The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut
Note: The following essay includes spoilers for both the Theatrical and Director's Cuts of 20th
Century Fox’s Daredevil. If you have not viewed either versions of the film and do not wish
to know about specific plot points and events, it is suggested that you see the film before
reading the essay.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 1
The first addition to the Director’s Cut includes a small bit between the young Matt
Murdock and his father, Jack, about the fight that Matt had with three kids in Hell's
Kitchen. While not integral to the overall story it gives some information about the
lessons that Matt learns from his father. While Jack was a fighter, he always taught
his son to walk away from a fight. It also shows a little humor to a pathetic
character, when Jack says, "Don't curse. What kind of shit?"
This extension also makes a smoother transition into Matt revealing the plot point
about his father potentially working for Fallon, a local thug, which is brought up in
the Theatrical Version.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 2
Following a slightly extended shot of young Matt looking at the moon, there is a
dissolve into Matt walking through a dangerous work area by the docks, looking for
his father. Matt finds the foreman and the foreman tells Matt that Jack hasn’t
worked in the docks for a couple of months. In this scene, the pain in Matt’s face
when he learns that his father lied to him is better expressed and a shot of Matt’s
report card falling into a puddle is used to a better effect as the cap of this scene,
instead of the scene that follows: when Matt finds his father beating up some
lowlife who owes Fallon money.
The scene is beautifully shot and sets up the dangerous work area that Matt
stumbles into for the accident that robs his sight. Ben Affleck’s narration in the
Theatrical Version is also removed during this scene, allowing it to play out in real
time as opposed to a standard film flashback.
In the scene where Jack first confronts Matt after the accident, there is a longer
interplay between Matt and Jack. In it, Jack is fighting to tell his son that he’s
blind. Matt already knows and tells his father that he heard Jack and the doctor
talking. Jack is confused and Matt says that he hears everything. This then leads
into the version of the scene in the Theatrical Cut.
The biggest change in the tone of the scene is that Matt reveals to his father one of
his new-found powers. Instead of keeping it a secret, as Matt does in the Theatrical
Cut, he reveals it, much like any normal person would, let alone a child.
Another very interesting change in the scene is the deletion of Matt comforting his
father. He still hugs him at the end of the scene but no longer tells him that
everything is okay. Matt may have forgiven his father about the accident, but at
this moment, he still won’t forgive him about the lies Jack told him. This leads well
into Jack’s mission to change his life around for the forgiveness of his son.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 3
There are three short sequences added into the montage of Matt’s training of his
senses. In the Theatrical Cut, Matt’s training of his balance is a moment where he
bangs his walking cane on a pole and then slides down it into a bunch of trash. This
moment is in the Director’s Cut but three bits are added beforehand. There is a
shot of Matt doing gymnastic flips on the edge of a building and another where he
is jumping between the support beams of a sign. Another short shot of Matt sliding
down a ladder, while not amazing, is interesting in that it was a shot that was
shown in the second trailer for the film, but cut out of the Theatrical Version.
Again, these scenes are not integral to the plot, but allow for a few more moments
of amazement at Matt’s new powers and some fun with the boy’s enjoyment and
experimentation of his new gifts.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 4
In the fight between the young Matt and the three kids from Hell’s Kitchen, there
are a couple of extended moments. The first moment happens at the beginning of
the scene after Matt agrees to the fight. He dodges the main bully’s punch and
stands back to give the other kid a moment to back away from the fight. When the
bully doesn’t, Matt hits him with the cane, signaling another warning. When the
bully goes after Matt for the third time, Matt hits him numerous times on the face
with his cane like in the Theatrical version. There are also more shots of the bullies
reacting to Matt’s fighting prowess and the main bully becoming more agitated by
losing to the blind kid. This is a look that will come up later between The Kingpin
and Daredevil. This scene lays the groundwork for the future moment.
The scene now ends on a humorous note with the bullies sprawled on the floor and
Matt walking away, using his cane to guide him. This allows for a much better cap
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 5
to the scene instead of the Theatrical Version’s cap of Matt smiling at his display of
violence. The ending in the Theatrical Cut never quite settled right with me. I didn’t
take joy in the fact that Matt can beat people up because he seems more out for
himself instead of listening to his father and not getting into fights. Instead of
enjoying youth violence, the Director’s Cut focuses on the lesson that appearances
aren’t always what they seem. It also shows that Matt was well on his way to
becoming a hero, yet got lost on the way after his father died.
Before Jack goes to fight boxer John Romita, he is visited by Fallon who orders him
to take a dive. That scene is a part of the Theatrical Cut, but right after that scene
the Director’s Cut has a tracking shot of Jack “The Devil” Murdock gearing up for
He walks past Matt, who is sitting on the floor and learning the tricks of his fold-up
walking cane. Matt gets up and follows behind Jack to the doors of the arena. This
series of shots definitely add more to the mood of the moment than the high angle
static shot shown in the Theatrical Cut in the place of this scene. Not only is it a
moment for the sound effects to shine, as the closer Jack gets to the door, the
more that Matt falls behind him because his troubles with loud noises.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 6
The scene sets up many future events in a more precise fashion than the Theatrical
Cut. Not only do we get to see the beginning of the evolution in Daredevil’s main
weapon, but the scene sets up the rest of the fight, which will be told from Jack’s
point of view. Even though these moments are meant to be Matt’s flashback, he
pieces the events together to tell the story of why his father was murdered.
Even the fight between Romita and Jack is extended to show more blows between
the two fighters and more shot-reverse-shots between Fallon and Jack. In the
Theatrical Cut, the scene begins with Jack hitting the ground before any build up of
While the Theatrical Cut does make the flashback sequence move more quickly, it
loses any emotional impact. We don’t see the struggle that Jack is having, not only
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 7
keeping his head in the moment of the fighting, but also dealing with whether or
not to throw the fight. We know that he made the promise to his son, but he knows
what kind of a threat Fallon is and about the dangerous Wilson Fisk.
Also, we get to see that Jack is becoming a better fighter and isn’t the bum that
Fallon is making him out to be. Fallon’s other fighters may have taken the dive, but
Jack probably could have beaten them, anyway, which we get to see when Jack
knocks Romita to the ground and smiles at Fallon.
After the first devastating blow by Fisk, the murder of Matt’s father is edited
differently in the Director’s Cut. In the Theatrical Cut, the scene is presented in
order through the following shots: a tracking shot following Matt as runs and throws
the red Devil robe onto the camera, a close up shot of Fisk dropping the rose, a
close up of the rose falling onto the still chest of Jack’s body, and finally a medium
shot of Matt as he stops running in front of Jack’s body.
In the Director’s Cut the sequence is as follows: a tracking shot following Matt as he
runs and wearing the red Devil robe, a close up shot of Fisk dropping the rose, a
close up of the rose falling on Jack’s chest, back to the tracking shot of Matt as he
throws the robe onto the camera, to a new shot of Fallon rolling up the window of
his getaway car, and ending at the same medium shot of Matt.
While the difference may not be noticeable to many casual viewers, the re-
structuring of the scene does create little nuances not present in the Theatrical Cut.
First off, cutting the tracking shot of Matt in half suggests a cut in the continuity of
time. In the Theatrical Cut, Fisk is still standing there while Matt runs up to his
father’s aid. It is a tragic moment because Matt cannot see his father’s killer, even
though he is standing in front of him.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 8
In the Director’s Cut, the cutting of the shot suggests that Fisk dropped the rose
while Matt was a further distance away. In that time, he got back into the car and
Fallon was the one watching Matt when Matt arrived to help his father. The sad look
on Fallon’s face shows that he does not enjoy this work, even if others in his
organization do. It could even be assumed that, since this is the last time that
Fallon is shown in the film, Wilson Fisk killed Fallon (at least in this film version of
events, not the comic book version where Matt hunted Fallon for revenge) and took
his place on his power struggle to the top. Without the last shot of Fallon, like in the
Theatrical Cut, Fallon is presented simply as the cliché of a New York thug.
