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[TV Review] Netflix’s “Daredevil” Has No Fear

The first episode of “Marvel’s Daredevil” hits Netflix on April 10th and wastes no time jumping into the story. It’s a confident move for Netflix’s first entry into genre fiction, but it’s earned by the Marvel Cinematic Universe branding. This confidence carries throughout the whole series and it doesn’t let up for a moment. This is the best comic-book adaptation ever created, and while that may seem like a bold claim, take it with the assurance earned by Netflix’s past efforts. “Daredevil” is nothing like any superhero TV show on television thanks to it’s shocking violence, and masterful attention to detail.

Daredevil is a crime noir in superhero clothing. The theatrics of flashy costumes and origin stories are gone. Instead, the brutal reality of being a street level defender is substituted. The initial trailers drew comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but those are unfounded. Sure, both feature heros clad in black striking fear into the hearts of thugs with vigilantism but the similarities stop there. There are no super villains to speak of, and in Hell’s Kitchen criminals are king. The easiest comparison to make is The Raid: Redemption both in terms of scope and the sheer brutality of the fight scenes.

Charlie Cox’s portrayal of Matt Murdock has real pathos with a really hard edge. He’s believable as a blind man and surprisingly visceral in his physicality. He has an incredible chemistry with Elden Hensen’s Foggy Nelson, their relationship feels pulled from the page. Foggy is the jokey loveable best friend and Matt is the incredibly serious and depressive realist. Their law work is only in its infancy when the show starts but together they look like champions. Thier first scene as lawyers is incredibly real and funny. Within two scenes they have a lightning quick rapport that only becomes stronger as the episodes progress.

While those two stand out the rest of cast, is just as well developed. Rosario Dawson plays Claire, a night nurse who haphazardly ends up in Matt’s life. Together these two share a lot of chemistry and motivate some of the best scenes in the early episodes. Deborah Anne Woll is perhaps initially presented as just another pretty face as Karen Page, but her own story develops with its own set of fantastic twists and turns.

So far the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has only had two hours to develop any of their major villains (save for Loki) so forgive the hyperbolic statement: Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is the most terrifying villain in this universe. He’s played with reserve, a slow boil of terrifying proportions that erupts in one of the most violent scenes in the MCU. D’Onofrio not only understands the character but embodies everything that has made Kingpin an endearing presence for many years. Daredevil is as much about his rise to power as it is Murdocks, and the parallels are incredible. Fisk isn’t the big theatrical villain we’ve come to expect, he’s a quiet thoughtful criminal puppeteer, and he’s an absolute joy to watch.

This provides a new angle on rising to power in the MCU that works remarkably well. Both leads are caught in a massive territory war that spins directly out of the events of The Avengers. Saying anything more would be a disservice to the show, but rest assured the story is engaging and believable on a street level. Even without the fan service to superheros proper this would be a compelling journey.

Daredevil is unmeasurably more brutal than anything Marvel has previously put on the screen. There is a certain visceral level to the show that reminds the viewer that this is a regular man in a mask. There is more a lot more blood than you’d expect, and plenty of creative deaths. Moreover, the choreography is impeccable. There is a single take fight scene at the end of the second episode that gives the hammer in a hallway scene from Oldboy a serious run for its money.

Stylistically, everything looks lifted from the pages of the comic. The sense of style is superb. It’s something that has yet to be embodied in any other superhero show. The angles of each shot give creative new takes on noir conventions. Most scenes feature unidirectional lighting and incredible cinematography that harkens back to its comic book roots. Everything is crafted with a meticulous touch that never overwhelms.

Daredevil’s heightened senses continue to help this stylistic appeal. Charlie Cox’s ability to be in tune with sound cues creates a harmony of death on the screen. There are cuts to the television equivalent of a insert panel, with a heightened SFX que, that embody Daredevil’s senses in the moment, but this trick is never over done. Instead it’s used sparingly in moments of extreme action.

Netflix’s Daredevil is nothing like any of the superhero shows before it. It’s more of a crime drama with a vigilante than pure genre fiction, and it’s shockingly refreshing. It’s a bold step in the right direction for Marvel. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece meticulously crafted on every level, and the best entry in the MCU to date.

The entire first season of Marvel’s Daredevil hits Netflix on April 10th and consists of 13, hour-long episodes.

Five episodes watched for review.



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COMMENTS

28 Comments
  • The review sounds like a rave but only got a 2 out of 5 rating?

  • Don Allen

    Wrong score? Oh, April Fool’s, right.

  • Jeffrey

    Why a 2 out of 5 score if you seemed to like it quite a bit?

    • It was a mistake. It’s a 9/10.

      • Jeffrey

        Zac Thompson, thanks for clarifying. You might want to correct it before Devin Faraci tweets your score and calls it bad buzz.

