Since it was announced that Marvel would team up with Netflix for additional titles to add to the MCU, we’ve been waiting with bated breath. Nearly a week later, pretty much everyone has binged the 13-episode series of Marvel’s Daredevil. I know I have – twice!
Firstly, with the series being on Netflix, there is a bit more leeway with a few things that you can’t necessarily get away with on network television or even the movie releases. This definitely becomes apparent as the series progresses, and it’s not a slight in the least. Daredevil is one of the Marvel Knights, and inherently a darker character. The story is quite similar to Frank Miller’s run, as is the tone.
I have to admit, when I first starting watching it, two things hit me:
1. The scene where the camera never cut away from Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock / Daredevil) was amazing, and cemented the fact that he was an excellent actor.
2. I kept getting flashbacks to the earlier 2003 Daredevil (I don’t care what anyone says, the Director’s Cut of that film is so good), though it died away after a bit.
There are so many things you can do with an origin story, but I really like the way it was handled. Like I said, this is a dark character and the cinematography truly reflected that. It was shot beautifully, and if you don’t believe me, go watch the hallway fight scene in the second episode. Speaking of fight sequences, Chris Brewster did an absolutely fabulous job as stunt double for Cox. (He also doubled for Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Solider.) I have never wanted to learn parkour so much in my life. Seriously, I now want to be a ninja.
Getting back to the story, we see the evolution of Matt Murdock to Daredevil with the aid of flashbacks of his childhood to the circumstances of today. Cox gives a masterful performance. I honestly wasn’t entirely sold before I watched the series, but like I said, the first five minutes of the first episode made me a convert. Easily.
We also get to see the progression of his nemesis Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve seen D’Onofrio in anything other then Men in Black, so I kept hearing the “Edgar” voice a lot. Regardless, he was truly an imposing figure even before he was on screen. You want to feel bad for him, but the things he does throughout the series are beyond redemption. Especially when it comes to Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) of the New York Bulletin. I have to say, though, Fisk wasn’t my favourite villain of the series. He was more of a bully than anything. Instead, I preferred Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao. That old lady was the perfect mix of everything. She was the one who made me quake in my boots.
In regard to the rest of the supporting cast, I have to say that Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson) was by far the best. Henson was able to convey so many layers to Foggy, and I honestly think Episode 10 “Nelson v. Murdock” was my favourite because of him. Also worthy of a mention are Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple) and Toby Leonard Moore (James Wesley). Both were excellent supporting characters for the hero and villain, respectively. I’m not too sure about the inclusion and amalgam of Claire Temple (with Night Nurse), but she fits into this corner of the MCU easily – being tied in comics to Luke Cage and now to Daredevil in the MCU. And, with everything Dawson does, her performance was spot on. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever not liked seeing her act. As for Wesley, he was by far the best evil henchman ever. I’m sorry, but I really liked how weaselly he was. Oh, and apologies, but having binged it, I kept getting distracted by the constant hair inconsistency of Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page). I know it’s stupid, but it kept bugging me every time she was on screen.
As Daredevil is part of the ever-growing MCU, there were a lot of easter eggs and tie-ins all over the place. I’m sure that there are loads of comprehensive lists. For me, there were a few that I really enjoyed the most. I think the most blatant one (at least to me), as well as my favourite, was the Iron Fist tie-in with the Steel Serpent printed all over Madame Gao’s heroin. Like I said, I love “Heroes for Hire”. I also liked the mention of Roxxon Oil Corporation, which we’ve seen in Iron Man 1-3, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Agent Carter. Speaking of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we also had mentions of Carl Creel aka The Absorbing Man and St. Agnes Orphanage (where Skye was dropped off as a child). I also liked the throwaway line of the “Greek girl”, which alluded to Elektra Natchios, one of Daredevil’s main love interests. Oh, and Stan Lee’s cameo, you ask? The police station in photographic form.
Ultimately, Marvel’s Daredevil is definitely worth the watch. You don’t have to binge it like I did, but take the time and enjoy it instead. Everyone has their preferences. With the success of Daredevil (as far as I’m concerned), I’m really excited to see more from the Netflix / Marvel partnership. And considering what I’ve heard from certain people about A.K.A. Jessica Jones, we won’t be disappointed. Marvel’s Daredevil is the first in the four titles ordered by Netflix (available online now), with the next being Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones (currently filming in New York City), followed shortly thereafter by Marvel’s Luke Cage and Marvel’s Iron Fist (“Heroes for Hire” was always a favourite of mine), before leading into the miniseries, Marvel’s The Defenders, which should bring all of the Netflix characters together.
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