It’s a little known fact that Daredevil was actually one of the first comic book series I ever laid my hairy little hands on. And yes, I had hair on my knuckles well before celebrating my first official decade outside the womb. (Thank you, overbearing Neanderthal DNA.)
Overabundance of body hair aside, I’ve never really made my love of the mini-horned superhero public, mostly due to Matt Murdoch’s less-than-exciting super powers. Compared to the likes of heavy-hitter such as, say, Spider-Man or Superman, knowing martial arts and having super-hearing abilities weren’t exactly awe-inspiring to a pre-pubescent earthling. I felt admitting my adoration for Marvel’s red headed step-child (see what I did there) would get me beat up by the other not-so-geek-savvy kids at school.
Add to that equation the Ben Affleck led pre-Iron Man-era cinematic version of the visionless character which released a few years later, and I was all but ready to admit myself into a witness protection program. Since the notorious outing of the soon-to-be-Batman running around the screen in red pleather tights, I’ve suppressed all of my affection for the character into the deep hallows of my cavernous grey matter.
Fast forward another 12 years and Marvel has since righted their superhero ship (on screen anyway). Not only have they righted their ship, but these days the comic book company turned entertainment media machine seems almost invincible. So when they announced a year ago that they would be giving their devil-in-the-red-tights a lease on life with an exclusive TV series on Netflix, a glimmer of hope paid visit to my retinas in the excitement that I might be able to let my Daredevil love out of hiding for good.
For starters, having the series released on Netflix also meant the entire 16-episode series run was dumped on the binge-watching population in one fell swoop. This proved to have its ups and downs. While this release format allows viewers to continue to the next chapter of the saga without having to wait a full weekly cycle, it also can lead to anchoring down into one sitting position for the better part of two days minus the occasional relief of bowels. Unless one enjoys the growth of barnacles on their rear-ends, the latter of the two viewing methods is not recommended.
On that note, I ended up whipping through the entire 16 hours of content in roughly the amount of time it takes a cat playing the piano to go viral. That alone should be a testament to how good the series truly is and how much of a life I truly don’t have.
Per my usual regimen, I tend to stray away from giving out any major spoilers to the media I review, and I don’t plan on reinventing the wheel for this overview. I will, however, give you a brief breakdown of the top 3 things I did, and didn’t care for with the new Netflix series.
- Ummm, Daredevil, duh!
- It would be a pretty sad series if the main character didn’t live up to the superhero type challenge. Charlie Cox does a magnificent job as the blind lawyer-by-day / vigilante by night, Matt Murdoch. Although arguably, his predecessor set the bar pretty low. Get it? Lawyer? The bar?
- Bald is Beautiful
- On the other side of the good vs evil aisle, Vincent D’Onofrio plays Wilson Fisk, Daredevil’s arch nemesis (aka Kingpin), so masterfully, you don’t know whether to take the guy out to lunch or run in the other direction as fast as humanly possible. In conjunction with excellent writing, Vincent creates just as much sympathy for the big guy as he does hate.
- Dark is the new Marvel
- While Marvel’s new cinematic resurgence isn’t all fun and games, most of its properties stay on the lighter side of life with the inclusion of a healthy dose of humor. With Daredevil being DC’s equivalent of The Dark Knight, Marvel proved they can get dark with the best of them in what is easily the company’s grittiest adaption yet. Going dark is easy, but they pulled it off with flying shadows.
HELL TO PAY:
- Time to Turn the Page
- As a whole, Daredevil does most things right, but it’s not perfect. One of the elements which is far from perfect is Karen Page, played by Deborah Ann Woll. If the goal was to make Karen a whiney and annoying victim that can’t seem to make a rational decision to save her life, then mission accomplished. My feelings on the subject were validated when a female co-worker and fellow fan of the show admitted she wished for Karen’s quick demise within the first few episodes.
- Stick it To Me
- By far one of the most enjoyable episodes of the lot was titled “Stick” co-starring Scott Glenn as Murdoch’s smart-mouthed trainer who goes by the name…. Stick. Follow? Stick’s smart-aleck banter and sparring scenes with Murdoch were some of the most entertaining and memorable exchanges of the entire series. My main problem with all of it was the fact that “all of it” was limited to one episode. If the showrunners know what’s good for them, Glenn will be back with a bigger role next season. Oh, and Spoiler Alert: the show’s first season received so much praise, it took Marvel and Netflix about 15 minutes after its release to formally announce a second season will be produced. (The fact that the demand for Daredevil reportedly crashed Netflix’ servers also may have had a little to do with it.)
- Mighty no More.
- So, this one is more of a personal stigma and I’m going to fully admit this is a personal-bias issue. However, when it was pointed out to me that Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson) was also the actor who played Fulton in Disney’s The Mighty Ducks franchise, I had to do a double take and then follow it up with a cringe. Being a rival Los Angeles Kings fan, with about as much love for the Ducks as I have for the Bubonic plague, it was a bit of a tough pill to swallow. Ok, I’m over exaggerating a bit. Elden has provided a likeable performance thus far, but unfortunately, the visions of the Flying V will continuously haunt my mind every time his character comes on screen. Still, as mentioned, Elden is doing a surprisingly good job at putting his ‘Mighty’ past behind him.
So, is Marvel’s season 1 of Daredevil worth the two day investment? Without a doubt, I can answer that self-imposed question with an unequivocal: yes. It’s not the second coming, but it is undoubtedly my new favorite TV series from Marvel. More importantly, thanks to this excellent adaption, I now feel as if I can dust off my shame and share my love of The Man with No Fear with the world like I never have before. It’s kind of a big deal to me since it’s not something I do blindly.