Daredevil Review Part Two


Going the “Dark and Gritty” rout for superheros is one that I feel rarely pays off. Too often these stories are just juvenile, steeped in a mentally 13-year-olds nihilistic/pessimistic attitude that is always out of place when coupled with stories of people trying to save the world. Because if this, I was a little worried going into “Daredevil”, knowing that is was Marvel Studio’s first attempt at “dark”, and that it would have a “TV-MA” rating. So, if you are like me and are hesitant to try the show, let me just say this now: Daredevil is freaking terrific. This is how you do dark.
The question is, what makes Daredevil different? What does Daredevil do that other, lesser competitors in the “dark and gritty” arena fail at? Easy. Daredevil is a hero. For juxtapositions sake, lets compare this show too the biggest creative failure in the “dark and gritty” realm, “Man of Steel”. The first thing we see in “Daredevil” is a young Matt Murdock saving some old man from getting hit by a truck, losings his eyesight in the process. In “Man of Steel” we watch as Clark Kent saves a group of kids trapped in a sinking buss, only for him to be scolded by his father. While this does set up an interesting dilemma for Clark, the fact is, when it comes time for him to suit up and be a hero we are given no real context as to why he would choose to do so. The first thing we learn about Matt is his thought process of “people matter an I want too help them”, where as Clarks is more “people matter and I want to help them but, gee, maybe I shouldn’t” and we never get a clear sense of when that changes. It also helps establish that Daredevil is a hero as we are constantly watching him help and save people. The highlight of the entire show comes in the 2nd or 3rd episode when a bloody an beaten Daredevil enters a five minuet fight scene against Russian mobsters in order to save a young boy. Throughout the episode we are constantly shown how bad Daredevil is, how he can hardly stand and so on, yet in the end, he’s the hero and he has a job to do. Now compare that to the fight against Superman and Zod, when the two are seem to be in competition to see how many buildings they can each destroy.
Another thing that helps is how the show gets dark. While there is a part were Matt has to question whether or not he wants to kill the Kingpin, that’s not the main focus of the “darkness”. While the easy way to darken up a superhero is to make their actions more questionable, make you winder if the character is in fact a “hero” or just a vigilante. Daredevil goes a different (and in my opinion, better) rout. The darkness comes from not shying away from the brutality of the villains. In an early episode we watch a man brutally take his own life out of fear after giving up the name of the Kingpin, and a little latter we understand where that fear came from. In the end, I think this is why I like the show so much. We are given a hero that stays a hero, and we are also given a villain that demands the attention of that hero.
I talked about performances in my mini-review (witch, ironically, may end up being longer than this one), and for the most part not much changed. However, I do think that the actor playing Foggy didn’t handle the character’s change from “happy-go-lucky” friend to “bitter-and-angry-asshole” near the middle of the season, but the change is short lived, so I can’t complain too much. Other than that, the only time when the show falls flat for me is episode 7, “Stick”. While a lot of the show takes inspiration from Mark Millars run on the comics, this is the one episode that feels like a Mark Millar creation, a he specializes in the kind of dark storytelling I don’t like. At lest it wasn’t Frank Miller they took inspiration from…
In the end, this was a great show and a great step outside Marvels comfort zone. If the rest of the Marvel/Netflix shows can maintain this level of quality, then the climatic “The Defenders” team-up series may be a true equal to “The Avengers” films.

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