View all my reviews (1)
Daredevil was a movie I wanted to like but couldn’t. Sure it was occasionally fun, but the CGI silliness, OTT antics, and convoluted plot obscured what could have been a engaging and relatable origin story. There were enough worthwhile elements to make me hopeful for the spinoff Elektra, but I was sorely disappointed, and while Daredevil seemed good by comparison, a second viewing of it on DVD reminded me how bad it really was.
I originally couldn’t find a different Uncanny Antman (UA) fanedit I was looking for, so I thought I’d sample a portion of one of his other works just to see what he could do. I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the end of his “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear” fanedit without dropping it or hitting fast play, and feeling eager for more.
The opening title sequence with the Marvel Knights logo was an auspicious beginning. The focused prologue with its simple human drama was satisfying but felt unfamiliar, almost as if I was watching a reboot, but using the same actors. Only when it came to Affleck’s initial outing as Daredevil (DD) did I start to feel anything was amiss. The transition almost directly into DD’s violent confrontation felt abrupt, though a first time viewer might not notice anything missing. However, that concern dissipated as the rapid pace of the story carried me along and I realized showing DD’s initial foray without preamble symbolized the rudderless state of his life at that point and makes his self-affirmation at the end all the more powerful.
My biggest gripe is the lack of buildup to DD’s romance with Elektra. While I agree with the artistic reasons for cutting Affleck’s initial athletic flirtation with Garner, I felt their romantic development was already underdeveloped in the theatrical cut. I like UA’s restructuring to eliminate flashbacks, but perhaps one or two flashbacks to that cut scene could have been used to lend credibility to their romance. Unfortunately the two leads have no other costarring roles to mine for new material and I doubt Pearl Harbor had anything useful given Garner’s small role in it, but possibly scenes shot from the perspective of her love interest (implying it’s DD’s perspective) in some other role(s) she’d played could’ve been inserted to support the romance. Still, sufficient chemistry shone through and I was satisfied with where things ended.
The soundtrack UA ended up with felt perfect and did not distract from the unfolding of the story like in the theatrical cut. The audio and visual transitions themselves felt seamless. I would’ve like to have seen more contrast in some of the night scenes, especially since DD can “see” in the dark, but I understand the limitations of the source material and the symbolism of keeping things in the shadow.
By the end of this edit, I felt the right amount was told about Daredevil, but to expand the story in a satisfying way would’ve required a whole nother feature film. The original can be put in storage and this fanedit can be put on the shelf as a worthy professional quality replacement.
Bonus points for the fantastic DVD menu and extras UA produced for his release. The “Removed Material” while interesting examples of filmmaking technique certainly did not belong in the film proper. The fictitious “Return of the Kingpin” teaser makes for an interesting what-if. “Law & Order: Hell’s Kitchen” if actually produced could bring me back to watching police procedurals. Finally the “Nelson & Murdock” 80’s TV spoof almost makes me think Netflix should just skip their upcoming Daredevil series and go directly to a wacky retro procedural spinoff. I look forward to watching more features and shorts from this editor.
I'm only knocking the A/V due to the unavailability of an HD version, but for a DVD release, it's a 10.
I'm not going to apologize, but Daredevil was always a guilty pleasure movie for me. It was one of the first of the golden age of comic book films that actually showed the main character make each day a physical struggle. You can see a lot of pieces that were used in better films like The Dark Knight with a protagonist that gets hurt but keeps pushing forward. That said, it's a guilty pleasure for a reason. The script is weak and the direction is a mess.
Thankfully, Uncanny Antman has delivered with an exceptional edit that rearranges the narrative in surprisingly effective ways. If you hate Daredevil, this may not turn the tide, but it's certainly far more interesting (especially if you have yet to see the Director's Cut).
Starting right from the beginning, losing the narration lets the images speak for themselves and expects a bit more from the audience. The story is there, but it doesn't spoon-feed what the characters are thinking, which is nice. Also, keeping the music period to the 80s in the origin story is key. The Theatrical Cut always felt messy because of the constant barrage of current music. This cut widens it, not worried about selling a soundtrack CD.
The opening title sequence is the biggest nail in the coffin of the theatrical version. Uncanny Antman's new sequence is amazing and does so much with such a little amount of time that brings the viewer into the present, while not short-changing Matt's training and his mission over a long period of time. Amazingly well-crafted and utterly professional that is miles above the insipid original titles.
Cutting down Quesada substantially is also a stroke of genius. We only see him in the biker bar and Daredevil beats him and his goons down without saying a word. No stupid lines about justice or giving the devil his due. Just a hard-hitting beatdown. Also, Uncanny Antman THANKFULLY removes the shot of Daredevil stopping mid-fight to "watch" bullets wizzing by through one of the worst uses of the CGI for super-hearing. Daredevil doesn't kill anybody this time around, but they're surely heading to the hospital.
The only weak link in the chain is in Elektra. Unfortunately, by removing the playground fight completely, it feels like there is a piece of the story missing. It truly sticks out that we don't see Matt use his charms at all on Elektra. We see her act coldly to Matt in the coffee shop. Then the next time we see her, she's on the rooftop in a romantic scene with Matt. It's an A to C moment that is a bit jarring. We also never see that she actually is a bit of a fighter. I would love to have seen just a tiny bit of the beginning of the playground fight, that ends the scene at Matt saying, "You sure you don't want to tell me your name?" and before all the crazy flipping around and terrible score kicks in. It's too bad that Elektra takes off her jacket because it creates a continuity error to use the bookend of the Director's Cut sequence when Elektra's bodyguards show up, which would have helped wrap the scene.
