This review is just to get you started. For the sake of any first-timers who have no idea about the Marvel comics character, Daredevil, I’ll take it easy by first establishing what Daredevil is about–just enough to pique some interest.
In a post-Avengers world, Daredevil follows the exploits of a blind daytime lawyer/nighttime vigilante Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), who takes it upon himself to save the city of Hell’s Kitchen from the criminals that lurk in the shadows. When his fists aren’t soaked in someone else’s blood, he’s working at a law firm with his partner and firm co-founder, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), who has no clue of Matt’s nightly activities. Together they hire Karen Page, their first client, whose case leads them towards a bigger mystery. As their file on her case grows, so does the body count, and their realization that they’re in way over their heads.
The first two episodes of Daredevil are written by Drew Goddard, who has written for TV shows like Lost and Alias, and the showrunner is none other than the creator of Spartacus, Steven S. DeKnight. Goddard established quite a show in the first two episodes, which are both directed by Phil Abraham (Mad Men, The Killing) whose work really shines in the last few minutes of episode two. Starting with the accident that gives Matt his superhuman senses, the first two episodes offer glimpses of his childhood while simultaneously showing how much physical pain he is willing to go through to save his city. Unlike Marvel’s Agents of Shield, with its liberal use of comedy and witty Whedonesque one-liners, Daredevil rarely, if ever, veers off its gritty tone. The cast provides Daredevil with well-written subplots that move along smoothly with the main story, and prove that Matt Murdock isn’t the only character dealing with the all-encompassing fear in Hell’s Kitchen.
As a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I was looking forward to this show, the first of four exclusively available on Netflix. Because of this, the show takes advantage of its ability to portray a grittier, more violent world never before seen in a Marvel program. Before this show, the closest thing to a violent superhero, in my opinion, was Green Arrow from The CW’s Arrow, but after watching the entire season, it’s safe to say that Daredevil clearly trumps all in terms of onscreen violence. This makes it a much more cinematic and adult-oriented TV show, something free of commercials and the neon-hype constantly provided by network TV. I’m very impressed by the intro, with its brooding soundtrack and bloody imagery. It portrays the cornerstones of power in society via a Game of Thrones-like graphic, each “symbol” seemingly created and sustained by ungodly amounts of flowing blood. Brian Cox, as the titular hero, doesn’t use theatrics to get his point across. He doesn’t do the Christian Bale Batman voice, used in excess today by anyone who dons a mask. There are no gadgets, no smoke bombs, or things of that nature. He pretty much bare-bones it, combing the cacophony of Hell’s Kitchen with his heightened sense of hearing, searching for the next perp to plant his fists on. He doesn’t gift wrap them into a cocoon of webbing or wiring for the police–no, he LITERALLY beats the shit out of these criminals, and jets before the cops show up. This Fight Club style of heroism is pretty badass and something unseen in today’s supposedly saturated superhero platform. I plan to rewatch the entire season because I’m sure it’s filled with all sorts of easter eggs for any eagle-eyed Marvel fan. However, I wouldn’t discourage any viewer by telling them that this show is solely for fans of Marvel; this is, in fact, a legitimately well-executed action/adventure TV program–a must-see for today’s streaming audience.
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Daredevil Review: Photos courtesy of Marvel.com