During Matt’s opening routine, and our first introduction to the adult character since
the opening of the film, the director’s cut adds one panning shot of Matt’s chamber
room. Along a rack we see many white folded towels. The shot pans to the right as
Matt first steps out of the water chamber. We see several scars on his knees,
indicating surgery, and the bones crack as he stands.
This shot provides little to what will be shown later in the film. It does introduce the
visible deterioration that the character is going through in his daily life, but it is
shown better throughout different scenes. Also, the composition of the shot is
rather flat compared to the rest of the morning ritual sequence. But for such a
difficult close-up shot to compose and is only a set-up of a larger sequence, this is
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 9
During the first courtroom sequence (and the only one in the Theatrical Cut) there
is a difference in the opening statement provided by Matt. In the Theatrical Cut he
says, “Ladies and gentlemen, justice is blind but it can be heard and today the truth
will come out.”
I always found that opening statement to be an example of very cheesy and poorly
written dialogue. After Jose Quesada was found not guilty, I didn’t blame it on The
Kingpin; I blamed it on a horrible opening statement by Matt Murdock.
In the Director’s Cut, the line is changed to “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re here
today to seek truth, to seek justice.” While not the best statement, it helped convey
the feeling of routine for Matt that continues from his opening rituals. Even the
misé-en-scene of the opening statement helps prove the point of Matt’s boredom as
a lawyer, not with the innocent clients but with the uncaring and corrupt system.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 10
In the Theatrical Cut, after the judge bangs his gavel at the end of the courtroom
scene, there is a jump cut to Quesada outside the courthouse laughing as he enters
a black car. In the Director’s Cut there is a short scene of Matt and Foggy leaving
the courtroom talking about the case.
In the newly added scene, we learn more about their raped client and the fact that
she had a history of drug abuse. Matt explains that that history occurred a long
time ago and Foggy mentions that juries like to have flawed victims. While the
main information, the fact that they lost the case, would not be affected with the
deletion of this scene, we feel more for Matt’s contempt for the justice system with
the scene intact. After their few lines of dialogue, the scene returns to the shot of
Quesada entering the black car, as in the Theatrical Cut.
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After Daredevil’s feats of fancy through the city, we see an extended introduction to
the biker bar in the Director’s Cut. After Quesada takes his flaming shot, he talks
with the female bartender. She tells him that he’s got a lot of nerve coming to the
bar after what he did and he says that he’s innocent, with a guilty smirk on his
face. Just then, two motorcycles edge their way into the bar and a waitress pours
alcohol on the rear tires. The bartender becomes annoyed and yells at the bikers
while they proceed to burn the alcohol off the tires, creating a cloud of smoke.
Quesada takes a hit off a cigarette and smiles before a cutaway that reveals
Daredevil poised on the ceiling of the bar, seen in the Theatrical Cut.
While the scene is fun, it ultimately goes too far over the top. Having motorcycles
inside the bar performing stunts that wouldn’t normally be seen removes the sense
of realism for the audience. What’s more important is that these motorcycles aren’t
even seen again throughout the remaining sequences on the set. It feels like a set-
up that never gets paid off. Also the dialogue between Quesada and the bartender
tell the audience again that Quesada is guilty, even though we learned the truth
through Daredevil’s “lie detector” trick.
This addition is ultimately deemed unnecessary.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 12
Within the fight sequence that shortly follows in the biker bar, there are a few slight
extensions and a newly re-instated line of dialogue that was shown in the second
The first new bit occurs before the guns are fired on Daredevil. In this quick 15
second clip, Daredevil gets into a brawl with numerous bikers carrying pool cues.
Daredevil takes a few hits on his back but quickly knocks each of the attackers to
The second bit lasts a few seconds. It occurs on the top of the staircase on the
second story of the bar. Daredevil lays a few more punches on one guy before he
surfs his body down the rail, as seen in the Theatrical Cut.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 13
Another few seconds have been added to the moment when Daredevil is jumping
from ceiling fan to ceiling fan. At first, in the Theatrical Cut, I always wondered
why he was jumping on the fans. The few extra seconds show that Daredevil is
jumping on steel fans that are strong enough to ricochet the bullets that are being
fired at him. A few of these bullets kill three gunmen. Only one gunman was shot
in the Theatrical Cut and the reason for the gunshot was not clear.
The final bit occurs when Daredevil walks across the flaming pool tables. In the
Theatrical Cut, Quesada bails before Daredevil takes his first step across the
flames. In the Director’s Cut, Quesada sits still behind one of the tables. Daredevil
kneels by the flames and tells Quesada that it is time to give the devil his due. This
was a line that was shown in the second trailer for the film, but deleted from the
Theatrical Cut. After the lines, Quesada runs away and continues like in the
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 14
I feel that each moment that is added to the fight sequence helps to create a better
unity for the scene that was severely lacking in the Theatrical Cut. The extra line of
dialogue given to Daredevil shows his mental state at the moment. He is in full
vigilante mode and believes himself to truly be an angel of judgment sent to strike
down the wicked. The smile on his face proves that he is enjoying the hunt, as
What was originally my least favorite fight sequence in the film, has become my
favorite due to the extended moments added in the Director’s Cut.
When Daredevil follows Quesada into a subway station, there are a few small
additions in the Director’s Cut. The first moment occurs after the first train passes
and Daredevil finds where Quesada is hiding. Daredevil is walking towards the
hiding Quesada and does a few flips with his cane before turning it into a tether.
While this addition takes away from the sudden surprise of Quesada being choked,
the audience is kept in the head of Daredevil as he readies his next move to
surprise Quesada. We also find a little more about how his weapon works as he
turns it from a club into a tether.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 15
There are also a few more lines added to the brief exchange between Quesada and
Daredevil. These are very brief and basically entail the two men verbally
threatening each other. Nothing too much to note beyond Quesada asking
Daredevil, “Who made you judge?” and Daredevil threatening Hell upon Quesada
after he dies.
These lines aren’t important to the overall story arc and just add more tension to
the scene. It also gives more space between the oncoming trains, which seemed to
be arriving a little too quickly in between each other in the Theatrical Cut. Also,
Daredevil’s line about Hell in the Director’s Cut allows for a better transition into his
line that is in both versions, “That light at the end of the tunnel. Guess what?
That’s not heaven. That’s the C Train!”
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 16
After Matt returns home and listens to the Dear John message, there are few brief
moments that extend Matt’s nighttime rituals before he goes to bed. The first bit
has Matt walking to his Daredevil costume closet and touching a clothes hanger.
He begins to take off his jacket, completely stoic, until he feels immense pain. The
next shot is of the jacket hitting the floor and the scene picks up as it was in the
Theatrical Cut, with a close-up of the scars on Matt’s back. The extra moment
beforehand puts a face on the anguish that Matt goes through being Daredevil. It’s
not as easy as being Spider-man.
The next part takes place after Matt chews his pain medication. He opens a drawer
full of salt and takes a scoop to pour in his water tank. This is not a big moment
but does show more of Matt’s routine and the pain that he puts himself through by
sleeping in a pool of saltwater with numerous open wounds on his body every night.
It takes a lot of pain to keep the water chamber clean.
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The most important addition to the scene in the Director’s Cut occurs while Matt is
about to shut the water chamber. He hears the struggle of a woman after she is
shot. He has a vision of her in the same room as him and then he shuts the water
chamber door while listening to her last breath. This is an important character
moment, as well as an important plot moment for the future of the story. In the
Theatrical Cut, Matt just lies in the water chamber as if he had a hard day at the
office. The moment isn’t as tragic as it is in the Director’s Cut.
After Matt falls asleep in the chamber and hearing the prostitute’s last breath, there
is a scene between a young Matt and a nun. The nun hovers over Matt and tells
him to sleep. The scene is played completely in silhouette and shows Johnson’s
technique as a visual director.
