Tag Archives: Mark Steven Johnson

Daredevil Director’s Cut (2003) Review

Time: 133 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil
Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios
Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin
Colin Farrell as Bullseye
Jon Favreau as Franklin “Foggy” Nelson
Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich
David Keith as Jack Murdock
Scott Terra as Young Matt Murdock
Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Attorney Matt Murdock (Ben Affleck) is blind, but his other four senses function with superhuman sharpness. By day, Murdock represents the downtrodden. At night, he is Daredevil, a masked vigilante, a relentless avenger of justice. When Wilson Fisk (Michael Clarke Duncan) hires Bullseye (Colin Farrell) to kill Daredevil, Murdock must rely on his own senses and search out the conspirators against justice — which may include his own girlfriend, Elektra (Jennifer Garner).

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I had heard many times before that the Daredevil movie wasn’t good, it’s been known as one of the worst comic book movies of all time. However, I had been meaning to check it out, even just out of curiosity. I watched the director’s cut and it’s by no means a particularly good movie, but I can’t deny that it was really entertaining, even if it’s not in the way it was intended. It’s really silly, and the movie playing it seriously only made it even more funny and enjoyable.

I’m not entirely certain with what the director’s cut added but from scanning over the list of reported changes, the director’s cut seems to be a vast improvement over the theatrical cut. A lot of the comedy was actually funny, though I have a feeling a lot of it wasn’t intentional. It does get a little too over the top at times though, mainly the now infamous playground scene where Matt Murdock (Affleck) and Elektra (Garner) fight. That scene particularly is astounding in how goofy and ridiculous it was, easily the worst scene of the movie, and that’s saying a lot. The plot is really nothing special and is actually rather drawn out. Really it takes half the movie for the plot to really start happening. You don’t really become emotionally invested in the story or characters at all, you’re basically just here to be entertained. It uses a lot of clichés and tropes present from plenty of comic book movies from the 2000s, this is by far the most 2000s of them all. The movie may be too dumb for some people and I can get that, but for me I had a blast watching what would happen next.

Ben Affleck is Matt Murdock/Daredevil and I think he was actually a good pick for the role, playing both sides of the character well. The material wasn’t great, but he did what he could with what he had. He’s also a little consistent as a character, in one scene early on Daredevil lets someone get killed, which wouldn’t be as much of a problem if they didn’t act like he is a vigilante who doesn’t cross the line to kill for the remainder of the movie. Wouldn’t necessarily mind a more brutal Daredevil so long as they stuck with it all the way through. Side note but Affleck is also really convincing as a blind man, though it probably helped that he had contact lenses at certain points. Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios wasn’t really used to her fullest potential but she was fine. She really only gets a couple scenes near the end to actually do things but that’s it. Thankfully she got her own movie after this but apparently it’s significantly worse than Daredevil. They share some good chemistry despite some incredibly bad writing for their scenes together. Jon Favreau is also good as Foggy Nelsen, Murdock’s lawyer partner and friend. The villains are endlessly entertaining. Michael Clarke Duncan as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin is perfect casting and chews up scenery whenever he’s on screen, unfortunately he’s not really given much to do and really wasn’t utilised as much as he could’ve been. Still he was fun to watch. The scene stealer however is Colin Farrell as Bullseye, completely and utterly silly and over the top. He’s not given any sort of backstory and was really just a silly comic book movie villain. Pretty much the reason that he’s particularly after Daredevil is that during an assassination, he made him miss one of his shots, and that’s a classic comic book villain motivation (even though I’m pretty sure that’s not Bullseye). Pretty much the only comic book accurate thing about this version of Bullseye is that he can catch and throw things pretty well. I probably wouldn’t call him good but he’s certainly entertaining, which at this point is the only thing that Daredevil unintentionally succeeds at.

The direction by Mark Steven Johnson wasn’t the best. The transitions between scenes are over the top with the camera zooming through the city and the like. The music choices are also so 2000s, it’s over the top and stuck with that, that it only made things so much more entertaining. The highlight was the use of Evanescence (there are two uses of them) when Elektra is practicing on some sandbags to ‘Bring me to Life’, peak 2000s comic book movie moment right there. With that said, I recall that there were some directing decisions that I liked. Some things are ripped from other comic book movies at the time, like when Matt gets hit by radioactive waste it shows what happens internally to him with effects similar to when Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider and gets powers in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. I think the action was decent enough, again really over the top, but you can generally see what’s going on during them. The costumes are a mixed bag. The Daredevil suit is actually pretty decent, it’s actually on par with the red Daredevil suit for the Netflix show (way too much leather though). On the other hand I’m not sure what they were even thinking for the Bullseye costume, but it fitted the performance well, so I guess that’s a win.

