The Show Without Fear
After waiting for what had seemed like years, Marvel FINALLY makes their Netflix debut with Daredevil…. and man oh man, what a debut.
There’s so much to talk about… fantastic writing, flawless cinematography, incredible acting… where do we being? Let’s get started with the characters.
After the 2003 incarnation of Daredevil starring Ben Affleck, it’s no wonder we haven’t seen “The Man With No Fear” for a while (what caused them to make an Elektra spinoff still boggles my mind…) Now with Marvel in charge of the direction of the show, the character has been justified, as well as the rest of the cast.
The show focuses mainly around Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and his best friend Foggy Nelson, two moral lawyers fighting to do the right thing as they attempt to start up their firm. Nelson and Murdock’s first client, Karen Page is framed by the murder of a co-worker when she discovered something off about her company. Turns out Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) is behind it all and you can guess where it goes from there. These four characters share the spotlight for most of the season, with one hell of a supporting cast.
Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, turns vigilante and takes the law into his own hands in attempt to clean up a crime ridden Hell’s Kitchen. Charlie Cox’s portrayal of Daredevil was marvelous (get it?) Anyone can play a blind man, but to actually act like it and not look at the subject for the entire duration of the season is a different story. I also enjoyed how they showcased Daredevil’s powers. There was no origin episode, instead his origin was set within short flashbacks that would appear randomly during the episodes (much like the 1st two seasons of Arrow.) With every episode a new ability would be revealed, so not to overload you with all of his powers.
Daredevil is a smart show, and by that I mean it doesn’t spell things out for you (ie Gotham). The show trust that the viewer will put things together on their own by effective use of sound editing and fantastic acting. If you happen to miss something, later on it will be revealed. So the show doesn’t just bring in something new and then attempt to explain it right off the bat, something I think more shows need. A good example is Daredevil’s abilities. We were shown what he can do first and then a few episodes later he confesses what he can do to Claire (Rosario Dawson) and Foggy.
Speaking of Foggy, Elden Henson (you may remember him from The Mighty Ducks) does a great job as Matt Murdock’s partner in law. Foggy is a lovable character and has great screen chemistry with both Cox and Deborah Ann Woll (Karen.) Karen and Foggy find themselves together for most of the season. They use the law (or at least try to) to bring corruption down in Hell’s Kitchen. Occasionally we did get Karen as the damsel in distress, but not as often as other television shows.
Then we have the antagonist, The Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio.) D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Kingpin is probably most spot on of any Marvel super villain thus far. He’s just perfect for the role. We don’t see him for a number of episodes, when finally revealed, he is somewhat of a mystery that is slowly unraveled throughout the season. At times Kingpin will be very cold and calculated, then he snaps, and when he does, you do not want to be on the other end. We get a vivid look into his back story when it is revealed he killed his father with a hammer when he was a boy. Because of his troubled childhood, Kingpin shows respect for his elders. When around his older allies he is much quieter and deferential. The show did give him a weakness though, love. While some fanboys disagreed with this, I thought it made him human and grounded the character, adding more depth to him. In the end, I’m glad Kingpin wasn’t killed and can’t wait to see him make a return in future seasons.
Anyone who knows anything about Marvel knows, it’s all connected! The show made some vague Avengers references which I thought made the show even better. Union Allied was the construction company responsible for rebuilding Manhattan after the incident in the first Avengers movie. Union Allied is also under the control of Kingpin. This tied in perfectly. It made sense but didn’t shove it in your face. Also in a show that is so grounded in reality, you take pleasure in now seeing crazy super powers every episode. The show had much more drama than it did action, and that perfected it.
There were loads of Iron Fist references throughout the season. There were hints that Madame Gao may actually be Mother Crane, an evil, magical being from one of the Legendary Cities of Heaven (where Iron Fist get’s his powers from.) Madame Gao’s heroine also bared the marking of the Steel Serpent, nemesis of Iron Fist! Now I know we’re not getting Iron Fist for a while, but this is definitely exciting (you’re such a tease Marvel!)
Characters and Easter Eggs aside, what really made this show for me was the production value. Intense fight scenes on par with the movies. Daredevil got his ass handed to him a bunch of times. So we didn’t have that whole, the superhero always wins bullshit… and when I say handed to him I mean he was bloody as all hell and next to death, it was awesome! Superb use of lighting left you sitting on the edge of your seat every time there was a dark corner. I can’t remember the last time I was this involved in a TV show were I would tone everything else out and just… watch! Finally, the cinematography was breathtaking. That one shot at the end of episode 2, right up there with the one shot from True Detective.
There’s so much more that could be touched upon, but I’m going to leave it at this. These were the key components to why I loved this show so much. Great acting, incredible writing, and a very artsy film style. Daredevil was a dark, gritty, suspense ride that drew me in at the first episode and didn’t let go until the season’s end. I can’t wait for the 2nd season and the other Netflix series Marvel has in store. If you don’t have Netflix, go buy it you cheap bastard (it’s only 8 bucks a month!)