It was just too bad that he picked this scene to use that trick on. This is a moment
that could have worked better with some more visual information. For one, it isn’t
entirely clear that the person in the bed is actually Matt as a young boy after the
accident. Also, only fans of the comic books would know that the nun is actually
Matt’s mother. However, this is not brought up to light within the film. While
pretty, it becomes confusing and will most likely take the audience out of the
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 18
In the place of this scene, in the Theatrical Cut, there is a short dialogue scene
between Father Everett and Matt within a confessional. Matt comes into the scene
asking for forgiveness but enters a verbal spar with the priest being the victor over
the moral implications of Matt’s vigilante justice in the guise of Daredevil. A great
line, delivered by Quesada in the Director’s Cut, alludes to Matt being a lawyer
during the day and judge and jury at night.
This entire scene is pivotal to the Theatrical Cut because all of the omitted scenes
from the Director’s Cut help solidify Matt’s changing ethics and his inner struggles
between himself and his duties. Without this scene in the Theatrical Cut, the film
would have made even less of an impact story-wise.
This scene also creates a dichotomy between the Theatrical Cut and the Director’s
Cut. Not only is it a scene that is specific only to the Theatrical Cut (and rightly so
because the information is delivered in other scenes of the Director’s Cut) but it
also changes the Father Everett character. Now, he does know that Matt is the
Daredevil and he now acts as a father figure. This is all changed in the Director’s
Cut, which in turn, lessens the impact of the character on Matt in the Director’s Cut
of the film.
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During the first coffee bar scene between Foggy and Matt, there is a slight
extension that occurs after Foggy mentions that their client, Mr. Lee, made his first
payment in fluke. Matt motions to a scratch on his face and Foggy asks about it.
Matt lies, saying he ran into a door and Foggy doesn’t fall for it. Then, Matt tells
him that he’s actually in the fight club. This is by far, the best joke in the film and
it is too bad that it was cut out in the Theatrical Cut.
They two move into another story about how Foggy bought Matt a seeing eye dog
because they bond for life. Matt’s ran away. It’s a funny moment that shows off
Jon Favreau’s comic timing and also provides more back story into their friendship.
This is a great inclusion into the film and should have never been cut out.
The scene ends on Matt laughing before he smells Elektra approaching, as shown in
the Theatrical Cut. The scratch on Matt’s face is digitally altered in the Theatrical
Cut to be less noticeable and is removed in certain shots. The digital removal is
used in future scenes including the school yard fight between Matt and Elektra.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 20
After the fight between Elektra and Matt in the school yard, there is an additional
scene between the two. Elektra’s bodyguards show up and Matt fears a lawsuit
soon after he figures out Elektra’s bloodline. Elektra starts to leave and Matt asks
how he’ll find her. She states that she’ll find him. This is the beginning of a
reoccurring theme within the Director’s Cut that isn’t very expressed in the
A wonderful touch occurs at the end of the scene when Matt uses a watch with a
removal glass front to know what time it is. Matt finds that he is late for his court
hearing and runs off. The short bit with the watch is another moment that clues
the audience onto his daily life. All of the things that we take for granted, like the
money in our wallets and the display of our watches have to be different for a blind
man. It shows that the production has done its homework. Also, the removal of a
future scene between Matt and Elektra removes the notion that Matt will drop being
a lawyer whenever a girl walks past. This makes Matt in the Director’s Cut a better
friend to Foggy and a more professional lawyer than in the Theatrical Cut.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 21
After the first reveal of Wilson Fisk overlooking New York behind his large window,
there is a cut to a Stead-i-cam shot of Wesley walking through the Fisk Corp office.
This allows a sense of scale to the building that was severely lacking in the
Theatrical Cut. It shows that there’s more to the Fisk Corp building than just an
office and a meeting room.
Also, in the background of the scene, N.E.R.D.’s “Lapdance” is showcased
completely unedited, further solidifying the Director’s Cut’s R-rating. In the
Theatrical Cut there is another shot of Fisk puffing on his cigar when Wesley enters
that is not seen in the Director’s Cut.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 22
After Wesley claims that someone’s been talking to the New York Post, there is a
new scene in the Director’s Cut. In it, Fisk begins with some light intimidation
towards his new bodyguards. It starts as a joke until Fisk unexpectedly kills both
his bodyguards within a matter of seconds by a swift smash in the head with his
cane and snapping the other’s neck with his bare hands. He then leaves Wesley to
clean up the mess when Nikolas Natchios arrives.
This provides more of a threat to the Kingpin character because every scene that
follows this violent one, the audience is anticipating the next time the Kingpin will
go on a murder spree. It shows that he can do the dirty work himself, but hires
assassins like Bullseye for more high profile kills. This is a point that is not made in
the Theatrical Cut and weakens the Kingpin in that version.
This also provides the incentive for Wesley’s character that was not presented in
the Theatrical Cut. He doesn’t stay with Fisk because he feels an obligation, or
because he is a clichéd character, but instead, he stays with Fisk because he is
scared for his own life.
After Fisk asks Nikolas about his daughter, Elektra, we are treated with a new scene
exclusive to the Theatrical Cut. In this scene, there is more of a love connection
made between Matt and Elektra. Elektra talks more about her past and her martial
art abilities through her training as a child after her mother was killed. Matt acts
the gentleman and stops her before she is struck by a car, recalling the scene in
the beginning with Stan Lee’s cameo.
While the scene is lovely, it drastically changes the character of Matt. Not only is
he given a dramatic break that is not afforded to him in the Director’s Cut, but his
abilities become confusing. He tells Elektra to watch out before she steps in some
unknown substance. This is confusing because it is unknown what would cause
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 23
Matt to see this object because it is not giving off a sound to be heard. Also, Matt’s
line concerning Elektra being trained to be a warrior is a little too on the nose.
What we don’t receive from this scene in the Theatrical Cut is Matt’s realization that
Elektra’s father is a billionaire or Elektra’s exit from Matt. It is just assumed that
they part ways before Matt trudges his way back to the courthouse and to Foggy
who is actually doing his job. No wonder Foggy is so annoyed with Matt; Matt’s
never at work.
Instead of the Elektra scene, in the Director’s Cut we are presented with something
more substantial plot-wise. Matt returns to the courthouse and meets with Foggy
to tell him about Elektra. This is a scene that occurs later on in the Theatrical Cut.
The scene continues in the Director’s Cut to the introduction of Foggy and Matt’s
next case: the murder of prostitute Lisa Tazio and the defense of Daunte Jackson.
Daunte was found unconscious around the street corner with the murder weapon
and filled to the brim with drugs. Foggy makes a humorous remark about Lisa
Tazio being “your friendly, neighborhood prostitute” which makes an inside-joke
against the happier nature of the Spider-Man films.
When Matt and Foggy meet Daunte, Matt asks him if he’s innocent. Daunte replies
that he is and Matt uses his lie detector senses to prove that Daunte is correct. To
the surprise of both Daunte and Foggy, Matt takes the case. Little does any of
them know, but this case will be the most important case of their lives.
Surprisingly, this plotline, which provides the trail to the identity of the Kingpin, is
completely cut out of the Theatrical Cut.
A note about Coolio in the role of Daunte Jackson: he is superb. Many musicians
have tried their hands at acting and few have succeeded to bring the warmth that is
present in Coolio’s portrayal. Daunte is a man that brings much comic relief to his
scenes and the film, while still being extremely compassionate and far outside the
cliché of a drugged-out black man as seen in numerous cop dramas.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 24
After this scene, it returns to Fisk ordering Wesley to create a paper trailer accusing
Nikolas of being the Kingpin, as seen in the Theatrical Cut.
After Bullseye’s introduction in the English bar, we cut back to a new scene
between Foggy and Matt talking about Daunte. Foggy states that Daunte will
probably pay for his fees with chronic while they are almost hit by a cab. Foggy
yells at the cabbie about almost hitting him when he’s helping a blind man crossing
the street. The cabbie tells them to use the crosswalk and drives off.
The scene is a nice moment for Foggy and Matt to further showcase their friendship
and shows them working even more, something not expounded on in the Theatrical
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 25
Immediately after the previous scene, another scene is added showing Bullseye’s
arrival at an airport. Bullseye acts very cocky as he moves his way through the
security checkpoint and showing the audience that he has a paper clip in his mouth.
