Netflix released the entire first season of Marvel’s Daredevil last Friday. Will and Tyson take a moment to reflect on our first impressions of the series, and Marvel’s The Defenders plans.
Will Rohrig – News Director
First let me get this out of the way, this is the best Marvel show so far. Daredevil rises above previous Marvel efforts, eschewing the cheese and light heartedness in favor of a more serious take on it’s subject. What comes out is a compelling superhero drama that you’ll want to binge watch. Charlie Cox nails it as Matt Murdock/Daredevil a blind lawyer turned vigilante with a charm and cadence reminiscent of Hannibal‘s Will Graham. Speaking of which, the title sequence portraying red wax dripping down the screen and creating various objects related to Daredevil is also reminiscent of Hannibal‘s opening title sequence. As for the supporting cast Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll are excellent as Foggy Nelson and Karen Page respectively.
While the series is a major tonal shift from anything we’ve seen from the MCU so far, there are still references that tie it to the overall franchise, such as when a real estate agent mentions that the property she’s selling has been untouched by “the incident”. The villains are appropriately menacing, being something more of a real world threat than something fantastic and otherworldly, and you get a large sense of satisfaction watching Daredevil take them down.
Speaking of which, the fight choreography is top notch, on par with great martial arts films. Daredevil moves with the grace and skill of a seasoned acrobat, and the way the action slows to display Daredevil’s abilities at work is perfect. Throughout the pilot there are various flashbacks to when Matt is a child, and while the child actor they got is good for the most part, his acting can, at times, be bad. Especially during the scene depicting the accident in which Matt is blinded, the actor’s screaming is a bit hammy and over the top.
Overall this is top notch, premium cable quality, stuff here. With four more shows planned, it’s a promising start to Netflix’s corner of the MCU. I’m fully on board with Daredevil, and will likely be powering through the whole season as fast as possible and then lamenting the wait for more. I am now equally excited for the rest of the upcoming Netflix/Marvel shows Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. Daredevil, thankfully, proves that Marvel isn’t afraid to do more adult material, and do it with a level of excellence on par with other adult dramas on air today. I can’t wait to finish the journey with Daredevil. I just know that when I do, the wait for more will be agonizing. As I do not believe Daredevil has a yearly season schedule like most programming does, it may be several years before we get a season two. Thankfully the other shows will be there to fill the gap, but that will only help if they’re of similar quality. Marvel has been on a roll recently, and I don’t see their winning streak ending anytime soon.
Tyson Gifford – Editor in Chief
Having finished the entire run of the series, my frothing demand for more is insatiable. Perhaps, dare I say it, the best new series of 2015 so far. Just about every aspect of the series is spot on. In particular I enjoy the way in which the series is such a drastic tonal shift from Marvel’s other TV fare. In fact, I would say that Marvel’s Daredevil is significantly darker than any of the current Marvel properties, the movies included. Steven S. DeKnight was an inspired choice for the series. Coming off of his excellent run as the creator and Showrunner of Starz’ Spartacus series, a show that was better than it had any right being, and having a past relationship with Avengers director Joss Whedon, from his days writing for Buffy and Angel, DeKnight is just a natural fit for a darker Marvel series. This is near R-rated material on screen in Daredevil, something not yet seen in the Marvel Cinematic Unvierse.
Performances are on the mark here as well. Charlie Cox is a charming and likable Matt Murdoch, and his chemistry with, and the chemistry between Elden Henson as Foggy, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen, and Rosario Dawson as Claire makes the entire series a joy to consume. At times, the relationship between Matt, Foggy, and Karen is highly reminiscent of the first season of Angel, with Angel, Cordelia, and Doyle.
But the real strength of the series comes about with the first appearance of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk. In a very Netflix way, his first appearance is far removed from the pilot episode (he surely would have been introduced in the pilot if this was a network show). This gives the audience time to digest who he is before we meet him. When we meet him, our expectations are shattered. D’Onofrio’s Fisk is impossibly imposing. Though D’Onofrio is a large man, he shares the screen with larger, and yet at no time did anyone SEEM larger than Fisk himself. The way he carried himself, the fit of his suit, and the awkward mix of cunning and brutality made Fisk a truly intimidating screen presence. Fisk’s criminal associates were excellent as well, Toby Leonard Moore, in particular, as James Wesley did a lot to humanize D’Onofrio’s monstrous portrayal of Fisk by sharing the excellent chemistry of long time friends.
Lastly, I was excited by the presence of Scott Glenn as Stick, who helped to serve as an ambassador to the more fantastical elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a possible main tie between Daredevil and the other Marvel/Netflix series. Stick was the grumpy disagreeable sensei the series needed to keep Murdoch’s extraordinary training from feeling too out of place with the more grounded tone of the series.
Everything about Daredevil just worked, the casting, the performances, the direction, the art direction, and the fight choreography. Lets focus a bit more on that last one, the fight choreography, just wow. The second episode of the series ends with a single shot, long, fight sequence that is as stunningly beautiful as it is gut-wrenchingly brutal. That is one of the great strengths of Daredevil, it explores the many consequences of vigilantism. One of which, is the toll taken on the body of the crime-fighter himself.
What did you think of Marvel’s Daredevil? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of Daredevil, the ever growing Marvel Cinematic Universe presence on television, and all of your favorite shows.