Let me be the first to tell you that I thought Marvel’s gamble with their much more mature comic book characters wasn’t going to pan out. I mean c’mon — a Netflix Original show for the likes of Daredevil and other fan favorites from Hell’s Kitchen. I just didn’t think that it was going to work, especially with Marvel targeting the Disney audience after being bought by the company some time ago.
I never thought that there would be room for Daredevil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that also inhabited Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk.
But I was so wrong.
Marvel’s newest Daredevil show on Netflix is amazing and everything that I’ve been wanting from Marvel ever since they started changing the landscape of the comic book movie world with their Avengers initiative.
Many worried that Marvel would simply sweep these darker and much more adult-friendly characters under the rug after gaining the rights back from companies like Fox and Lionsgate, but Daredevil is a strong indication that these characters that we’ve loved are in good hands and aren’t in any immediate sign of danger or the possibility of getting watered down for PG-13 audiences.
Daredevil the show is miles better than Daredevil the film, which I didn’t hate nearly as much as most. And when I say that I must clarify that I mean the R-rated Director’s Cut and not the theatrical cut, which was a mess of epic proportions, but still an entertaining and slightly watchable mess.
Marvel has been able to shine a new light on the popular character with the Netflix show, which both acts as an origins tale and a recreating of the legendary comic book character for the masses. This version of Daredevil is very street-level and gritty, but yet still fits into the world of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Marvel does this by smartly keeping the scope small, reducing the world to Hell’s Kitchen New York, with only brief mentions of the outside world. They also keep the tone dark and the pacing slow, which makes way for the writing, which is some of the best for a Netflix Original show or any television show that fits into this particular genre.
Some might complain about yet another origins tale, while others will be excited with the incredible amount of detail given to the character and his world of other known associates. I for one am happy to know that Wilson Fisk (played brilliantly by the always talented Vincent D’Onofrio) isn’t the center of attention for a good three or four episodes and I also love exploring Daredevil as well as Matt Murdoch and the friends that help create his future.
Have we talked about the action yet? Daredevil features some of the best television action around. The hallway sequence is Episode 2 is a straight homage to Oldboy and a great one at that — one that even tops the Oldboy remake itself. It successfully shows us fluid action by way of camera movement and spatial awareness. Watching it unfold is a treat for the eyes and another fine example of how this show gets so much right and so very little wrong.
Charlie Cox does a marvelous job bringing Matt Murdoch to life, giving both sides of the character incredible depth and detail, allowing us to connect with him on a very emotional level, which helps keep the story moving forward and the action all the more enjoyable to watch. I’ve never heard of Cox before, but I can definitely say that I’ll be keeping an eye on his future projects from now on.
Show creator Drew Goddard has definitely given Daredevil his own unique footprint in the MCU world and I cannot wait to see where he and his fellow collaborators go from here.
I originally wrote this article because I wanted to speculate and figure out what’s next for the future of Marvel’s Netflix shows. We already know about Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones getting their fix, which will tie into a crossover event titled The Defenders, which is basically a street-level version of The Avengers, featuring all of Hell’s Kitchen’s favorites.
But what about Phase 2?
Word is already spreading quickly about how the show’s creators would love to bring The Punisher to an R-rated T.V. show audience. How about Blade or even Ghost Rider?
Those are definitely my top three wants for Phase 2 of this street-level approach to some of Marvel’s most popular characters.
What about you?
Marvel seems to have the ball in their court right now, with lots of positive reactions from both press and public from Daredevil and their Netflix offerings. Do you think The Defenders will pan out and people will want more mature-friendly characters? Or will Marvel branch off into films and take even bigger risks?
Daredevil is currently available on Netflix in its entire Season 1 block for those a little late to the action.