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“Daredevil” Season 1 Review

“Daredevil” Season 1 Review

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Written by Christian James

It seems that every year superheroes grow more and more in the world of entertainment. First the action-packed movies ruled the box office and then they dominated weekly ratings for television. Now, Netflix has joined the superhero hype with their most recent original series based on Marvel’s Daredevil. An interesting choice for them, especially after 20th Century Fox’s failed attempt to bring the hero to life in 2003.

By now, binge-watching has become something of a society norm. With viewers waiting for a season of a Netflix original to hit the streaming service so they could sit on their couch for a day and stare at their television screens. The problem with this release structure is that it allows for a slower middle section of a season compared to its strong beginning and end. This happens in Netflix’s most popular shows, such as “Orange is the New Black,” “House of Cards” and “Bloodline.” However, Netflix provides something different through “Daredevil,” with an elegant beginning that doesn’t slow down but instead grows with gritty and intense action as the show progresses. Giving “Daredevil” the highest seat in the house of Netflix as the other shows move over for what is now the best Netflix original series.

“Daredevil” is about a blind man, Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, who is a lawyer by day and crime fighting vigilante by night. Marvel is known for their exciting action and comical humor approach into the world of superheroes, but the approach into Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan’s superhero is different. Giving an R-rated feel with very bloody action and the sound of bones cracking as Matt’s alter-ego tortures information out of the bad guys.

With the dark tone given, the show relates to Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” and although at points it seems to be too similar, the show’s creator, Drew Goddard, finds his own direction that distinguishes “Daredevil” from others. Goddard uses a different tactic compared to the traditional superhero storytelling, whereas the explanation of how the hero came to be is all told in the beginning. Instead, Goddard took his time with this, by not explaining how the blind Matt learned how to fight until later on in the show. With this nice change in the superhero genre’s assembly, audiences are given a kick-ass scene in the very beginning that normally wouldn’t be provided until later on. Although there were a lot of high points throughout the show, the best part about it was Cox’s rendition of Daredevil. His execution of a kind hearted version of Matt who at the same time uses the devil within him to fight crime worked perfectly for the show. Giving audiences reason to fall in love with his character and hope he doesn’t turn into the very men he’s trying to stop.

“Daredevil” begins by explaining what caused Matt’s blindness. With Matt’s father, played by John Patrick Hayden, frantically rushing down a crowded street towards an accident. He finds 9-year-old Matt laying on the ground surrounded by barrels filled with a dangerous chemical that blinds him after getting into his eyes. Here we’re shown just a bit of the amazing chemistry between the young Matt and his father as both of their lives change forever. From there, the audience is brought to the present, with Matt in a confessional booth at a church, struggling with what he feels he must do as a vigilante versus his Catholic faith. During his talk with the church’s father, audiences are given a clear look at what is to come with the show. As Matt explains how his grandma used to say that him and his dad “have the devil in them,” and he saw that through his dad’s fighting during his boxing career. Viewers are then given a look at that themselves as Matt, dressed in all black because he has not yet become Daredevil, attacks a group of Russians who are attempting to kidnap a group of women for human trafficking.

The first few episodes do an impeccable job at explaining how a blind man has the ability to fight those who can see. Through his heightened senses he’s able to hear when an enemy pulls a weapon, takes a step, or even swings a fist. He can also hear their heartbeat, allowing for him to know when they’re about to attack, when they’re becoming tired or even when someone is nervous or lying to him. During the fight scenes some of the motions slow down to engage audiences with the sounds Matt hears throughout the fight.

As Matt fights crime at night, we works as a lawyer during the day. Opening up his own practice with his best friend from college, Froggy Nelson, played by Elden Henson. Something great about the relationship between these two is that Froggy has no idea that Matt is out fighting crime after work hours. Normally within a superhero story, the fact that the hero’s best friend doesn’t realize it’s him under the mask is unrealistic. Although with “Daredevil” Matt’s blindness really works for a disguise in his other life. As people don’t realize just how heightened his senses are, not even his best friend is able to comes close to expecting him to be the masked vigilante who becomes known as The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen before being named Daredevil by the media.

Matt and Froggy’s first case is defending a woman named Karen Page, played by Deborah Ann Woll, who was arrested after police found her next to a dead man holding a bloody knife. After she explains to the 7-hour-old lawyers that she’s been framed, Froggy is against taking the case due to how guilty she looks on paper, but with Matt’s ability to hear her heart beat, he knows she’s telling the truth. They begin looking into Union Allied Construction after Karen explains that they found out she had information about illegal activity being done through the company. So as Matt and Froggy look into the company through legal means, Matt uses his mask to find information through people connected to the illegal activity. Eventually leading to the much bigger picture, a man by the name of Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who plans to completely tear down the city of Hell’s Kitchen, not caring who he has to hurt or kill to get his way.

Wilson, who in the comics was known as the Kingpin, is exactly the kind of villain audiences want to see going up against a superhero. Not only is D’Onofrio’s interpretation of the character a joy to watch, but also invokes fear with what he might do. Wilson’s past is troubling, a sensitive boy who had an abusive father gave him a resentful childhood. As he grew up he became a very complex and emotionally unstable man who also acquired the abusive behavior of his father. The emotions that he portrays make him human-like, unlike most villains who are just crazy because they’re crazy. Wilson’s rage derived from his emotional state of being, when he is let down he takes that anger out on someone and there was no telling who that would be. This created an incredibly dangerous and impulsive villain that had a lot of power and could cause serious harm to Hell’s Kitchen.

“Daredevil” was smart by not jumping into the actual hero of Daredevil too early, by easing into him slowly they were able to set the show up for what could be a long lasting series. Goddard provides an ending that would satisfy viewers, but also make them want more. “Daredevil” was only the beginning to the start of four more superhero shows that will be coming to Netflix. With standalone series’ planned for superheroes Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage and then a mini-series called “The Defenders” that will bring the four superheroes together and create essentially what will be “The Avengers” for TV.

  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Crime drama, Superhero
  • Created by Drew Goddard
  • Based on Daredevil by Stan Lee, Bill Everett
  • Starring: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio

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