In this scene we are also privy to a shot that showcases a Catholic crucifix on
Bullseye’s black shirt that acts both as a public mockery of the religion by Bullseye
but also as another type of a bullseye. With the bullseye on his shirt and the one
on his head, Bullseye’s villain costume is set in reality but is still a throwback to the
design in the original comic books. The crucifix isn’t prominently displayed in the
It’s another good character bit for Bullseye as he walks the line between being liked
by the audience and being feared by the audience, which wasn’t in the Theatrical
Cut. This scene, according to the director, was originally supposed to be the
introduction to the character. I’m glad that they decided to stick with the English
bar as the introduction in that it makes the paper clip gimmick make more sense.
The security personnel do not know that Bullseye just brought a deadly weapon on
Due to this fact, there could have been pressures from the studio for this scene to
be cut from the Theatrical Cut following the shoe bomb incident on a plane shortly
after 9/11. This interpretation allows Bullseye to have an anchor in a reality-based
fear that is present in the modern world. In the Director’s Cut, Bullseye is a much
Also, the use of the camera is very different than its use throughout the rest of the
film. While jarring to some, it helps present an almost documentary quality to the
scene, thus making it feel even more real.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 26
Following the airport scene, we cut back to Foggy and Matt outside the residence of
Lisa Tazio. Matt kneels down to feel the remnants of a candlelight vigil for her and
decides to investigate further. He picks the lock, much to the dismay of Foggy, and
begins to touch around the room. He finds the smells of ammonia over dried blood
on the floor and believes that Tazio was shot in her house and dragged outside to
look like a robbery. It is here that we realize, with Matt, that the woman who Matt
heard dying the night before was Lisa Tazio. He moves over to the computer desk
and finds a few impressions in the wood reading “MOM 6-8” before Foggy pushes
Matt to leave before they are arrested.
There are some great moments in the scene; most of these showcase more of
Favreau’s comic timing. It almost hurts to realize that his comedy was lost in the
Theatrical Cut, as with most of his character. We also see more of Matt’s day-to-
day interactions and how he uses Foggy for support in a new environment. There
are many subtle moments of uncertainty with Matt, as when he first arrives in the
room, he moves to the wall to get stability and a better feeling of the environment.
After seeing three sequences in a row with new plot points that were not available
in the Theatrical Cut, it feels more like watching a sequel than a Director’s Cut. It
also makes the introduction of Daunte Jackson the beginning of the second act,
when the introduction of Elektra was the beginning of the second act in the
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 27
After the scene with Bullseye in the airplane, the Theatrical Cut moves into the
scene where Daredevil beats a man in front of a young boy. In the Director’s Cut,
this scene comes later. The scene that follows the airplane scene is another
courtroom scene. This time, the opening statement for Daunte is given in a much
grander courtroom due to the nature and media attention of the case.
Matt starts out giving his statement to the jury through an analogy about being
blind. It’s hokey but it’s meant to be. It is also here that the line “justice is blind,
but it can be heard” is now given. It makes better sense here because Matt and
Foggy both know that they don’t have a lot for Daunte’s defense so they are
pleading for pity from the jury. It shows how far Foggy will use Matt’s blindness if
it will secure them a win.
There’s some great moments when Foggy comes up to help Matt to his seat and
plays a practical joke on Matt by getting him to think that he is about to sit in a
chair, but having his hand on the wrong armrest, causing Matt to almost fall to the
ground. Matt is tired of this joke and tells Foggy so. Another good character
moment for the two and shows more about how Matt deals with being blind on a
day-to-day scale. It is in these details that the audience feels more for Matt’s
character in the Director’s Cut.
The scene moves into the first witness, Officer McKensie, who states that he saw
Tazio dead on the steps of her apartment and Jackson passed out in the alleyway
with the murder weapon. Matt uses his lie detector skills and is puzzled to find
McKensie’s heart is beating normally, meaning that he is not lying. This sets up a
mystery in Matt’s powers that is not present in the Theatrical Cut.
Due to the media coverage of the trial, the re-introduction of Ben Urich is moved to
the end of this scene, instead of during the Black and White Ball. He gives a wave
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 28
to Matt and Foggy and we feel that something is suspicious about Ben’s friendliness
towards the two.
The scene moves into the re-introduction of Elektra when Matt is walking down the
street at night and the rain scene on the roof. Both of these following scenes take
place much later in the Theatrical Cut.
At the beginning of the scene between Elektra and Matt on the street there is a line
change. In the Theatrical Cut, she tells Matt, “I knew I’d find you.” In the
Director’s Cut, she says, “I told you I’d find you.” A very subtle change, but a
change nonetheless. Also, one that emphasizes the theme of Elektra being able to
find Matt without him looking for her. By deleting the earlier scene between Elektra
and Matt on the street, the audience gets wrapped up in the Daunte murder case,
as does Matt, and we forget all about Elektra until this scene.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 29
On the rooftop scene, after Matt asks about Elektra’s necklace, in the Director’s Cut
Elektra reveals to Matt in this scene that her mother was killed. It’s a good
moment for her to reveal the dark part of her life. It also ties the two characters
together because they both had to endure the loss of a parent at an early age. It
then goes into Matt trying to lighten the mood by telling her to stop for the rainfall.
After Matt sees Elektra for the first time, he hears a fight occurring down below. In
the Director’s Cut he forces himself to leave Elektra alone in the rainfall. This
moment shows Matt’s loyalty to duty, even if it costs him happiness. Has his duty
turned into an obsession?
The scene continues into the scene when Matt beats a man in front of his child.
The one-two punch of the evening makes for a tougher morning on Matt. Not only
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 30
did he potentially lose Elektra but he could have become the one thing that he
In the Theatrical Cut, Matt readies to leave, but Elektra stops him. The two spend
the night together in a passionate love scene that is beautifully shot. Matt wakes
up the next morning to find Elektra gone. In her place is an invitation to the Black
and White Ball. By this moment in the Director’s Cut, we haven’t been introduced
to the Black and White Ball yet, so there’s no possible way for the love scene to
have been re-instated into the Director’s Cut, beyond the pleading of some Elektra
After Daredevil beats the father in front of the child, the Director’s Cut fades into a
new scene set in the Catholic church. In the Theatrical Cut, this scene was followed
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 31
by Matt going to work and being invited to the Black and White Ball which occurs
well before Matt takes Elektra to the rooftop. Again, the order of many of these
scenes in the second act varies in the Director’s Cut compared to the Theatrical Cut.
The scene in the church begins with Matt’s mother, the mysterious nun, praying
nearby Matt, who is seated in a pew inside the otherwise empty church. Father
Everett comes over to Matt and tells him in a lighthearted, but serious tone that the
church is open on Sundays. Matt tells him that he likes the quiet. The priest knows
that Matt also likes the solidarity. Matt has a vision of a loud truck, from outside,
smashing through the pews with its thunderous sound. Matt grips the crucifix in his
hand tighter due to the pain in his head from these sounds. Father Everett offers
help through the confessional. Matt refuses and stands to leave. The priest
restates his invitation to arrive on Sundays. Matt says nothing and leaves.
This scene is a pitch-perfect character moment for Matt. Not only does the
conflicted nature of his Catholic faith come into play but it shows that the church is
a place for Matt to come when he’s lost hope. This is important, especially after his
crisis of faith in whether or not he has become a villain in his quest for justice. Yet,
he is not strong enough to confess to God about the sins that he has committed.
This scene also helps with the clarity of a scene that occurs towards the end of the
film. After being wounded with his fight with Elektra, Daredevil arrives at the
church. I always had a problem with this moment because I didn’t know why he
went to the church instead of his house. In light of this scene, it is clear that Matt
has come to the church for help in his hour of need.
Also, the moment where Matt has a vision of the semi blasting through the church,
there is a shot that appears in the second trailer for the film. This is another shot
that I had missed seeing in the Theatrical Cut and am happy to see it re-instated
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 32
After Matt secretary, Karen, gets shot down in her attempt to get Matt to invite her
to the Black and White Ball by Foggy, there is a small moment where Karen asks
Matt if he wants any coffee. Foggy says he does and puts out his cup like a child.
