The best way to enter a new TV show is to go in oblivious with as little knowledge as possible. When it comes to Daredevil, one of the most recent Netflix original series, the vast majority of people only know that the Marvel superhero in question is blind and the film adaptation from 2003 is highly disregarded.
Daredevil tells the tale of Matt Murdock, a blind New York lawyer who uses his heightened remaining senses to detour the evil that sweeps his childhood home of Hell’s Kitchen, New York.
Initially the show seems to spend a lot of time on exposition, unveiling the universe around Daredevil, which feels slow paced and more than a little drawn out, but this can be excused considering most stories need to define a backstory somehow. An immediate aspect to the show which is less forgivable, however, is the darkness of the show. Though you might initially translate this as the show having an edgy, gritty atmosphere, we’re actually discussing poor lighting. Certain scenes make it physically impossible to see the action without having to squint your eyes, making the show difficult. However, artistically, this use of darkness is very clever. It branches away from what you expect from Marvel, bright and fun, and stands symbolic of Murdock’s disability.
The story arcs that focus on Murdock’s job as a lawyer, along with the organised crime, are particularly interesting, possibly more so than the actual superhero narrative itself due to character development. However, the differing types of narrative really play into the shows strengths, making it more generic for a wider audience.
Each character and storyline seems to seep with the theme of morality, making the arbitrary differences in the varying narratives not just an attempt to appeal to more people. This is both fascinating and almost intoxicating due to the subtleties in many forms. The morality of journalism, religion and the justice system are all pulled into play. After all, Matt himself is a clear manifestation of blind justice. This also brings light to the morality of heroes, especially since the show takes place in the aftermath of the Battle of New York which took place in The Avengers. Many subtle references to the film are scattered throughout but what’s most important is being able to see how the destruction caused has impacted the lives of ordinary people left in the wake of the superhero showdown, calling the Avengers’ morals into question. This is a perspective which superhero films very rarely explore so it’s refreshing to see this side of the Marvel universe.
The moral compass of Daredevil’s antagonists is also intriguing for they aren’t your typical take-over-the-world villains. In fact, their interests lie in such a small and remote area of New York. Despite his powers, there’s a spectacular realism to Daredevil in that he can only truly defend one small part of his city. Likewise, our main antagonist can only do the same.
The main antagonist is one of the most in depth and satisfying characters in Daredevil which is surprising considering most villains are rarely so well fleshed out. Our initial introduction to him is one of the greatest parts of the series; his gentleness and social awkwardness makes you forget that he’s the bad buy until we reach his violent actions and the subsequent gore.
Daredevil contains plenty of intense and brutal violence so prepare yourself for blood, cracking bones and the sound of guts swishing. Thankfully the gore is used in an effective way which makes statements about character and narrative as opposed to just smashing heads together for the sake of smashing heads together.
Although a lot of the violence isn’t actually gory, the majority of the fight sequences are intensely satisfying to watch. Philip Silvera, the choreographer of these scenes, does an incredible job with a worthy mention being made to a specific sequence in episode two; a three minute, single shot fight that takes place in a claustrophobic corridor. Should you need convincing to continue watching Daredevil after the first episode, this is it.
Overall, the show is deserving of praise and has laid out many interesting themes and plotlines. Gore and all, it’s to be thoroughly enjoyed. If you like dramas with organised crime, lawyers, superheroes and incredibly well directed action sequences, Daredevil is for you.
Have Marvel outdone themselves with Daredevil or did you find it dull?
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