  • part6productions

    I’m done with this website. I’ve been reading for 11 years, and ever since your revamp you’ve struggled to appeal to a more mainstream audience. I can go ANYWHERE else on the internet and have superheros shoved down my throat, I don’t need my HORROR source loaded with this shit too. This is the last link I click here. You guys need to get your shit together or rename the site.

    • Bon voyage.

    • Weresmurf

      Nah you just need to piss off.

  • this has always been my favorite superhero. to see how they finally gave the devil his due with this seemingly fantastic show makes my heart smile.

  • liltrav88888

    i dropped the dvd option awhile back but netflix instant is so worth the money house of cards, trailer park boys. & now this wow

  • Darkfire369

    I’ve been waiting for this show for some months now and I can’t believe it’ll be released in a little over a week. Glad to hear it’s great! And also, nice review!

  • Curious to see this. DD is pretty cool as a “superhero” and I always loved the more gangster themed storylines that he has to solve. I just hope that it is as good as you say. And Vincent D’Onofrio – the guy deserves an oscar.

  • Richter Belmont

    I really hope this review is accurate because gritty is exactly what I’ve been wanting from Marvel Studios all along, instead of that PG comedy garbage they’ve been serving the public.

    • Jimmy Wondering

      PG comedy garbage? let me guess you loved MOS?

      • Richter Belmont

        No, but I loved Winter Soldier which was an example of mature writing. You wouldn’t appreciate that since you’re 12.

        • Jimmy Wondering

          So Thor, Cap 1 and the other movies insulted your intelligence? Wow, i don’t think you are a rel superhero fan because goofiness and some siliness are integral parts of comics. Not everything can be Watchmen my friend.

          • Richter Belmont

            No, I’m not a real superhero fan (whatever that is). I’m a fan of well written movies regardless of genre.

            And what’s a comic nerd like you doing on a horror site, anyway? Do you even like horror? Judging from your profile you find any comic news you come across from various sites, and if someone disagrees with your opinion you troll them. It’s obvious that you don’t like people having their own tastes. So, why don’t you let us horror fans have our own opinions on what we want to see from the superhero genre, and leave.

          • Jimmy Wondering

            Hahhah, you went all that to trouble to search my profile and find what i really like. No, i won’t tell you what to like, i can’t change your opinion. But i sure as hell can critisize it. You don’t like it fine. But searching comment heistory for reasons to attack me is pathetic.

          • Richter Belmont

            Your so-called criticisms were nothing more than fanboy trolling, and taking one second to view your profile wasn’t any trouble at all. In fact, I enjoyed it.

          • Jimmy Wondering

            Glad you did. Really. I love people making assumptions over a handful of comments. Buddy when you are using harsh language people are gonna use harsh language on you too. That’s how it goes. You have evry riht to have an opinion. I have evry right to respect the context of that opinion. End of story. Go back to what you like and don’t be so aggressive on heroes some people have grown up with.

          • bgdc

            Why can’t everything at least make an effort to rise to the level of something made for adults? Why must Flash and Arrow feel like they did the casting based on headshots? Do we have to accept the lazy writing of Gotham? People still love The Wire yet nothing since has really come close to trying to build off that and bridge it into superhero style story. Instead the WB churns out its cute puppy mill of bland, safe, poorly written/acted Arrow/Flash series. Fox gives us the simple Gotham that rushed headlong into introducing every character in a matter of weeks. There’s no patience in the writing and no trust that the audience can retain info for more than 5 minutes.

            My 6 year old digs The Flash. I feel like I’m watching something written for him… not for me. For once it would be nice if action/superhero didn’t mean check out mentally.

            And yeah, Thor 1 and Captain America First Avenger felt like they were aimed at children.

    • Dude – I cannot express to you how awesome this show really is. Sincerely well crafted brutal action and high stakes. It ushers in a new era for the superhero genre.

    • ST

      This review seems to echo the other reviews floating around. It is gritty and more mature than anything Marvel has done on the big screen.

  • Patrick

    Dude! Commas are your friend!

    So are apostrophes, quote marks, etc.

    Good review, but it needs to be proofread and corrected. Seriously, this was so obviously a first draft that it kept pulling me out of the content.

    • ProwlerInTheYard

      “with 13 hour-long episodes” …this made me chuckle.

  • JohnSmith564

    I wonder just when extreme violence became the recipe for extreme coolness (see: ‘Kick-Ass’, Hannibal, Nikita, Black List, etc. etc. etc.). Strange how many of us are now hooked on believing that witnessing soulless empathy lacking psychopaths ripping human beings apart, is awesome. Won’t be watching this show again, after being ‘treated’ to the Fisk scene.

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