As of the 10th April 2015, all thirteen episodes of Marvel’s latest TV adaptation; Daredevil were added to the Netflix library. It’s a show that follows the trend of comic book adaptations led by Arrow, The Flash and Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and is the first installment of four Netflix collaboration planned by Marvel. Daredevil tells the story of lawyer Matthew Murdoch, who was blinded by chemicals as a boy and took up the alter ego of Daredevil, where he fights crime to save Hell’s Kitchen.
Right from the word go you will realize this is like no other Marvel TV show or movie you’ve seen from the past six, seven years. It’s darker – a lot darker- with extreme acts of violence in nearly every episode – and I love it. What sets this show apart from some of the others mentioned earlier, is that its a Netflix original series, it was created for the streaming service and therefore is not bound by the restrictions some TV networks enforce, with regards to violence, nudity etc…
This lets the show take free reign and create a world filled with violence and fear, in fact some of the graphic scenes include broken bones showing through skin, a mans head smashed repeatedly by a car door and someone killing themselves by headbutting a spike. You probably think this sounds disgusting and, well, I won’t disagree that seeing someone headbutt a spike isn’t disgusting – but the show itself is far from it! It’s a wonderful creation, the camera work is marvelous and it was largely filmed on location in New York, so some of the panoramic shots of the city at night are sublime.
The actors are great too, Charlie Cox – who plays Matthew Murdock – is brilliant. Not only does he excel in his many scenes beating bad guys up but in his numerous emotional scenes with fellow cast members he has you reaching for the tissues. His two close friends on the show Karen Page (played by Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) compliment each other well, Elden’s character provides the brief moments of humor in the show, which are always perfectly timed in just the right moments. Deborah Ann Woll’s character is probably the one that develops the most over the thirteen episodes and you really see her versatility as an actress. Other notable mentions are Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays the villainous Wilson Fisk (comic book fans may know him as Kingpin) and Toby Leonard Moore who plays his right hand man James Wesley. D’Onofrio is perfect for this role, his size and stature immediately make him an intimidating figure and his pure ruthlessness and brute force make for some phenomenal fight scenes. Its the type of performance that makes you wonder if anyone, other than him, can ever play the role of Kingpin in the Marvel universe again. There are obviously other brilliant acting performances, Ayelet Zurer as Fisk’s love interest Vanessa, Vondie Curtis-Hill as investigative reporter Ben Urich, but delving deeply into their performances would take up too many words and too much time.
One of the many strong points about the show are the flashbacks throughout the season, these show different characters back stories and help us understand a little bit more about the characters. We’re constantly shown moments from Matthew Murdoch’s past as he learns to deal with the death of his father and his blindness, which leads him with super heightened senses. It shows us how he learns to fight blind and control his senses, ultimately showing us how and why he decided to become the Daredevil. One of the stand out flashbacks, however, comes in episode eight where we’re shown the back story to Wilson Fisk. It’s an incredible episode because, even though we’ve seen this man do unspeakable things, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. It’s an episode that leaves you completely emotionally drained and bamboozled because you just empathize with a guy who cut someones head off, earlier in the season, by repeatedly closing a car door on it.
All in all Daredevil is a really, really good show. It’s definitely Marvel’s best comic adaptation for the small screen and if any of the other shows in development are half as good, we’re in for a treat. The season is filled with strong episodes, there’s plenty of action, suspense, drama and twists. When I finally finished episode thirteen, having tried my hardest to drag the season out over a week, my only problem was that there weren’t any more episodes! I hope in the future we see a twenty episode season, but that doesn’t really seem Netflix’s style. What we’ve seen here is the rebirth of a character that had been left battered and bruised by its failed big screen debut in 2003. The show is fantastic and a real statement from Marvel that they can not only make hit blockbuster movies, but they can provide serious competition on the small screen as well. My overriding feeling of this show is that it’s so good I almost felt like I was watching a movie, a thirteen hour long, epic movie. It almost deserves to be shown on the big screen in cinema’s across the country, it’s a true masterpiece. If you’re a comic fan then you’ll love this show, if you’re not then you’ll still love it, trust me.