Following the successes of films like X-Men and Spider-Man, many other Marvel heroes made their way to the big screen, yet not all entries found the same critical or commercial success. Mark Steven Johnson, who directed 2003's Daredevil and 2007's Ghost Rider, still looks fondly on those films that might not have become as notable of entries in the history of superhero cinema.
"I had a very, very small hand in that, but I do think we were doing some interesting things back then," Johnson shared with ComicBook.com when looking at the current popularity of the superhero genre. "We tried some things, which I am proud of. I do like the look of Daredevil very much. We hadn't seen a superhero come home covered in scars, and chewing on pain pills, and it was kind of grim. You're not going to get that right now from a Disney-owned Marvel character. You're just not going to see that, and maybe there's a reason. But I found that very interesting. It was something you hadn't seen."
Daredevil sits at 44 percent positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, though it fared better financially, taking in nearly $180 million worldwide. In 2004, a director's cut of the film landed on home video, earning an R rating and including nearly 30 minutes of additional footage.
"Even though they're uneven, I'm still very proud of that director's cut," Johnson noted. "I still think its worthwhile, and the hard thing now is when you look back, and you just see how far visual effects have come. It's like, 'Oh my God.' You look at the CGI Daredevil from 2003, and you're like, 'Yikes.' We have better-looking video game characters now than we did back then."
He added, "I know it's haunted me for years, because the people that, not all, but a lot of the people who didn't like the film, see the director's cut and really enjoyed it. But what good does that do you in the end? You just hope that people see that eventually, and make up their mind based on that."
While these films might not have made the characters household names, they did pave the way for Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix being a success as well as Marvel's Agents of SHIELD incorporating a version of Ghost Rider more easily, as more casual fans had slightly more awareness of the characters.
Johnson's next film, Finding Steve McQueen, opens on March 15th.
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