Karen walks away and Foggy assumes that she is going to make a new pot.
This is another comedic moment for Foggy. Purely a character addition to the
scene for the Director’s Cut, but the lack of characterization in the Theatrical Cut
was its biggest flaw, so any character addition is well welcomed.
In the Theatrical Cut, this bit is replaced with a close-up of an annoyed Karen
listening to Foggy say that he needs to rent a tux.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 33
After Foggy tells Matt that the ball is in his court, Matt takes an extra moment in
the Director’s Cut to agree to going to the Black and White Ball. Foggy thanks him
and than Matt throws the ball into the basketball hoop, as also seen in the
Theatrical Cut. The scene cuts directly to the Black and White Ball, instead of the
Elektra rooftop scene, as in the Theatrical Cut.
This scene is a great scene in light of all the changes that have been made in the
Director’s Cut. When Matt shows up to the office, he’s upset and not just because
it is hard being a superhero. He’s upset because he severely messed up his chance
with Elektra and that he is having a crisis of faith. Matt feels that he no longer has
much to truly live for. He also objects to going to the Black and White Ball because
he does not want to have to apologize to Elektra. The scenes where Matt listens
the phone message from his girlfriend, a scene also in the Theatrical Cut, and the
act of leaving Elektra on the rooftop show that Matt does not have good
relationships with women. The fact that Foggy picks up on this and jokes about it
to Matt forces Matt to deal with the issue. He has to be responsible. Foggy is much
more of an emotional role in Matt’s life because Foggy is the one that pushes Matt
forward to succeed. This connection is lost in the Theatrical Cut.
Also the moment where Matt throws the ball in the hoop has a different emotion
tied to it. In the Theatrical Cut, the act signifies an act of rebellion against Foggy.
Matt seems to not listen to Foggy because Foggy does not know that Matt is
Daredevil; therefore, he could not possibly know what Matt is going through. This
is very obvious through the alternations of the scene sequential order because
Foggy asks if Matt is depressed because of Elektra. In the Theatrical Cut, the
Elektra scene hasn’t occurred and Foggy is wrong. However, in the Director’s Cut,
Foggy is right. Matt sinking the basket at the end of the scene now acts as a return
to the playful nature of Matt with Foggy which continues into the Black and White
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 34
After Matt finds Elektra at the Black and White Ball, in the Director’s Cut, he
apologies to her about the other night. Elektra touches Matt’s face and tells him,
“You’re here now.” The scene continues as it is in the Theatrical Cut.
The tension between Matt and Elektra makes the scene a stronger one. In the
Theatrical Cut, Matt just went up to see Elektra. In the Director’s Cut, he is
trudging his way up to apologize to her, something that he really does not want to
do. The addition of this moment makes Elektra’s next line, “That’s all that matters”
make more sense than in the Theatrical Cut when it followed Matt’s line, “Now I
During the ball there’s a scene between Foggy and Wesley where Foggy further
schmoozes with Wesley to try to get Fisk as a client. He compliments Wesley on
his engraved handcuffs, which are Wesley’s initials (W.O.W.), and Wesley snaps
back that the Fisk Corporation has already hired its share of handicapped
employees. Wesley gives Foggy his card back and walks away. Foggy, defeated,
states what the audience is feeling and calls Wesley a dick after he leaves.
This scene shows how the upper class feels about Matt and Foggy’s practice. They
are an absolute joke. No one takes them seriously. This moment also makes the
Daunte murder case a bigger factor. The case is Matt and Foggy’s media ticket to
survive. Not only do they have to save an innocent man, but they have to save the
practice, as well.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 35
I felt that the beginning of the scene was a little too on the nose with the close-up
of Wesley’s cufflinks. It made the murder case’s only clue a little too easy to
connect the dots. Considering it takes almost an hour from this scene for Foggy to
make the connection between the murder and Wesley, anyone paying attention to
the scene is far ahead of Foggy before his discovery near the end of the film.
After Elektra notices the worry on her father’s face as he tries to leave the ball,
there are some extensions in the Director’s Cut. First, Elektra drags Matt to her
father to ask what is wrong. She speaks Greek to her father to hide the family
issues from Matt. Nikolas replies with more Greek and tells her that a bodyguard
will take her home.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 36
This moment builds up more tension that wasn’t in the Theatrical Version of this
scene. We visually see that Nikolas is distraught by Fisk’s threat. After the scene
where he witnessed the murder of Fisk’s own bodyguards, the audience is more apt
to believe his fear. It is also a positive act to show Elektra choosing to speak Greek
in front of Matt as to hide the illegality of their family’s past.
During the Bullseye attack sequence on Nikolas, there is an additional shot added.
This shot appeared in the Theatrical Cut but was used to open the scene when
Daredevil beat up the thug in front of the boy. It is the shot of Daredevil high
above the city streets, among angelic gargoyles.
This shot is much better served in this scene because it makes more sense for
Daredevil to be perched, surveying for Elektra’s car. In the Theatrical Cut, he was
up there just because it “looked cool” and evoked the style of Batman. Here it is
logical while still stylish.
The rest of the attack sequence up to Bullseye taking out the drivers with his
throwing stars is re-edited. Now, the length of time from Bullseye standing on his
motorcycle to throwing the stars is decreased. It makes more sense for him to get
into position for the attack much sooner than he did in the Theatrical Cut. In the
Theatrical Cut, he stood on his bike for an awfully long time.
The sequence of events in the Theatrical Cut is: Bullseye standing on his bike, to
an exterior of Elektra’s car, to an interior of the car when Nikolas tells his daughter
that New York is not a safe place, to a long shot of Bullseye still standing on the
bike, to a close-up of pulling the throwing stars out of the belt buckle, to a POV
shot of Elektra seeing Daredevil running along a rooftop, and to Bullseye throwing
the stars and killing the drivers inside.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 37
The sequence of events in the Director’s Cut is: Daredevil hearing the car as he is
perched among the gargoyles, to an exterior of Elektra’s car, to an interior of the
car with Nikolas saying that New York is not a safe place, to Bullseye standing on
the bike, to Daredevil using the grappling hook on a gargoyle and swinging below,
to a long shot of Bullseye still standing on the bike, to a close-up of pulling the
throwing stars out of his belt buckle, to Elektra’s POV, and to Bullseye throwing the
The best part of the change is when Nikolas’s line about New York is followed by
Bullseye getting up on his bike and to Daredevil seeing Bullseye. This allows for
more energy to the scene that was lacking in the Theatrical Cut and for a sense of
fate in the Greek tragedy that is Elektra’s life. We see the pieces all coming
together for Nikolas’s murder.
After Matt trashes his apartment in a feat of rage following Nikolas’s death, the
Theatrical Cut adds a new scene. This is another confessional moment between
Matt and Father Everett. In it Matt acts as if he is going to quit being Daredevil
when he tells the priest that he was right.
This is a short moment, but one that isn’t paid off in the Theatrical Cut. Matt never
has another scene where he acts like he is officially quitting. In fact, the following
night, Matt is out again as Daredevil. It’s a good emotional cap and a nice
transition into the funeral, but is ultimately used only to show another moment with
the priest and nothing else.
The scene transitions into the funeral with a musical arc. In the Director’s Cut, the
scene that follows the trashing of Matt’s apartment is the scene where Bullseye
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 38
talks with Fisk in the Fisk Corp building. This scene doesn’t occur until much later
in the Theatrical Cut.
The scene where Bullseye talks with Fisk in the Fisk Corp building has a couple of
small changes. The first being a new music cue that is added after Bullseye throws
the pencil at the olive that Fisk is holding. It is a quiet, unnerving bit of music that
continues throughout the rest of the scene. This moment definitely pushes Bullseye
into being a creepier character who becomes obsessed with murder. “The devil is
mine” is no longer meant as a joke, but as an objective for his kills.
