Daredevil has always seemed like such a cool idea to me. This blind guy who used his enhanced other senses and ninja like fighting skills to fight crime in the streets he’d lived in most of his life. It was a little more grounded than other comic book characters in the marvel world, there was no real superpowers just a heightened set of senses due to the loss of his sight.
I am sure you remember that awful movie that Ben Affleck played the lead in way back in 2003. I was 10 years old at the time and thought it was amazing. I also saw Star Wars Episode 2 twice at the cinema the year before, so there’s a little insight to my taste in film back then.
This new Netflix Series has brought this character back to the mainstream world, and put the Man without Fear back into the spotlight. This is a show that takes everything the film did wrong 12 years ago, and shows it how this character should have been treated. This is a gritty yet fun, hard-hitting and very entertaining first series of what i hope will be many more of the same quality. It’s not without its flaws, but its flaws are outweighed so heavily by the good in this situation.
Man Without Fear
There is a lot of good in this show, and for me the top of this is the characters themselves. Charlie Cox is brilliant as Matt Murdoch (sounds odd, but he is great at acting like a blind man). The supporting cast of good guys, his best friend & business partner Foggy Nelson and their assistant Karen Page are both great and Karen in particular has her own arc which has some shocking moments. Claire Temple (Night Nurse) is also well used and plays a key role in the early part of the first season.
Enough about the good guys, Daredevil’s real strength is in its main villain. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is a fantastic character and his arc in the series (without any spoilers) show all sides of him, from a nervous socially uncomfortable man trying to woo a woman, to a harsh and terrifying monster that will stop at nothing to fix his city. They say the best villains are the ones who think they’re the good guys, and through the course of Daredevil you understand what his motivations are and why he does the things he does. Him, and his right hand man Wesley are a great foe for the Man Without Fear to face in his first season as he and you struggle to comprehend how he can stop Fisk without crossing the line and murdering him.
Daredevil delivers the action in a very visceral and real way. There is a fight scene in episode 2 of the show which is a real wow factor moment for me, and you will know when you get to that scene. He gets hurt a lot and the bruises and scars do not disappear between episodes. A particularly bad wound has a last effect on him through the rest of the series and its little touches like that make Daredevil feel a little bit more special.
There are of course some flaws in the show, a particular gripe for me was the stormtrooper-esque accuracy of everyone with a gun in the program. Often a fully automatic fun in a closed space will somehow miss everyone. I also felt that the series lost some momentum after a point. The story builds up to a crescendo and then kind of has a few episodes of what feels like an epilogue before a final explosive episode to see out the series.
Overall this first series of Daredevil has taken me completely by surprise. Its a very well made, grittier look at the marvel universe and one which bodes well for the Defenders, AKA Jessica Jones and Luke Cage series we have to come. if you find yourself with a spare weekend to burn through, give daredevil a try.