TV Review: Daredevil

Monday 21 December 2015 by

Daredevil, TV, Netflix, Marvel, Charlie Cox

We all know how much I love the Marvel franchise. We also know how much I love Netflix and all it has to offer. So imagine my joy at the fact that they have teamed up to offer some epic TV series: the first of which is the brand new Daredevil, starring Charlie Cox.

Please, don’t even mention that disaster of a film from years ago and let’s just focus on this, shall we. Meet Matt Murdock, blinded by an accident when he is nine, he is now a budding lawyer by day, and a masked vigilante by night. His partner in the law firm, Foggy (Elden Henson), has no idea about the latter, and so Matt must hide his heightened senses from his friends.

But there are darker forces at work in Hell’s Kitchen, and Matt finds himself up against a kingpin whose intentions might be good, but his values and methods are not.

This series is typically darker than the early Marvel adaptations. It often surprises people how dark the graphic novels and comics actually are, and this series doesn’t shy away from that. Cox plays Matt just the right side of tortured – he is conflicted about the right thing to do, often blinded by his intention to do good that his boundaries get blurred.

Meanwhile, the kingpin – Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D’Onofrio – is gathering all the unpleasant people he can around him in a misguided attempt to rebuild Hell’s Kitchen after “the incident” (the destruction of half the city in the Avengers film). But he is conflicted too, when he meets a woman, who changes his priorities, often making him far more ruthless than before.

This series is clever, playing with your allegiances and emotions so that even the “good side” can sometimes feel like it’s in the wrong. Matt can seem a bit of a bully at times, and the character of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) plays his conscience when it gets bad. Even Foggy and Karen (the beautiful Deborah Ann Woll) keep Matt on track, unwittingly or no. Fisk himself also can seem like he wants to do good – after all, he wants to rebuild the city. But he has no kindness, and it drives him to cruelty. Even the woman cannot stop that and that it what will be his downfall.

This is a perfectly timed piece of drama for television. It is not big and explosive, like the Marvel films (and nor should it be), it is nuanced and nicely balanced throughout the series so that there is never an episode that feels lacking. Each episode has its own arc, without straying from the overall plot. The soundtrack and opening credits are also absolutely awesome, and it is suitably gothic (think a Marvel version of Gotham City). I’m addicted.

Already signed up for a second season (where we’ve been promised Elektra), this is a powerful addition to the franchise. It also paves the way for the next series I’m going to be reviewing – Jessica Jones!

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