DC has been putting out quite a few television shows on different channels with varying different qualities while Marvel stuck their guns with Agents of Shield and Agent Carter with ABC. All the shows seeming to have a singular problem in that they are very slow in the beginning trying to find their footing. Netflix however is an entirely new beast for this type of show.
Daredevil has premiered exclusively on Netflix with 13 one hour episodes all at once to complete a whole story much like a mini series or made for TV movie. This means we get far less restrictions. If this was a movie, it would easily have an R rating. This gives Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) and his team of writers and directors so much room to play in the “street heroes” universe of Marvel.
We start off with the opening scene being Matt Murdock aka Daredevil being blinded by toxic chemicals as a child which segways into the law offices of Hell’s Kitchen’s own Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox)! One of the things I love is it doesn’t linger on the origin of the character for a whole episode but rather unfolds as you watch each episode, giving way to us seeing Daredevil do what he does best, blindly kick thug ass. We are introduced to Karen Page (Lisa Anne Wohl) as the company she is working for frames her for the murder of a coworker. As the episode progresses we discover she has uncovered evidence or embezzlement and the extent of what said embezzler will do to take care of her. Thanks to Foggy and Matts lawyer work and Daredevils ass kickery, the proper people are found guilty and Karen becomes Nelson and Murdock’s first employee as they work toward taking down whoever it is orchestrating all the crime in Hell’s Kitchen as well as framed Karen.
As the series progresses it becomes apparent that this is an origin story for Vincent D’Onfrio’s Kingpin as much as it is for Daredevil. Like a pimp Kingpin has representatives for him to talk to the right people and do his dirty work until he is needed to step in to take care of his “masked man” problem. He gets a whole episode dedicated to his life and how he came to be the Kingpin. My favorite episode follows the Kingpins episode as we are introduced to Matt Murdock’s mentor, Stick! Played by Sucker Punch badass and teacher Scott Glenn. Stick is a blind old masterfully skilled jackass who literally does not give a sh#t and won’t hesitate to call Matt a Pussycat without the cat.
Charlie Cox himself conveys do much with his face and blind stare. We get so much emotion from him when he interacts with people fave to face. When playing the role of complete blind man he uses his body language amazingly and stands eerily still when using his powers almost like a hunter, which really conveys his better understanding of the world through his heightened extra senses. “I see the world on fire.” He certainly seems that way with a constant look of worry and anticipation for danger.
My favorite aspect of the show has to be the balance of all the story arcs. Daredevil gets his part of the show but so does Matt Murdock. Karen Page herself partners up with Foggy to take care of the lawful side of things and she also teams up with Marvel Universe reporter Ben Urich (Masterfully played by Vondie Curtis-Hall) to dig up the stories on all these characters hiding in the shadows of Hell’s Kitchen. When you aren’t watching the action you are completely immersed in the detective work of Ben and Karen as back stories unfold and you crave more and more. All the character arcs within the series are wrapped up ready for another season except one which builds to something amazing that can happen in the second season and the episode in particular is so out there and awesome you wonder if you’re watching a different show! I refer of course to Stick’s episode but I will not spoil anymore of his already greatness!
The action sequences are so old school awesome. It definitely harkened back to the time period Daredevil was created in and seems heavily influenced by Kung Fu Cinema which goes hand in hand with the fighting styles Matt is taught in the show. A man dressed in black walks into a room full of thugs armed to the teeth. The camera keeps on the hallway the figure walked down as we hear gunfire, screams and the sound of fist pounding flesh and bone. The camera still staying in the hallway as your anticipation grows. Suddenly a body is flung through the door into the hallway followed by the man in black and you watch a single shot of this man and the thugs mercilessly beating each other until all but the man in black is left conscious but barely standing. He walks through another door and breaks it down. He emerges gently and lovingly carrying a kidnapped child out of frame and into victory. This type of action is throughout the entire series and never gives way, only intensifies.
Having talked of that action I want to address the violence. There is no lack of it. Decapitations, bodies boiled by flame, stabbings and an eye gouge scene that would make Dario Argento cringe. Those who thought Disney would make Marvel dumb down their characters to make them kid friendly immediately need to watch this show and and sit there in shock as I did thinking the mouse produced this show!
Daredevil delivers an original concept of the character lavishing in the tones and gritty feel of Frank Millers run and like most Marvel gives you that balanced with comedy harkening to original Stan Lee writings thanks to Foggy Nelson. Also yes Foggy is that kid from Idle Hands and that makes this even better!
For this show that hasn’t bored the hell out if me as much as recent television fare and has indeed surpassed my expectations, I give five horn heads out of five, now go binge watch!