At a certain point, I’m scared I’ll be tired of the superhero genre. With five television shows, out currently dealing with them, to my knowledge, and countless films being released now and in the future, it’s hard to think I’ll have time, or need to make time, to check these out. But, I haven’t reached the breaking point yet, and with Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil, I don’t think I will anytime soon.
The Daredevil, for those who had unfortunately read the comic books or watched the 2003 Ben Affleck film, is a blind crime fighter who uses his heightened other senses to fight crime. And with this short description, you probably would not grasp even a tenth of what Daredevil is about. My pre-impression of the show would that it would center around the origin story of the hero, how he would find a way to overcome his disability and then join the big league heroes. Instead, we get a hero who has already made some steps towards his obvious calling and is trying to dismantle the criminal underworld that has leached itself onto Hell’s Kitchen in New York City.
The story stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/The Daredevil, a lawyer blinded by a childhood accident who has recently created a law firm with his best friend Foggy Nelson. The two desire a way to reform Hell’s Kitchen and the city by representing the “little guy” against big corporations or thugs that attempt to take advantage of them. The biggest and baddest of these thugs is Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D’Onofrino, a man who controls all the major mob activities in the area. This certainly sounds like a rather dry show, but what pulls it together is the level of seriousness and power between the characters. This isn’t jokey or comic-booky like most of the recent Marvel films, in fact, I would compare it most closely to the Nolan Batman films. It’s dark, tense, and most of all, grounded. The Daredevil doesn’t pull crazy flips and end up without a scratch after fighting 20 goons, he’s cut, bruised, and most of all, human.
Adding to that human element, the relationship between Murdock and Fisk is interesting. Both are locally grown boys, with fathers broken by the area. Past this, they also have the same goals; a better Hell’s Kitchen. However, while one works outside the law to make the place better, the other … actually does the same thing. It’s strange to watch two people, with basically the same goals and same methods act on opposite sides, as a mob boss or vigilante, whose ideology is greater?
And on ideology, I find that Murdock grapples with two ideas as a vigilante-lawyer, and bear with me since both of these points involve his loss of sight. First, justice being blind, and how he tries to remain impartial even when victims he’s defending in both the court and streets are his friends? Second, that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind; how can he stem the spread of violence when he is using violence to end it? This show is much more mature and separate from any other superhero film yet, and if the show hadn’t mentioned at the start the destruction of New York, I wouldn’t have realized this was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is easily the best superhero television show ever. The story, acting, everything is just top notch, and while I skipped the fight scenes, those are high quality as well. Even though this show is in the MCU, Netflix and Marvel intend the show to be smaller and self contained, so neither Thor nor Hulk showing up and saving the day. And if you like Daredevil, then you can be happy in knowing that three more Marvel hero shows are coming soon, with a tie in show for their group, which I will be sure to check out as it has already premiered.