Not that anyone could EVER fill the giant shoes of Ben Affleck as the Daredevil, somehow, Charlie Cox is juuuust right.
Following the rest of Hollywood’s trend in churning out superhero films and TV shoes, Netflix has officially joined the fray, leading with a strong contender in, Daredevil. I’ve invested thirteen hours of my life, so you won’t have to and I’m happy to report, those were thirteen hours well spent. For those not familiar with the Dare Devil origins here’s a quickie: As a young boy, Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox), is accidently exposed to radioactive material which leaves him blind. Or does it?
Although he may have lost his normal sight, his other senses are greatly heightened to the point that they act like a sort of sonar, making it possible for him to do things most people can’t, sight or no sight. Matt grows up to be a lawyer, adhering to a strict legal and moral code by day. But by night, he is the Daredevil, the man without fear, unleashing justice on those whom the law has let escape. For the residents of Hell’s Kitchen, he’s a godsend, but to its criminals he’s the boogie man.
Daredevil doesn’t have super powers, he doesn’t have super strength or speed, he can’t fly, he’s not rich or a genius. He’s just a regular guy who’s made the absolute best out of a bad situation. Who can't get behind that? Season one for Daredevil is all about the origins and discovering his limits, both physical and moral. One of the things that really stand out is the set. It’s painfully depressing, filling the screen with various shades of grey, dull blues and bottomless black. It makes you wonder what it is about Hell’s Kitchen Matt deems worth fighting for.
Other than being based on a comic, the similarities to network shows like The Flash, Arrow and Gotham end there. Daredevil is much darker and more cinematic in scope. The creators not only delve into the Daredevil/Matt Murdock background, they really explore the psyche of the main villain, Wilson Fisk (played by Vincent D’onofrio). Then of course, there are the fights that seem to leave Hell’s Kitchen’s savior more often than not cut, bruised and broken. But never defeated. One of the best fight scenes I’ve seen on television is in episode two, “Cut Man”. It’s one continuous shot in a short narrow corridor with the Daredevil outnumbered 10-1.
No hero does it alone despite their desire to not involve the innocent, specifically those in their intimate circle. Matt is reluctant to involve anyone but inevitably the choice is taken out of his hands. First with Claire Temple (played by Rosario Dawson), a trauma nurse who tends to his life threatening wounds one night, when a neighborhood kid discovers him, half dead, in a garbage bin. She’s the first to be let in, though not without consequences. Then there's Father Lantom, who wasn't exactly let into Matt's confidence as much as using his powers of deduction as Matt's confessor and being a Hell's Kitchen resident. Finally, and for now lastly, is his best friend and business partner, Foggy Nelson (played by Elden Henson). He and Foggy met at Columbia Law School and have been best friends ever since. When Foggy accidently discovers that the man he thought he knew through and through is the city's vigilante, it rocks their relationship to the core. Which is another relational aspect the creators and writers wisely explore. Elden is great as Foggy, totally likeable character and if all we ever knew was that he was Matt Murdock's best friend that would be fine. But great characters are the sum of many parts and Foggy is an important part of what makes Matt who he is, so it was great that it was explored.
Though she may not officially or knowingly be in the club, she’s well on her way, Karen Page (played by Deborah Ann Woll) rounds out the small circle that make up Matt’s crew. On the outside, Karen appears to be soft and vulnerable but like Matt, when push comes to shove, the resting darkness within awakens to unleash the fury. Only time will tell what path her deadly choices take her.
Lastly, I will say that Charlie Cox was an excellent casting choice for Daredevil. As Matt Murdock, he is brilliantly convincing as a blind man, seamlessly slipping in and out of the character of a man who is truly blind and a blind man who sees a lot more than most sighted people. As the Daredevil, Charlie’s physicality as a blind vigilante is quite impressive and will make action film lovers very happy.
The good and the bad of this Netflix original series is that you don’t have to wait a week between episodes, but that makes the wait for the next season seem all the longer.