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Friday, June 27, 2014

Revisiting Daredevil's live-action past

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 4:44 PM

As we get closer to the 2015 debut of Netflix's Daredevil show, Marvel continues to release bits about casting and the potential stories tackled in the series. Charlie Cox plays the titular hero (whose real name is Matt Murdock), with Vincent D'Onofrio as The Kingpin and Elden Henson portraying Foggy Nelson. And as excited as we are about that bit of news, Comic Afterthoughts can't help but feel a bit skeptical.

In this post, we're going to look back at all four live-action TV and film appearances of The Man Without Fear, and remember how every single one of them was awful. We'll start with the most obvious of the list: the 2003, Mark Steven Johnson-helmed film.

1) Daredevil (2003)
No matter what anyone says, It wasn't Ben Affleck's fault. Well, this scene may have been his fault.

Choppy direction and a terrible script were the main culprits for this one, along with some silly performances from the film's villains. Even the costuming was troublesome. I actually don't mind our hero's garb, but that awful, bald Bullseye (complete with a target scar on his forehead) haunts my dreams.

And though some will tell you that the later director's cut redeemed the film, I can assure you that this isn't the case. Even a reinstated Coolio subplot couldn't save this film. But if you're really curious about what you were missing in theaters, here's a pretty good representation of what you missed.

OK, you're right. That was incredible. You know it's a bad sign that Stan Lee hated this film, because he loves pretty much everything. Guess he wasn't offered to read the whole script before he did one of his signature cameos in it.

2) The Trial of the Incredible Hulk
For many, The Incredible Hulk TV series is a source of nostalgia. The Bruce Banner/Hulk team of Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno still manages to evoke some whimsy in yours truly, but the later Trial of the Incredible Hulk does little more than bum me out.

Bixby directed and produced the made-for-TV feature, and aside from providing another Jade Giant adventure, it was intended to serve as a backdoor pilot for a Daredevil series. Thespian/singer Rex Smith was known for the single "You Take My Breath Away" (not the similarly titled and much better Berlin song).

OK, so all I could find was that weird compilation video.

Shockingly, the Daredevil series was never produced. All we have left to tease us is this Hulk tale, in which DD's costume is stripped down to a black, ninja-like outfit, removing the horns, letters, red hue and literally every other compelling aspect of it.

3) Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
This was included only for the kind of people who will note that it wasn't included. What can you really say about this? Writer/director Kevin Smith is responsible for a late-'90s revival of the character, so it makes sense that he'd put a little nod to the character in this scene, set against a studio backdrop (at about 1:04 in this video).

The mega-red version of Daredevil even gives a few tumbles for the camera. Because otherwise, how would we know it was him?

4) Elektra
Now, the Ben Affleck scene, in which he returns to his role as Matt Murdock, was actually cut, but I can't leave this film off the list. Elektra Natchios is revived after the events of Daredevil, and this narrative follows her into the world of contract killing. Even The Hand, the ninja crime organization from the comics, didn't help much with this effort.

If you're curious about that cut scene, though, YouTube has made it possible to revisit such things. Don't worry, this one is just a minute long.

It's probably unfair to use any of this as a barometer for the new Daredevil series. After all, DD has had some notable and enjoyable sequences in the animated Marvel Universe, and the folks behind this new series have some impressive credits (Cabin in the Woods, Lost, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Spartacus, to name a few).

But until we see some trailers, presumably in late 2014, it's hard to imagine what this series will be like. But hey, the San Diego Comic-Con (July 24-27) does fall on the 50th anniversary of Daredevil's creation. Could we see at least a costume reveal then?

Let's just hope it's better than any of this.

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