Happy Tuesday! I’ve been MIA the last couple of months gathering information and busy with my own writing projects which will hopefully be in the works soon. But I have also spent the last couple of months reading and watching some new things so I have some ammunition to load you all up with this spring and summer.
But writing about Daredevil couldn’t wait. It has to be said now.
On Friday April 10th Netflix released thirteen episodes of the new Daredevil series. The show’s trailer had me a bit skeptical since I’m not sure if I can sit back and watch anymore origin stories about superheroes. I also wasn’t sure how British actor Charlie Cox, who I only really knew from the graphic novel film adaptation Stardust, would do in the lead role.
Fans and internet gossip has spoken that DC would rule the television scene, and they have been doing fairly well on the CW with shows like Arrow and The Flash, and have recently announced other shows in the works. Unfortunately shows like Gotham and the cancelled Constantine did not get fans’ attention, with good reason. And I cannot not mention Green Hornet star Seth Rogen’s attempt at making a Preacher series which already with casting news and character backgrounds revealed, just looks like another fail before even getting started.
Marvel has also attempted to get their hands in on the TV level with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter. While Agent Carter did not do so well in ratings even though I thought it was well acted and well put together, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be holding on for as long as they can. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recently picked up an Inhuman story line, and as an Inhumans fan I was very excited, unfortunately the rest of the show is a mess.
So with Daredevil coming out with it’s thirteen episodes all at once on Friday, I wasn’t sure which way it would go. Would it be on and off? Would it be another show that got us excited until we actually started watching it and realized we had made a mistake?
Fortunately, Daredevil is probably one of the best things Marvel has put out.
The brutal violence, darkness, and character development of not only Matt Murdock, but of Wilson Fisk, Karen Page, and Foggy Nelson puts Marvel and Marvel’s fans on the ground level. The pacing of the show is almost perfect. Instead of getting the Hollywood film script where we have to watch a half hour of Matt Murdock as a kid dealing with his new blind life, then another half hour of him training and running around New York in a homemade costume, with then an hour of him actually being a hero, the superhero outline gets thrown out, and a new way of watching a hero being born is built on the bones of this great series.
The show begins with a captivating title sequence, which has gritty music, and red liquid falling slowly to reveal landmarks in New York as well as symbols of the law until finally the image of Daredevil’s horns and back. There was definitely a chill that went up my spine every time the end sequence revealed Daredevil across the screen and then slowly “Marvel” would show up above it.
Matt Murdock’s backstory is told in flashbacks spanning over a couple of episodes. Mostly whenever Matt is knocked out in a fight and has to get back up, he remembers something his father had told him or how he had to patch his father up after coming home from the boxing ring. It’s all just strength behind Matt’s character showcasing that Murdock boys can take a beating, but always get back up. There’s also a great flashback episode that reveals how he and Foggy met, that will make you a little misty eyed.
Matt Murdock opens a law office with college friend Foggy Nelson, played lovingly by Elden Henson, who has nailed the look as well as the heart of the character. The office is nothing to look at, just three rooms, and during the series they have a manilla envelope on the door reading “Nelson and Murdock Attorneys at Law”, before they can even afford a sign. During the day Matt is a lawyer who is just looking to help people, especially the people he thinks are truly innocent. This brings in Karen Page, who is played by True Blood star Deborah Ann Woll, who becomes the beating heart of the series.
Karen has been framed for a murder she didn’t commit after discovering illegal activity within the company she works for. Nelson and Murdock come to talk to her at the police station admitting to her that they will represent her. While telling her story, Murdock senses Karen’s heartbeat and realizes that she’s telling the truth. Without spoiling too much in the first episode, if you are familiar with the comics you are aware that Karen goes to work in the office of Nelson and Murdock as their secretary.
Karen has a strong morality about her that causes her to dig into the truth about the illegal activities occurring within the company she was a part of and finding out who directly framed her. This leads to her wanting to take the story public by going to newspaper writer Ben Urich, played by a heartfelt and tenacious Vondie Curtis-Hall, who earned an Emmy nomination as a recurring character on ER.
So the characters are all put into place except of course for a main villain. Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk doesn’t show up on the show until the third episode. Nobody speaks his name until the Russians begin to get agitated with how he is doing business with them. D’Onofrio plays Fisk with a quiet kind of rage. The show’s atmosphere is already very intense, and when Fisk eventually comes into play, you’re not sure what he’s going to do or how he may react. His emotions are triggered very much so by his new found love interest, a woman named Vanessa, who works at an art gallery. He’s protective over her but is also aware of how strongly independent she is, so it’s a relationship that makes you care about what happens to Fisk.
A lot of the series too has to deal with Fisk trying to figure out what kind of man he is. At first you believe that he just wants power, but then you find he’s got a strong conviction in making the city a better place, but his sins and how he gets his power pushes against an inner conflict.
Of course, all of this is just the outline, the real show hinders on the small incredible moments as well as the emotional acting and development of all the characters.
I know that Daredevil’s religion comes into play during the comics, but I really appreciated the subtlety of Matt’s Catholicism in the series. He finds solace in talking to one of the only priests on television who apparently wants to listen and offer heartfelt and meaningful advice. There’s a really great moment between himself and Karen after they’ve lost someone, where she asks him if having religion in his life makes it easier, in which he answers her, “Not today.”
Charlie Cox reminds us that superheroes don’t actually have to hide their voice, or make it more disgruntled sounding like the distracting tone of Nolan’s Batman or the CW’s Arrow. His Matt Murdock through most of the show isn’t just pounding around New York, he is owning every scene he is in. Even in the scenes where he walks away barely holding on to his life, he definitely got more than a few punches in. In fact, Matt Murdock does far better fighting a dozen men with guns, then he does against a solo match with someone who has been trained.
He just kicks a lot of ass. And he looks really amazing doing it.
Matt Murdock’s black costume that he is wearing for most of the show, looks perfectly bad ass. All in black to outline cut muscles, and a man that shouldn’t be taken lightly, with black combat boots, and a black bandana tied over his eyes, he looks pretty damn scary. Also Charlie Cox, has given Daredevil some serious swagger. Him just walking down a dark hallway or just showing up in a dark alley is going to give you goosebumps.
Episode 2, “Cut Man” has one of the greatest fight sequences I’ve seen in a film or TV show. I’m not even going to spoil anything, I’m just going to say, you’re going to want to back it up and watch it again.
I guess what I’m really saying is, if you haven’t watched Daredevil yet, go watch it, go watch it now, cancel everything, go.
And as always thanks for reading!