The other moment of note is the change from a line in the Theatrical Cut, “I want a
bloody costume” to “I want a fuckin’ costume” in the Director’s Cut. This isn’t a
necessary change, but does make the line a little less funny and more ominous,
especially added with the musical cue.
Again, the order of scenes between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut
become disjointed at this point; so for clarity, specific changes to scenes and new
scenes will be focused on.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 39
Now, the mood shifts into a new scene where Foggy is forced to be at trial alone.
To say that things go awry is quite the understatement. Foggy is trying to question
Daunte on the stand, making the point that Daunte couldn’t have been found with a
handgun because he never owned a gun in his life. Daunte quickly agrees, yet
goes off on how he would buy a shotgun because of the buckshot. He certainly
doesn’t help the defense. Foggy moves to his notes but mixes his notes with Matt’s
Braille notes. The judge calls for recess and tells Foggy that he hopes that Matt
comes back soon. Foggy agrees and walks away, defeated.
Not only is this a very funny scene between Daunte and Foggy, showcasing the
great comic timing and delivery that the two have, but it also shows how Foggy
cannot work without Matt. The two have a bond in their practice. Neither one can
do the work alone. It also shows that the Daunte case is in serious jeopardy. The
scene moves into the Natchios funeral.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 40
The Natchios funeral has another scene added after the end of what is shown in the
Theatrical Cut. In it, Matt walks to a waiting cab as Ben Urich approaches him.
Matt doesn’t want to talk to him but Ben tells him that Daunte is innocent. This
interests Matt and the two sit in the cab. Ben tells Matt that the source that he had
for the Kingpin story he was writing (which was mentioned in the introduction scene
of Fisk, but never followed in the Theatrical Cut) was Lisa Tazio who had
information through one of her unnamed clients. Matt asks if Ben will testify but
Ben refuses. However, Ben does mention that he found out that Officer McKensie
recently purchased a new Mercedes. Matt is confused because his lie detector told
him that McKensie was telling the truth, but Ben knows that McKensie is not telling
This is a good scene of exposition done right, but it is done in the wrong moment.
It occurs right after the break-up with Elektra and doesn’t allow the audience to
breathe for a moment, hurting the previously emotional scene before it. If there
was a better transition to the scene than what occurs in the Director’s Cut, I would
adore the scene.
At least we do get to find out what Ben wanted to talk to Matt about at the Black
and White Ball. In the Theatrical Cut, we assume that Ben already knows the
identity of Daredevil through his investigative research, but with the Director’s Cut
we actually find out that Ben wanted to help Matt’s case, which is also why he
showed up at the trial. This is a good character plotline for Ben because not only is
he a more pro-active character in the plotline but he is also helping out Matt so that
he can get the scoop on the identity of the Kingpin.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 41
After hearing the news about McKensie, there is a jump cut to the exterior of a strip
club. A drunken McKensie walks to his Mercedes when he is confronted by Matt.
Matt takes McKensie’s handcuff’s and cuffs him to the passenger seat. Matt asks
about the car and McKensie states that a lot of cops have them. Matt begins his
interrogation by starting the car and smashing it into numerous objects. McKensie,
in a nervous rage, pleads for Matt to stop and asks him what Matt wants. Matt
says that he wants to know why McKensie’s heart rate didn’t change. Matt rips
open McKensie’s shirt and finds out through touch that McKensie has a pacemaker
that regulates his heart, masking any lies he would say to Matt. Matt tells him that
perjury is a crime and McKensie states that there are a hundred more cops to be
bribed and Matt knows that the Kingpin is connected. McKensie warns Matt that if
he crosses the Kingpin, who owns the entire town, he is going to be killed by
Bullseye. He also states that the Kingpin doesn’t just kill you, but your entire
family. Matt knocks McKensie out and escapes.
This scene definitely gives a lot of information. Not only do we see Matt acting like
judge and jury without his Daredevil costume, which shows how much he’s lost, but
we also learn that his abilities do have limits. It is up to Matt to not rely solely on
them, but to also remember to harness them when his regular judgments are not
enough. This will make Matt a better lawyer. The scene also acts as a better
introduction of Matt to the opening world of the Kingpin and the introduction of
Bullseye’s name to Matt.
The information about the Kingpin murdering entire families is brought up in a
different way in the Theatrical Cut…
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 42
In the last additional scene exclusive to the Theatrical Cut, Ben Urich tracks Matt
after he finds out that Matt is Daredevil from Kirby, the coroner, which is a scene
that hasn’t occurred yet in the Director’s Cut. In this scene, Ben tells Matt that
Elektra is in trouble and that he knows that Matt knows who can help her.
I always had a problem with this scene because I didn’t know why Ben even cared
about Elektra; he wasn’t even at the funeral (like he was in the Director’s Cut). It
also made the ending, where Ben is feverishly writing the story exposing Daredevil,
very confusing. If Ben cared about Matt and the people in Matt’s life, then why
would he suddenly change his mind and decide to write an article destroying Matt’s
life? The only clue that Ben had a grudge against Matt would be after Bullseye was
thrown on his car by Daredevil. Other than that, there are no clues in the
Theatrical Cut to Ben’s motives at the end of the film.
It also changes the meaning of the line, “Kingpin doesn’t just kill you. He kills your
whole family” from a threat by McKensie which tips Matt off to the danger
surrounding Elektra to a flat out warning by Ben that Elektra is in trouble.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 43
After the McKensie interrogation, there is a scene that takes place at Matt and
Foggy’s office. Foggy has been working late on the Daunte case while Matt hasn’t
shown up to work for the entire day. Karen is also there to give Foggy a cup of
coffee. Foggy tells her that she should go home but she changes the subject to
how Foggy is doing on the case. He says that he is making ridiculously little
progress and is visibly exhausted. Karen sees a note on the table and asks if
Foggy’s mother is coming to town. The note is the “MOM 6-8” that was written at
the Tazio house. Karen asks when the murder occurred, which was on August 9.
Karen moves the note upside down so that it now reads “8-9 WOW”. This spurs
Foggy who finds Wesley’s card and remembers his initials reading W.O.W. Foggy
doesn’t quite know what it means, but it’s a new angle of attack for the case.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 44
The “WOW” clue borders dangerously close to being cheesy, but the execution on
the director’s behalf allows the moment to work. The audience knows that this
note is crucial because it is the only piece of evidence that was acquired while at
the Tazio house. However, in Matt and Foggy’s world, it’s meaningless and not
worthy of inspection. It’s not until Karen sees it with a pair of fresh eyes that she
cracks the simple code. This scene also provides a small spark of romantic interest
between Foggy and Karen.
Right after Ben figures out the true identity of Daredevil through the Kirby’s
discovery of the cane inside the Billy club, Ben gets a phone call. It’s from Foggy.
Ben obviously doesn’t want to talk to Foggy because of the secret. Foggy tells Ben
that he has information about Lisa Tazio.
This is a small moment that only serves to tighten up the noose around the
Kingpin’s identity. The fact that this coroner scene occurs later in the story helps to
build up the energy towards the climax as loose ends are being tied together. This
is especially true as the Elektra training scene follows this scene in the Director’s
Cut and moves full throttle towards the last action set pieces of the film.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 45
During the battle between Daredevil and Elektra, there is a brief extension to the
fight that takes place on top of an air vent. It basically consists of a few blows
against Daredevil, but shows the ferocity of Elektra. This was a strong moment
that should have been added to the Theatrical Cut. When Elektra becomes the
assassin, she is rather weak. However, in the Director’s Cut, we can see why
Daredevil becomes so tired from the battle. The fight is much more passionate. He
really is trying to save his own life without hurting the woman he loves, even if she
is doing everything in her power to kill him.