Daredevil definitely isn’t a good movie, however it’s the cheese and over the top factor that makes it so fun to watch. Along with that there are some genuinely good things, like the actors despite the bad material do try, and some of them are decent here. I view this the way I view Suicide Squad, a really silly comic book movie that’s not particularly good, but has some entertaining parts to it. If you’re going to watch the movie, I do recommend the Director’s Cut, it seemed to have significantly improved the movie. However, if you want a legitimately good representation of Daredevil, it goes without saying but the Netflix series is definitely what you’re really looking for.

Ghost Rider (2007) Review

47[1]

Ghost Rider

Time: 114 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
Eva Mendes as Roxanne Simpson
Peter Fonda as Mephistopheles
Wes Bentley as Blackheart
Sam Elliot as Caretaker
Director: Mark Steven Johnson

In order to save his dying father, young stunt cyclist Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) sells his soul to Mephistopheles (Peter Fonda) and parts from the pure-hearted Roxanne Simpson (Eva Mendes), the love of his life. Years later, Johnny’s path crosses again with Roxanne, now a reporter, and also with Mephistopheles, who offers to release Johnny’s soul if Johnny becomes the fabled, fiery Ghost Rider, a supernatural agent of vengeance and justice. Mephistopheles charges Johnny with defeating Blackheart (Wes Bentley), Mephistopheles’s nemesis and son, who plans to displace his father and create a new hell even more terrible than the old one.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Ghost Rider has been called a terrible movie and one of the worst comic book movies and although I found some good elements in it, I don’t think it’s a good movie. The acting isn’t that special and the story isn’t interesting or anything special either. What does save it from being completely dull are the Ghost Rider scenes which are entertaining enough to warrant me calling this a guilty pleasure.

787a2d59366e467eec8dc7ff6982270c[1]

I really wasn’t that interested in the story plot and what was going on. I would’ve liked to see Ghost Rider more in the movie because his scenes are the best in the entire movie, apart from his dialogue not being written that well, mostly consists of one liners. Unfortunately, Johnny turns into the Ghost Rider for the first time 40 minutes in; he should’ve been introduced earlier. There is also a romance between Johnny and Roxanne but it just feels unnecessary, forced and not done that well. Another problem was that none of the villains seem to do many threatening things, nor did they seem to have that much power, even Peter Fonda’s character doesn’t seem to have that much power. The henchmen were even worse, only posing a threat to Ghost Rider for a little moment before being defeated. If you are planning to see Ghost Rider, don’t see it for its story as it’s not that good.

cageeva[1]

Nicolas Cage is in this movie and he’s usually most known for being very over the top in his acting, however here, he keeps it subdued, with the exception of a few scenes. Unfortunately he was a little boring and wasn’t very memorable. If Cage had more over the top moments it would at least make his performance more entertaining. Eva Mendes was okay in this movie but I didn’t find her very memorable and I didn’t personally find any chemistry between Cage and Mendes, which doesn’t help as the romance wasn’t even written well to begin with. Wes Bentley plays the villain of this movie, and is unfortunately one dimensional, so he doesn’t feel that dangerous. Peter Fonda and Sam Elliot gave the best performances in the movie, they weren’t anything that great but they were good enough.

ghost_rider_02[1]

The cinematography was okay for me. Like I said earlier, I liked watching Ghost Rider when he was on screen; something about the look of him makes it great to watch. One of the best scenes in the movie involved Ghost Rider and the song “Ghost Riders in the Sky”.

gr3[1]

Some have called Ghost Rider one of the worst comic book movies of all time; even though it’s definitely not a good movie, it’s nowhere the level of Catwoman or Batman and Robin. There are also some enjoyable moments whether it may be of Cage or the actual Ghost Rider that has made this movie a slight guilty pleasure for me. From what I’ve heard, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is worse; I’ll just have to take a look at it for myself. Overall, Ghost Rider is not terrible but it’s not that good either.