex in live-action. The most famous version of the character before the MCU was Ben Affleck’s iteration. Affleck starred as The Man Without Fear in the critically maligned Daredevil movie from 2003.
A director’s cut of Daredevil was released the following year, reintroducing approximately thirty minutes worth of footage into the film. This version also garnered a R rating from the MPAA and was received much better by film critics. Coincidentally, Ben Affleck would undergo a similar experience years later as Batman in the DCEU.
The director’s cut may be an improvement over the theatrical edition, but it’s not without its flaws. There are several pitfalls of the film that Marvel Studios needs to avoid if they wish to succeed in reintroducing audiences to Matt Murdock’s world.
DAREDEVIL IN THE MCU NEEDS TO AVOID THE EDGINESS OF THE FILM
The first glaring issue of the Daredevil movie is how edgy and brooding it is. Early 2000’s rap-metal and Evanescence tracks make up a good chunk of the soundtrack. On top of that, whenever Matt Murdock is alone, he exudes enough angst to make Titans proud.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe return of Daredevil will likely avoid this flaw for two reasons. Firstly, Matt Murdock is unlikely to appear in any R or TV-MA rated projects moving forward, largely because Marvel isn’t developing those outside of Deadpool III. Secondly, the third season of the show began with Matt as grim and downtrodden as we’d ever seen him, and he has since risen up from that inner darkness.
MURDOCK CANNOT BE A KILLER IN HIS MCU RETURN
Ben Afleck’s Daredevil also has no issue with executing lethal punishment until the last fifteen minutes of the film. One critical moment saw him spare the life of Kingpin, declaring “I’m not the bad guy”. The problem with this scene is that just moments before, Daredevil threw Bullseye, who’d been shot and was begging for his life, out the window of a cathedral and into oncoming traffic.
Matt Murdock struggled with whether or not he should take the lives of people like Wilson Fisk throughout every season of the Netflix Daredevil TV series. If Murdock still struggles with the inclination to act like The Punisher years after the conclusion of that TV show, Marvel Studios will be fighting an uphill battle to justify that creative choice.
DAREDEVIL NEEDS TO BRING BACK WILSON BETHEL AS BULLSEYE
Bullseye is another element of the Daredevil Director’s Cut that could be relevant to the Marvel Cinematic Universe DD revival. Colin Farrell played Bullseye in the film, and his performance is painful to watch. Farrell takes the audaciously bad writing for his character and somehow makes it worse by hamming it up like a deadly Jim Carrey. Hopefully Farrell fares better as Penguin in The Batman.
Wilson Bethel plays Benjamin Poindexter in the MCU, and his evolution into Bullseye was teased at the end of Daredevil season three. Considering that the MCU’s present day is several years after that, it is quite likely that Poindexter has been operating as the assassin Bullseye for some time now. The MCU Bullseye already has a great backstory, so all Marvel Studios has to do is call Bethel back, give him a super suit and a decent script, and then fans will witness the greatest version of the character yet.
The Daredevil Director’s cut is a strange, uneven and fascinating piece of Marvel’s film history, and while it may not be perfect, the MCU can learn from its successes and its mistakes. You can catch Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home, in theaters now.
What do you think MCU Daredevil should learn from Ben Affleck’s Daredevil? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!