The “superman” flying leap that Elektra takes against Daredevil is unrealistic, but
the rest of her kicks and slashes look very real and very dangerous. The scene
returns to how it was presented in the Theatrical Cut.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 46
Okay, so it was the same for about twenty seconds. We now have a bit of dialogue
between Daredevil and Elektra at the moment where Daredevil grabs Elektra to
stop her attacks. In the Theatrical Cut, she instantly blocks this with a kick. In the
Director’s Cut, there is a cutaway to Elektra’s necklace falling to the ground. The
two take a moment to catch their breath where Daredevil tells Elektra that he’s not
going to fight her. She then kicks him, as seen in the Theatrical Cut.
This small moment shows that Daredevil is trying to reason with Elektra. However,
the cutaway to the necklace is a little cheesy considering that it is meant to set up
the fact that luck is no longer on her side; insinuating that she died because she
wasn’t wearing the necklace. The moment could have been perfectly fine with or
without the necklace shot.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 47
The fight between Bullseye and Elektra has become far more brutal than in the
Theatrical Cut. The Theatrical Cut fight was rather short before Elektra was
knocked to the ground. Here, Bullseye is able to dodge more of Elektra’s attacks,
being a far better warrior than she is. He also lays quite a few blows upon her with
varying kicks and punches right to her face.
Before Elektra falls, Bullseye kicks her very hard into an air vent, which must have
completely ruined her back upon impact. Elektra tries to fight further, but is easily
brought to the ground. Once Elektra falls, Bullseye smashes Elektra’s head into the
rooftop and picks her up to throw her even closer to the edge of the building.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 48
Once Bullseye stabs Elektra, he keeps the sai in her for almost twice as long as the
Theatrical Cut. He also gives her a very rough kiss before he pulls the sai out and
throws her to another building, close to Daredevil.
These moments make the fight between the two characters all the more shocking,
and closer to the original material in the comic book story. While these additions
are far from pleasant, it does make the dark tale all the more dramatic and tragic.
This also adds to the darker qualities that the Director’s Cut presents to Bullseye
that the Theatrical Cut failed to show.
Once Father Everett priest find Matt, Matt’s dialogue changes between the
Theatrical Cut and the Director’s Cut. The Theatrical Cut dialogue is “I tried,
Father. I tried. This is who I am.” The priest replies, “Oh, is that a fact?”
The Director’s Cut dialogue is much more extensive:
Matt: This is my confession, Father.
Father Everett: God’s mercy is infinite. All you gotta do is ask.
Matt: Everything I had has been taken from me. Now I’m supposed
to ask for mercy? I don’t ask for mercy – people ask me.
Father Everett: Oh, is that a fact?
This small moment also changes the whole relationship between the two
characters. In the Theatrical Cut, the relationship is still like a son and a father.
However, in the Director’s Cut, Father Everett is a manifestation of all the rage and
confusion that Matt feels towards his own Catholic faith. This scene is also much
more important in the Director’s Cut because it is the reveal of Daredevil’s identity
to the priest and also a call back to the previous scene that the two had together.
Matt has come to the church for solace, but Bullseye followed him.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 49
After Bullseye hits Daredevil in the throat by throwing a collection plate, Daredevil
picks up his club. Instead of running after Bullseye, Daredevil throws his club at
him. Bullseye is in the middle of doing a little victory twirl, showing that he is still
full of pride at his own abilities, when he turns and gets hit in the jaw with the club.
It’s a very funny moment and shows the Daredevil is realizing how to beat
Bullseye: by letting his pride beat him. This also explains why Bullseye tells him all
the information on the Kingpin because his pride compelled him to. Daredevil then
chases after Bullseye, picking up the club on his way to the pipe organ.
This is a good return to the theme that is presented by the Kingpin during his scene
with Bullseye: Too much pride can kill a man. It was not used very well in the
Theatrical Cut, but is used to a better extent in the Director’s Cut.
This does present a small continuity error as the shot where Daredevil is running
down the aisle towards Bullseye, the Billy club is still in his hand, even though he
threw it at Bullseye.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 50
When the police arrive at the church, there is a small exchange between a police
officer and his superior, Nick Manolis. The officer is shocked when Nick asks for the
doors to be knocked down since it is a church. Nick doesn’t care and orders them
This bit slows the pace down a little, but does show that some of the officers did
have an issue with storming a church, which was not shown in the Theatrical Cut.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 51
After Bullseye lands on Ben’s car, the Director’s cut adds a close-up of Bullseye in
very severe pain. This doesn’t add anything to the story or characters, but is added
solely for tone and was a shot that the MPAA objected with for a PG-13 rating. I
have no opinion on this change.
After Fisk finds out that Bullseye failed to kill Daredevil, there is a brief exchange
between Wesley and Fisk. Fisk states the obvious that Daredevil will be coming.
Wesley states that they will be ready for him. Then it cuts back to the Theatrical
Cut when Fisk tells Wesley to send to guards home.
There is one more added shot of Wesley looking very frightened and agreeing with
Fisk to send the guards home.
This bit is not necessary as Fisk did not need to vocalize the fact that Daredevil was
coming, when the audience and himself already know it. I would have liked to have
heard a line about him figuring that Bullseye told the identity of the Kingpin to
Daredevil in place of this scene. This is one of the remaining plot holes in the
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 52
After the Fisk Corp scene, we cut back to the aftermath of the church battle.
Bullseye is seen motionless in a stretcher, as he is being loaded into an ambulance.
Ben tells Nick that there is an anonymous tip on the Tazio murder and that it leads
to Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. Nick says that Ben doesn’t have any proof on Fisk.
Ben says that he knows the man who does.
This is a great addition because it fills in the biggest plot hole of the Theatrical Cut:
how did the police know who the Kingpin was at the end? It also shows that
Foggy’s work in the film has helped in bringing down the Kingpin, not just Matt as
Daredevil. This is a good theme because it shows that there are many facets of
heroism, not just as a vigilante in a devil costume.
This also adds to the growing professional relationship between the two characters.
Their first scene occurred in the subway station at the Quesada murder site, then at
the Natchios murder site, and now at the church where they will bring down the
reason for the other two crimes: the Kingpin.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 53
After the Nick and Ben scene in front of the church, there is a jump cut to Wesley at
an after-work style bar. Nick arrives and sits next to Wesley who quickly confronts
him about the murder of Lisa Tazio. Wesley is visibly affected. A great moment
occurs when Wesley states that he wants his lawyer even though Nick hasn’t
charged him with anything. Nick states that they are going to talk about Wesley’s
The location of the bar is definitely a contrast to the biker-style bar that was Josie’s
at the beginning of the film. We also get to see how the lifestyle of being the
assistant to the Kingpin has affected Wesley, which is never seen in the Theatrical
Cut. He has a moment of hope on his face as he hears about the plea bargain. He
can escape the clutches of Fisk.
At first viewing, I was rather confused about Wesley’s connection to Lisa Tazio.
Upon this extensive analysis, I realized that Wesley was the one who was feeding
information about Fisk to Tazio because he was one of her regular clients. He may
have even fallen in love with her. Once he figured that Tazio was in league with
Ben Urich, Wesley was ordered to kill Tazio and set up some drugged-out loser,
which turned out to be Daunte Jackson, with the crime. This is why Tazio had the
“WOW 8-9” note; it was a note for a calendar of clients and appointments she had.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 54
The final fight between Daredevil and the Kingpin has been extended greatly. Right
after the moment where Kingpin drags Daredevil to him by blocking Daredevil’s
attack with the grappling hook, Daredevil falls to the floor, instead of smashing into
a window, as in the Theatrical Cut. Fisk goes to take out Daredevil’s head with his
cane, but Daredevil’s escapes. The blast from Fisk’s cane leaves a hole in the floor
and water from the glass piping system pours out. This sets up the later moments
in the fight that was missing from the Theatrical Cut.
Daredevil jumps up and lays quite a few punches into Fisk’s face. They do
relatively little damage. Fisk smashes his cane into Daredevil’s ribs. Daredevil
knocks the cane away but is quickly choked by Fisk. Fisk lifts Daredevil by the
throat and throws him to the window, where he smashes into it as in the Theatrical
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 55
After Fisk throws Daredevil into the ceiling, in the Director’s Cut, Daredevil tries to
crawl away from Fisk. Fisk slowly stalks after Daredevil and kicks him onto his
back. Fisk grabs Daredevil by the wrist and drags him away from the desk before
hurling him into a wall, which is seen in the Theatrical Cut.
