THE MARVEL Cinematic Universe sometimes gets an unfair wrap for being too family friendly. While not necessarily the most gritty series in the history of film, (especially in comparison to DC’s recently released shared universe) the series has maintained a steady level of critical and commercial success while appealing to a wide audience. With the announcement of a series of Netflix based superhero shows came an opportunity for Marvel to do something different. Daredevil seized that opportunity.
Gifted with a brand spanking new ‘15’ rating, Marvel’s Daredevil delved into the dark underworld of New York City’s Hell Kitchen as well as all the gang violence that comes with it. Insert blind lawyer Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox) and his partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and their up-and-coming law firm. By day, Murdock works to uncover the injustices of the gang world, but by night, he dons black mask to become the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.
Far from being your 2D vigilante story, Daredevil takes the viewer down many roads of thought. A Catholic, Murdock questions the acts he performs as a vigilante, the public’s perception of him and what the morally right thing to do is. Meanwhile Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) pursues the truth into a murder that framed her, leading her down a rabbit hole of corruption and danger, orchestrated by Wilson Fisk (spectacularly played by Vincent D’Onofrio).
The action sequences are second to none and the departure from Marvel’s usually family friendly tone really opens the floodgates to some gritty, gory and all round hardcore street fighting. The direction really captures Matt’s perception of fights through the eyes of a blind man, and how his heightened senses assist in such situations. But Murdock is hardly Thor or Captain America when it comes to strength and stamina, the result being a hero who is both mentally and physically damaged as a result of his actions.
Matt can hardly work by himself, which is where characters like Foggy, Karen, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and journalist Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) come into their own. Far from being just supporting characters, they’re essential to the development of the storyline. Not only that, but they’re characters you actually care about; there’s a point where Daredevil begins to border on a Game of Thrones level of violence. Nobody is safe and the writers’ want the audience to realise that.
For those who shy away from those superhero and comic based films should really give Daredevil a go as well. For 99% of the series there’s not even a superhero costume in sight, and certainly barely any ‘super powers’ as such. It remains grounded and steadfast in creating a riveting storyline that keeps the viewer hooked, but providing enough depth to developed both the characters and perceptions of them.
Thankfully there are still links to the Marvel Universe, with the Russian Mafia and the Yakuza’s takeover of Hell’s Kitchen occurring as a result of ‘the incident’ (see: Avengers Assemble). But even when taken out of context, Daredevil works exceptionally as a standalone show. The word ‘tesseract’ could mean nothing to you and you could still adore this show. At only 13 episodes, season one of Daredevil isn’t exactly a hard watch. The story doesn’t drag, yet leaves enough time for big (and I mean big) developments to occur in, not just the show, but the entire film/TV series.
With a second season already scheduled for next year, characters like Electra and The Punisher are already set to make an appearance, proving that Daredevil won’t be going away anytime soon. Not only that, but Marvel has several other new shows in the works; A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage are already scheduled to appear over the next couple of years. So before this all kicks off, make sure to get in on the hype and watch Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. Right now.
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