There’s a power outage in just a select few areas tonight.
I’ve never read the Daredevil comics, because he never really interested me in the first place. It’s not that I hated the character, there was only so many hours in a day, you know? And when I was a kid I was reading everything else. Superman, the Flash, Spider-Man, Batman…but mainly Batman and the Flash.
My first exposure to Daredevil came with the notorious Ben Affleck film, which was produced well before the dawn of this new Golden Age of Marvel cinema. While I didn’t really HATE Affleck’s Daredevil as much as some did, I admit that it certainly is a flawed and imperfect film.
No, I won’t be representing you because I can tell you’re guilty by the sound of your heartbeat. Next case….
Flash forward to another golden age that’s happening now, that of TV streaming, which is led by another media powerhouse, Netflix. After enjoying success with House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix has dived into the superhero arena with a new improved version of Daredevil.
And oh boy, has it ever been improved! Daredevil/Matt Murdock is well-played this time by Charlie Cox in a more understated, subtle performance that draws the viewer to him. Wilson Fisk, Daredevil’s main adversary, is played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who’s astoundingly good in the part–so much so that he easily makes it his own. It doesn’t hurt that the writing for this series is incredibly intelligent, dealing with the origin of both Daredevil and his nemesis the Kingpin in a slow-burn build up that’s mesmerizing to watch.
You mind repeating that again? Didn’t quite catch it the first time because I was beating the stuffing out of your friends.
The acting, writing and direction are all several steps above what’s available on other superhero shows, and bear in mind that a lot of these present day comic book shows (like The Flash and Arrow) are extremely entertaining. But the producers of Daredevil, led by writer/producer Drew Goddard, strive to up the ante whenever they can–like the incredible battle sequence at the end of the second episode, which runs continuously for several minutes with no cuts. There’s also their interesting choice to introduce Fisk as a shy man bumbling his way through asking a woman out for a date, after previously setting him up to be akin to the antichrist.
We either can do this the easy way, or my way.
That’s the mark of a truly great series; just when you think you can predict where it’s going, the writers pull the rug out from under you (and the characters) in a smart way that not only still makes sense, but sends the story careening along an exciting path. This series was made for binge-watching; although the episodes stand alone, when viewed together, you get the feel of watching an epic motion picture, or reading a sprawling novel with a cast of richly imagined characters. Thank you, Marvel, for recognizing there are comics fans who enjoy a complex and gritty story, and thank you Netflix, for bringing this outstanding tale to us. –SF