Double Dare. [Daredevil Netflix season 1 review]
Last night I dared myself to all nighter Marvel’s Netflix’s Daredevil. Dare ACCEPTED!
And after about 9 to 10 hours, I can happily say dare COMPLETED.
Thankfully, my lack of sleep was well worth it and I was even able to stay awake the entire time. Whether or not that’s because it’s a great show or I’m just a huge Marvel fan is still up in the air, but I’m 99% certain it’s both.
The series itself isn’t really about Daredevil “the hero”, but more about Matt Murdock becoming the Man Without Fear, the ones in his life and those that rise to challenge him. Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, starts up a law firm with his friend Foggy Nelson, played by Elden Henson, and shows us what it means to be a lawyer, a very good one at that. Cox’ portrayal of Matt Murdock is refreshing. He’s smart, calculating and wicked scary/impressive with his senses. He pulls off amazing feats that don’t really require him to be super human, just a super impressive human being.
I’ll let you watch the show to actually see what he can do. Just know that he thinks like a detective and uses his super senses for just about everything else. In addition, the other characters get their own chances to shine and given opportunities for character depth. For example, Karen Page, played by Deborah Ann Woll, has her own problems separate from Murdock and actively pursues the answers to her questions.
Daredevil succeeds where The CW’s Arrow and Fox’s Gotham tries but fails. Don’t get me wrong, I watch both shows, but Daredevil is a nice change from the family friendly rating.
The result? A more practical show with fresh, relatable characters thrown into a city with heavier and darker under tones. Daredevil takes the gritty vigilante justice of Arrow and combines it with just the right amount of convincing corrupt and evil city from Gotham to create a superhero show that’s dark and believable. How is that?
It’s not really a superhero show and it doesn’t try to force itself to be one. Blood, violence and crimes run rampant in the streets. It has elements of a detective/lawyer noir show and lives up to that. Here’s a flesh and blood man living in this corrupt city trying to save people. Instead of trying to convince me that the city is flat out corrupt, we’re led on a journey to discover the conspiracy for ourselves. Criminals are selling drugs, killing witnesses and kidnapping children in the middle of the night. It’s no wonder why this city needs somebody to protect the streets. The police aren’t doing anything. In fact, the rare times you do see them, you instantly hate them.
If anything, the show wasn’t as explicit or sinister enough. This show is brutal and the bad guys are nasty and cruel as all hell but I wanted more death, more blood, and more murder. The place this all takes place in is called Hell’s Kitchen (a real neighborhood in New York) and commits to that in certain aspects but doesn’t in others. I was expecting frightening massacres and a larger conspiracy like House of Cards. Yeah, there are some pretty graphic kills but man, I wanted to really be drawn in by the crookedness of Hell’s Kitchen. I blame my lust for blood on other TV programs. They’ve desensitized me to graphic violence but that’s another issue for another time.
Illicit drug deals and backroom murders are just the tip of the iceberg. Daredevil also features some formidable and worthy opponents. He gets his butt kicked and bleeds like an early Bruce Wayne/Batman. Being a superhero isn’t at all glamorous as we were previously led to believe. In one of the episodes, he wakes up covered in blood and in a trash bin. He has to force himself to get back up and keep fighting or else he’ll be caught and killed. Murdock doesn’t win easily nor does he win a fight by an overwhelmingly large margin. He struggles for his life and the lives of those he’s helping to protect. If he wins at all, he’s covered in blood and brings a completely new meaning to the saying, “you should see the other guy.” Like any normal human being in the middle of a fight, Murdock also goes overboard and whales on the bad guys until the streets run red with their blood.
So overall, what do I think? I love it. It’s really is a nice change from the current family friendly superhero/comic book inspired TV programming that’s already out there. Don’t just take my word for it either! As of this writing, Season One of Marvel’s Daredevil has a 95% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s safe to say that this reboot has definitely set itself apart from the 2003 Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck.
It’s well-paced, well-casted and beautifully well-written. I dare you to watch.