Despite my misgivings about Elektra's story, which is truly hindered by the original film that Uncanny Antman worked from, everybody else's story and performance is boosted by removing extraneous comedy and melodrama. It's a wonderful domino effect that leads into major moments of the ending being removed entirely. At first, it felt like it may have removed too much, but watching it a second time and unburdening myself from the original film's structure, I realized that the indeed the church fight and Ben Urich learning the truth about Daredevil are truly unneeded. Urich still has an arc because he's the tie to the truth in the Lisa Tazio case and Bullseye is just an assassin with no personal vendetta to Daredevil. He killed Elektra, job done.
Side bar: I loved the "Psycho Killer" bar darts sequence. Very creepy use of music and tone. Also, the new Kingpin introduction with a moody orchestral is definitely the way to go. N.E.R.D. is a welcome casualty of this cut.
The fight scenes are much shorter, but they have more brutality in its ferociousness. It just plays better without all the Crouch Tiger style flying about. Kudos on these cuts. There are many and they all work for the better, especially in the final fight with The Kingpin. There were numerous times in this version that I was wincing. Even what looked stupid in the original cut (Kingpin tossing Daredevil across the room into a wall) is expertly sped up and just on the right side of believable. Also, no "use the Force" moment with Daredevil remembering his water trick to see The Kingpin. Truly amazing.
Honestly, there's so much that's great here and the restructuring of scenes was surprising in a way that left me wondering why it wasn't done that way in theatrical cut! By giving Matt some time to grieve, it gives more weight to losing Elektra and ties in better to Uncanny Antman's subdued and hopeful ending. No "here's where all the characters are" type of ending montage, just a look of actual happiness for the first time on Matt's face. Cut to credits.
Finally, that swinging bit to kick Bullseye off the motorcycle. Genius.
Watch this version. You won't be disappointed. It's definitely my go-to in the future.
OK, how do I even start this review... I promise, I was not paid to write this :) This is an ASTONISHING edit!!! It's an amazing technical, visual and auditory accomplishment. The chronology has been majorly and meticulously restructured with great success. The cuts have been chosen carefully and with precise intent. New music have been added which really adds to the atmosphere. Even special effects have been revised and improved! Uncanny Antman had a crystal clear plan and it shows. I hope to be half as good one day for my next fan edits! SPOILERS will follow...
Right from the start, after the customary credits , the professionalism and quality of the edit reveal itself. The original introduction with Matt Murdock dying in the church has been removed and the movie begins instead with an important part of our hero, his relationship with his father as a kid. This is a great way to introduce our main character and prove that you don't have to use flashbacks to be interesting.
Judicious cuts have been made throughout the prologue to remove the cheese and create an interesting drama we're invested in. Those smart cuts continue all the way to the very end of the movie. The training montage was an highlight for me and the choice of music was excellent to set the period and the mood. The prologue ends with an interesting choice as the big baddy is not responsible for creating our hero. It's a really refreshing idea.
We now go to the movie titles. I'm telling you, I watched it two times in a row, it's that good! The music was superb, the titles were amazing, the imagery revealing Matt's fight training with a known mentor, it was awesome. And then, the main story begins with a bang and a few surprises. Bad CGI scenes have been removed without compromising the flow of the story and... there are no voiceovers! I liked Ben Affleck in the role, he has a passion for the character, but I thought his voiceover lines were pretty bad and his delivery was poor.
OK, I can go on and on with nearly every scenes of the edit but I should wrap-up this review. Uncanny Antman really shuffled a lot of scenes with great efficiency and the movie becomes much more interesting in the process. I only have two less positive comments. You tend to notice very little things when dealing with a nearly flawless edit such as this.
Firstly, when Daredevil kicks Bulleye from his motorcycle, the CGI is really, really bad. Maybe by cutting before the CGI character hits the ground and then switching to the character rolling on the road would have hidden the CGI a little bit more. Lastly, when Daredevil is looking for Bullseye on the roof, we have the cliché bird (or sometimes the classic cat) appearing on the other side of the sheet, surprising our hero just before being attacked by Elektra. I think the birds could have been removed entirely and it would have given the impression that Elektra surprised him.
All in all, I'm repeating myself but this is an ASTONISHING edit!!!
You can be very proud of your work Uncanny Antman!
As a fan of some of Uncanny Antman's previous work, I couldn't resist checking this out. Also it had been ages since I'd last seen it and I'm a fan of the character.
From what I can remember of the original and from what I read in Antman's description of changes, there is a mix of good and bad here from a story standpoint. The tone of the story seems much improved, more serious, realistic, & dramatic. He did a great job cutting out the cheese. Unfortunately the story really falls apart after Electra's death. It may well be that this is an unavoidable consequence of cutting out the cheese, or maybe that is the case in the original too. But in either case the end feels extremely rushed and unfulfilling. They make taking down the Kingpin seem about as easy as taking down a local thug, and Bullseye has no conclusion.
I applaud Antman's efforts on this. It is a great alternative to the original, but it also makes me suspect that there may be no way to salvage the story in this movie.
I only watched the SD avi of this, but based on that I would say the video and audio quality and editing are excellent if not flawless. It isn't 5.1, but that's fine. Its an older movie.