Marvel’s Daredevil

Posted: April 18, 2015 in Reviews
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Growing up, I wasn’t too familiar with comics. I had read some X-Men comics here and there and was ecstatic whenever I got my hands on a copy of Tales from the Crypt. The medium struck my interest, but there were few resources to pursue it. When movies like Sam Raimi’s Spiderman and the first X-Men were initially released, the media treated them as a comic book movie trend: money making franchises that maybe have a few good movies in them. Several years later, The Avengers is one of the highest grossing films of all time, Spiderman is about to endure his third reboot, and X-Men is still going strong with both critics and fans.

When 2003 came along, Mark Steven Johnson brought to life his vision of Daredevil. While the version many saw in theaters was a condensed cut, hardcore Murdock fans could watch as many times as they liked the director’s cut on Blu-ray and DVD. Johnson’s film introduced me to Daredevil and his struggle to protect Hell’s Kitchen.  Daredevil came out before it was cool to have dark cinematography. This got me interested in reading more about our blind superhero. I got familiar with the Frank Miller run of the “man without fear” and grew to love characters like Foggy and Ben Urich. Later, I grew even fonder of Urich with Brian Michael Bendis’ End of Days series.

The standard seems to get set higher and higher lately with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A-list actors want to be superheroes and every network is trying to find their own signature genre programming. In the last few years, Netflix has blossomed into a huge force to reckon with, from thousands of movies to stream from anywhere to their original programming for every type of demographic.

When Netflix announced that they were creating a Daredevil series, I got excited. Not only that, but Netflix has a strategy where they drop every episode of a single season on the first day of release, allowing fans to binge watch as many episodes as they like without the pain of waiting week after week. While that may cause spoilers across the internet, a show like Daredevil promises to be an experience as Netflix has no need to bring 15 million viewers a week to keep a show going or any kind of ratings stunt. Many details were kept under wraps except the casting and I liked that. I avoided every trailer and review on the show so I could be under the radar as to what to expect. After watching every episode these past 8 days, I’m glad I did.

Charlie Cox plays Matt Murdock, our blind attorney who ventures the night as a masked vigilante unbeknownst to his friends. His performance is subtle. He’s good looking, but not clean. Cox has the sex appeal of a leading man, without looking like a GQ model. Watching him and Elden Henson (as Foggy) interact feels like we stepped into the house of two best friends. While there are some romantic subplots in the series, it never loosens its grip on the fact that the strongest chemistry is between these two friends. One of the season’s best episodes focuses on their friendship and how it all began.

On the subject of origins, the series smartly refuses to give us a pilot that explains everything then jumps into a series of villains. Instead, we are treated to a season of flashbacks, each one relating to the episode’s theme as we slowly learn about our characters. The show is more than just Murdock and, in one of the best creative decisions, no one is one dimensional. There are a lot of dialogue heavy expositions, but they are just as riveting as the fight sequences, specifically the ending of episode 2 which was shot in one take if you haven’t heard yet.

I plan on rewatching the series a few times and am looking forward as to where Netflix decides to go with this series.  The Daredevil character has always set himself apart from his Marvel counterparts, sometimes described as the Marvel equivalent to DC’s Batman, and this series showcases what he has to offer.

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