Daredevil: Zade Rosenthal
Ty Burr
December 03, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

”It was supposed to be about the hero of Hell’s Kitchen,” grumbles writer-director Mark Steven Johnson about last year’s Daredevil. Instead, after death by a thousand cuts, the theatrical version ended up being about Ben Affleck, his stubby limbs wedged into a red leather suit, fighting Colin Farrell’s Bullseye in an unconvincing CGI-renovated church. Not even Stan Lee could muster up an ”Excelsior!” over that — let alone the ridiculous playground sissy fight with Elektra (Jennifer Garner) — but Johnson gets his own back with a director’s cut restoring more than 30 minutes and an entire sprawling subplot: blind attorney/Daredevil alter ego Matt Murdock’s defense of a man (rapper Coolio) unjustly accused of murder. The problem? The movie still reeks. While there are some amusingly banter-filled new scenes between Affleck and Jon Favreau as his law partner, the murder-mystery story line is patchy and confusing, and it never meshes with the main Elektra-Bullseye-Kingpin plot. A 15-minute featurette on the disc hints hilariously at the editing-room screaming matches that may have erupted, with producer Gary Foster insisting that the longer version’s ”intellectual content” is a pace killer, while director Johnson calls the theatrical cut ”flawed.” Fellas, relax?you’re both right.

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