I have been a fan of Marvel comics since I was younger. I stopped collecting …
Marvel is now on Netflix. A deal was brokered and now we will be getting a mini MCU team up on Netflix. AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist along with already ‘dumped on Netflix’ Daredevil will be teaming up eventually to become the Defenders. Daredevil like Green Lantern has a ‘stink’ about it. The Ben Affleck Film was pretty much universally despised. Would former Spartacus show runner Steven S. DeKnight be able to work any magic on the character and the brand?
I won’t claim to be the biggest Daredevil fan, but I feel like I know enough.
Here’s comes my non-spoilery review.
Firstly this isn’t your Disney’s Marvel. From the sound and sight of the first bone being snapped you know this is the case. The thing with the jump from Films/TV to the more ‘adult’ Netflix is that it could be easy to be gratuitous.
Think of Hollyoaks & Hollyoaks Later. You have one which is pre-watershed, and the other which is post-watershed. The post-watershed show pretty much has the characters swearing the whole way through. Its like a “look, we can do this now” kinda thing.
Daredevil on the other hand is still relatively tame compared to a 18 certificate film. It’s borderline. It doesn’t go too over the top, but isn’t for the faint hearted in some parts. I’d also compare this to the old “Comic Code”. Back in the day, characters had to live together, and killing rarely happened – much like the way it happens in the films – killing is mainly robots, aliens etc. When the comic code was abolished, they didn’t go OTT, but it allowed Comics to be more realistic. That’s the main difference between Disney and Netflix version of Marvel.
The show is dark. Literally dark. Most of the show is filmed at night, and makes great use of the City as a background. The choreography for the fight scenes are quite amazing. Unlike the films, which seem to have that kind of sped up feel to them, these fights are bloody, gritty, and aside from the occasional backflip, are very realistic. Daredevil isn’t always winning, he gets hurt, most of the time having to go to “Night Nurse” in order to get stitched up.
There are a few fights that I would like to point out. The homage to The Raid/Old Boy in Episode 2 is very well done, but changed so not to be a straight up rip off. Also the end of Episode 3 (you’ll know when you see it) is a real calling card to Marvel being on Netflix.
What’s really surprising is that the show doesn’t really delve into Matt Murdock for most of the first couple of episodes. Sure he’s the protagonist, and he still has a fare bit of screen time. But most of the beginning is about the other characters, with Daredevil just going round kicking ass. His story is a slow burn one, one that is revealed through numerous flashbacks. I have heard that from the beginning of the Phase Three MCU films that they are doing away with “Origin Stories” and I think that Daredevil shows a great way in order to tell an Origin Story without TELLING an Origin Story.
Charlie Cox does a good job as Matt Murdock. He doesn’t ham it up, and isn’t putting on a Batman voice. The aspect of Religion plays a big part, and seeing him struggle not only with what happening to his city, but having to make what he thinks are bad choices is really intriguing. The explanation of his “powers” is also good, because it doesn’t make him a superhuman, but doesn’t make him just human. Elden Henson (Fulton Reed from the Mighty Ducks) plays a good Foggy Nelson, his relationship with not only Matt Murdock, but Karen Page is very good. Playing the sidekick who is often overlooked but sees more than he is letting on. Deborah Ann Woll who plays Karen Page has little to do in the first half of the season apart from cry, but when she starts to branch out on her own (along with Vondie Curtis Hall’s Ben Urich) she really starts to shine.
BUT, lets be honest. They should have called this show “Kingpin” because it is all about Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. Kingpin isn’t really in the first few episodes, but there is a feeling he is around. People don’t say “his” name, and that makes it all the more sinister. When he eventually shows up, he just owns the scene. In the comics Kingpin is just a very intelligent man, and that is his “power”. But he is also a very dangerous man – just see Episode 4 for how dangerous. The thing about the character in the show is that they play him like someone who thinks he is doing good, just in his own way. But its obvious that he isn’t. They do bog him down with a love story which I think is a little too much – I really want a bad guy to be a bad guy sometimes – but Vincent D’Onofrio does enough with what he is given – and his monologue near the end of the final episode just seals it.
I wonder how the rest of the Netflix shows are going to be. They aren’t as mainstream as Daredevil, and also with the films coming out around them, I wonder if they will effect the storyline. For example a big part of this story is rebuilding after “The Incident” of New York in Avengers. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. changed because of the effects of Winter Solider. Will Age of Ultron have any bearing on the story of AKA Jessica Jones? Will Civil War have any bearing on Luke Cage? Will Dr Strange have any bearing on Iron Fist?
These questions will probably be answered by the end of the year when AKAK Jessica Jones SHOULD be released.
Either way, I’m along for the ride.
Netflix subscriber? You can watch Daredevil on Netflix right now. www.netflix.com
Images are all screenshots by QUAN.