Piotrek: Daredevil. “The Man Without Fear”. One of the better known Marvel superheroes, created, no surprise there, by Stan Lee. His MCU cameos are sometimes annoying, but his is an impressive resume.
Back to Daredevil though. Matt Murdock is one of the most inspiring Marvel heroes. The only child of a single, poor father, blinded young, when a radioactive substance got into his eyes, he managed to create a dual persona of ace attorney and protector of New York’s innocents.
His blindness does not make him helpless. Just the opposite, as a result of the accident in which he lost his vision the rest of his senses were supernaturally heightened. This allowed him to become the protector of his neighborhood, New York’s Hell’s Kitchen district.
Ola: Daredevil, a TV series from Netflix, was the first in a planned string of MCU Netflix entries, soon to be followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Punisher and Luke Cage, and leading to the team-up Defenders. I had watched a few MCU TV series, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. through Agent Carter to Jessica Jones, and I can say with full responsibility that Daredevil is by far the best of the lot.
I must admit I wasn’t very keen to start watching the series. I had been burnt by the horrible, traumatic experience that was Ben Affleck’s flick. I still shudder at the memory of it.
Piotrek: It was not a proud moment for Marvel. Hard to believe, it was, actually, no that long ago. 2003, we remember that year… the movie though, not so much, there were so many better ones since than.
Ola: But the Netflix series has nothing to do with the movie – and everything to do with the comic series, especially Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (a review soon to come!). It’s gritty and very dark, morally ambiguous enough to draw you into the protagonists’ dilemmas, but at the same time delineating clearly the division between good and evil. Sometimes it will be only lesser evil, sometimes greater good will feel more painful than it should, but still – the line is drawn.
I think it’s the most violent and the darkest of all MCU entries to date – and yet, the creators stay true to the spirit of Marvel’s superhero. It’s truly a feat, in our times, to make a realistic, comic-based movie/series in which the main protagonist doesn’t kill anyone.
Piotrek: I must admit I’ve never read a Daredevil comic. He was a guest hero in some graphic novels I’ve read, like some Deadpool stories, but that’s it. He got on my radar after I’ve seen the series.
And yes, it’s a pretty dark one, comparing to the rest of MCU. Only Jessica Jones could compare. And arguably the best, all the love I have for tragically cancelled Agent Carter notwithstanding. Daredevil’s first season is just perfect and Wilson Fisk might be the best MCU villain so far.
Ola: I value the first season much higher than the second one. Don’t get me wrong: the second season is still very good, and I really enjoyed Punisher’s story, but neither he (although Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle is splendid) nor Elektra could match D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, the main antagonist of the first series. Fisk is just perfect, period. He is the mirror vision of Matt Murdock, Daredevil’s dark side personified. He is the constant reminder of who Daredevil could have become. He is cruel and childlike, he’s soulless and rabid, and pitiful and dangerous as all hell. And D’Onofrio plays him wondrously, the brutalized, mad ghost of Gomer Pyle from Full Metal Jacket still lurking in his eyes. He is so earnest in his adherence to the a-moral code of conduct… fascinating, multi-dimensional, and very, very scary.
However, the whole cast plays very well, from Foggy Nelson to Karen Page and Ben Urich. But special attention should be given Charlie Coxx, who is Daredevil; really is. Vulnerable and idiotically stubborn, he looks at the world with wet puppy eyes only to viciously punch his way through it a moment later. He lends the much needed credibility to the crazy idea of a blind lawyer who fights crime in a nice suit, in a courtroom during the day, and prowls the streets in a tight red costume at night.
Piotrek: Yes, the acting is great, especially the entire main cast. I hope Daredevil will be seen in a few more seasons and as a guest in other series and movies. Pity he wasn’t present in Jessica Jones, he should have been there.
To sum up, it’s a great series, and you don’t need to be a big genre fun to enjoy it. Underneath the costume (and it takes him a while to get a proper one), Daredevil is a complex, interesting character in a complex, interesting world. A troubled good guy with friends and enemies you’ll find engaging. Hours spent watching this show won’t be wasted.
Geek is the new mainstream and it’s glorious.
Also, it’s a Netflix show, so it’s easily available throughout the civilized world 🙂
Ola: One more pretty important detail: Daredevil/Matt Murdock is an Irish Catholic. In a world which is increasingly devoid of such traits, Daredevil’s ethnic and religious background stands out – in a good way. It lends gravity to the whole fight of good vs. evil, and grounds the series in something more spiritual. Plus, Catholicism seen through the eyes of others… let’s say it’s an interesting experience 😉
Ola: season 1: 9,5/10 (It could have been 10/10 but I still hold a grudge against the way the creators treated Ben Urich)
season 2: 7,5/10 (I was never a big fan of Elektra, but the real pain were zombies. I am really fed up with zombies. And ninjas. I know, I know, the Hand and all, but come on! Does it really have to be zombie-ninjas?!)
Piotrek: season 1: 9,5/10
season 2: 8/10 (Elektra is good enough, but Frank Castle is just superb and I want to see his series. Could be 9, but it gets chaotic sometimes going from Castle to Elektra and back. Season 1 had one hero and one main villain. Season 2 is much messier)