You all should just forget about the Ben Affleck 2003 film Daredevil. It was so horrible I honestly don’t remember much about it other than that’s likely where my apathy of Affleck came from and a hope for better comic book movies to come about. Thankfully for me and the rest of the world that the comic book movies brought to life are more often hits than duds.
But we’re not talking about movies right now, we’re talking about Marvel Studio’s latest venture into new medium of Netflix original series’. With Netflix Originals being a new thing in general, I didn’t have a lot of expectations as far as what kind of quality there’d be. As cast was announced, a few names sticking out, I shrugged and new I’d give a shot regardless of how it was. Daredevil isn’t a title I’ve kept up with, and all I remember from the awful 2003 film was that it was kind of like Blind Batman. Then a trailer came out and I was definitely intrigued as it still looked like Blind Batman.
Matt Murdock was blinded by a chemical when he was young and it heightened his remaining senses. After the death of his father, he was taken to an orphanage where he was found by an older man who is also blind and teaches him to hone his abilities and how to fight. As he gets older, he goes to school for law and there he befriends his future partner. Fast-forward to present time and they have newly passed the bar and are putting together the humble beginnings of their law firm in Hell’s Kitchen. By night, Matt adorns himself in black and become the vigilante that protects the city. Using his law skills and connections, he’s able to find the crime and put a stop to it before it gets out of hand.
That is until the name Wilson Fisk keeps showing itself amongst those he stops and questions. It is revealed that this man has paid off most of the city’s law enforcement, lawyers and media to conceal his goal of reforming the city he seemingly loves. The media paints him as a hero philanthropist and it makes it that much harder for Matt, and his lawyer friends to take down.
The premise works very well for a mini crime drama series. Any longer, I think it would have gotten a little old. The experience was very cinematic and I really enjoyed that about the series. It took me a while to adjust to the dark and grainy filters used and I absolutely had to be wearing my glasses in some scenes or I wouldn’t be able to tell what was going on at all. For what the series is, the main character being blind, it does give the audience a sense of what it’s like in his viewpoint, but it strained me, personally. Fight choreography was fairly simple, but impressive, many shots done once and at minimal angles. Not having any mystical things to deal with like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there wasn’t any CGI effects to worry over. And let’s not forget how cool the suit looks.
I was overall impressed with the cast. I only knew Charlie Cox as the guy from Stardust and all in my mind I kept thinking that Robert DeNiro’s gay pirate taught him some extra moves! It took Zach and I a while to realize where we’ve seen Foggy’s actor from, Elden Henson, and he was from D2 and D3 Mighty Ducks back in the day! More recently Mockingjyay, but fore whatever reason my brain didn’t register it, but I really enjoyed him as the light heart of the series. Vincent D’Onofrio, I think I only know from the MIB films, portrayed Wilson Fisk with such a sympathetic and charismatic demeanor, I’d say his performance was a highlight of the series as a whole. I enjoyed the two female characters, Karen and Claire, and their involvement in the cases and their perspectives and ways they contribute to the team, so to speak. Deborah Ann Woll and Rosario Dawson were wonderful ladies. If there’s one thing I wish I could get rid of is the pesky love-triangle – can we just make that trope go away forever?
As for the tie-ins to the MCU: The references aren’t heavily overt, mostly vague mentions of “The Incident” referring to the battle of New York from The Avengers in 2012 and the damages it caused to the city and lawyers scattered over insurance claims. I don’t feel watching one without the other would influence ones enjoyment. At least not yet. But I have a feeling the Netflix series will be interconnected, so best to keep up with those if your television is easier to be at than the theaters. However, Netflix ratings are more lenient than cable, so be aware that Daredevil, and possibly more to come, will be heavier on the violence and language than those on broadcast, and oh boy was Daredevil graphic in some bits.
These thirteen episodes are a great prelude for what’s to come. Bring on Jessica Jones.