After Matt smashes the glass pipes, creating a wall of water so that Matt can see
Fisk, there is a small extension to the fight scene. It mainly consists of a few more
punches from Matt on Fisk. It’s hardly noticeable and only lasts about a second.
When Matt throws Kingpin’s cane away, there is a long shot. In the Theatrical Cut
you could see Matt mouthing some dialogue that isn’t heard. Then there is a cut to
a close-up where Matt says, “Justice is served.” This is an editing error because
Matt says the same thing twice in two different shots. In the Director’s Cut, Matt’s
mouth is digitally altered so that his lips no longer move in the long shot.
All of these additions add to the coherency of the final fight sequence that was
severely lacking in the Theatrical Cut. The fight is longer and more intense with its
brief moments. There are a few moments where the two characters aren’t fighting,
as with the moment where Daredevil is trying to crawl away from Fisk but is
dragged. A moment like this allows for the audience to visually take in what is
happening in the scene and where characters are located in the stage. The
Theatrical Cut edited these moments out for pace and the scene because confusing
due to accelerated choreography and quick jump cuts.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 56
After Matt drops the rose for the memory of his father, the Director’s Cut jumps
forward to Matt, Foggy, and Daunte outside the courthouse. Daunte has just been
acquitted and he is sure happy to be out. Daunte is so happy that he hugs Foggy
numerous times to show his appreciation. Matt steps aside to collect his thoughts.
While Daunte has his freedom, Matt sure has lost a lot to get it. However, after
Daunte says his thanks yet again, Matt begins to smile.
This is a great scene because Coolio receives the opportunity to completely display
all the warmth that he has in the character. The audience is genuinely happy for
him. Plus, the great comic timing between Foggy and Daunte is displayed again.
Yet, we still realize how much Matt has sacrificed through the entire story and the
Director’s Cut gives us this moment for the audience to reflect and breathe after
the emotional battle that occurred against the Kingpin.
The next scene is the second scene in the coffee bar, which was used in the
Theatrical Cut right after the rose scene.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 57
After the coffee bar scene, Matt goes for a walk. In the Director’s Cut, he walks
past the Catholic Church after the Sunday mass is being let out. Father Everett
sees Matt and smiles. “Maybe next week, Matt?” Matt smiles as the priest goes
inside the church.
I was almost surprised that Father Everett didn’t run over to bill Matt for the
stained glass window that he broke when he threw Bullseye out of it, but for the
sake of character, this is a good moment. It is nice to see Matt beginning to deal
with his crisis of faith, even if he hasn’t completely healed yet.
Then Ben arrives. At first Matt is happy to see him but then Ben tells him that he is
writing a story about Daredevil. Ben is going to expose Matt’s secret. Matt is
threatened and tells Ben that if he writes that story, Matt’s life is going to be over.
Ben just tells Matt that he’s a reporter doing his job and walks away.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 58
This scene plays out like an accidental meeting between the two. However, it is
visible that the guilt that Ben is going through in his decision to expose Matt is
already taking a toll. What Ben doesn’t realize yet is that a man is defined by more
than his job description. But it’s his ignorance that could end Matt’s life, at least as
he knows it.
After the scene in front of the church, a narration, similar to the opening narration,
occurs. This narration is extended in the Director’s Cut and is much more prophetic
than the narration in the Theatrical Cut. It is about the never-ending battle
between good and evil. The first moment of narration occurs over a shot of Fisk in
his new jail cell. The camera pulls back and we see Wesley next to him in the
neighboring cell. Even after he pulls a deal to escape, Wesley will never escape the
Kingpin. It is doubtful that Wesley will live to see his release, unless he makes a
deal with Fisk.
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 59
The narration continues into a small scene that reveals Bullseye is indeed alive and
in intensive care. This scene is the same as the scene that occurred during the
closing credits of the Theatrical Cut. However, the music in this scene accompanied
with the narration evokes a feeling of dread instead of the comedy that is present in
the Theatrical Cut. Bullseye is a much more frightening character than before.
The scene then cuts to Matt walking towards the rooftop where he took Elektra,
which is in the Theatrical Cut, except this time the Director’s Cut has somber music
playing for the beginning as opposed to the happier music used in the Theatrical
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 60
The final change occurs during the scene where Matt finds the Braille necklace.
This marks the beginning of Matt’s narration in the Theatrical Cut. In it Matt says
that he was out to save the city, but while he ended up saving himself, as well.
The Director’s Cut has no narration and lets the scene play out on its own. Without
the narration, we visibly see the hope returning to Matt in a more powerful way
without the external distractions. It also works well to have this scene after the
scene when we see that Bullseye is alive. Not only does evil get to live, but so does
good. It’s a very fateful message that was not in the Theatrical Cut.
Very few Director’s Cuts or Extended Editions can offer a brand new vision of the
world presented within the film. The extended editions of films like Aliens,
Terminator 2, and even the Lord of the Rings all have the same message between
the two versions, but the extra footage to only used flesh out their characters in a
way that was not possible in the Theatrical Edition.
Daredevil is different.
The message of the Theatrical Cut was that Daredevil was the only man who could
save Hell’s Kitchen. He sacrificed his happiness for the well-being of the city. This
is the same message that is present throughout numerous comic book films,
including Spider-Man II, which was praised for this same message. The Director’s
Cut, which furthers the secondary characters of Ben Urich and Foggy Nelson into
active characters that work to help save the city through their own methods, has a
different message. This message is that regular men can become heroes and save
the city from evil, but it took Daredevil for these men to realize their potential.
Heroism lies in everyone, but it is ultimately our decision whether to use it or not.
As for the editing decisions for the Theatrical Cut and the decision not the release
the Director’s Cut for the official release, I will leave that to the voices of
Daredevil: The Theatrical Cut Vs. The Director’s Cut 61
Writer/Director Mark Steven Johnson, Producer Avi Arad and Producer Gary Foster.
Keep in mind that it was the studio and Foster that pushed for the cuts to be made
for the Theatrical Cut of Daredevil, but the Director’s Cut is the intended vision of
Arad and Johnson…
“It’s tough because the criticism that I have heard of the movie has been mostly
that there’s not enough story. Which is why I’m so glad that there’s a Director’s
Cut. This is like the ‘story version’ of the story. It’s always hard to hear criticisms
of something that you know are probably right and that you have to agree with on
some level. I know that some people will prefer the Theatrical Cut and I think that
a lot of people will prefer the Director’s Cut. It just depends what you like in your
movie. It depends if you want something that’s in-and-out in 90 minutes or do you
want to be able to take your time and get more into a story and be willing to go
more on this hero’s journey. I think people will find it interesting and will ultimately
have to decide which version they like more.”
-Mark Steven Johnson
“That’s the luxury of the DVD business. DVDs are there, not only to deliver the
movie, but to deliver the extras. The Director’s Cut is a luxury that this industry
affords us to do. And I think people will love it in its entirety and now people can
see it. So, it’s wonderful.”
“Ultimately, at the end of the day, you make decisions and you have a cut of the
movie. Some you agree with, some that you don’t. But that’s the movie. I think
that there’s value as a lover of film, as a lover of certain actors and actresses, as a
Daredevil fan to see some of the other ideas that were thought about that weren’t
ultimately chosen to be in the final theatrical cut of the film. I think that’s a fun
and interesting experience, but that’s not the movie. The movie is ‘Daredevil’ that
was released last year in the theaters, and you can buy on the other DVD. Again,
that’s how I feel. I do think that it’s a better cut. I trust the work that we did,
After the critical and fan reactions to the Theatrical Cut of the film and the
overwhelmingly positive reviews for the Director’s Cut, I am heavily inclined to not
believe a word that Gary Foster has to say. I am only sorry that Mark Steven
Johnson’s name got dragged through the mud during the theatrical failure of
Daredevil in 2003. Now, he is finally able to set things right thanks to DVD.