SERIES REVIEW – When Netflix and Marvel announced their official partnership to create four separate series of a bunch of C-list heroes, and finally to cap it off with a giant Avengersesque event in the form of The Defenders I was both excited and skeptical. Excited because new and interesting characters would enter the fray of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I was skeptical since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D by Josh Whedon, and the show runners was a complete and utter bore.
Well after binge watching the entire first season last year when it premiered, and last month the whole second season was again viewed in a day… the series is probably one of the best superhero series of all time. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was okay, it seemed to play it safe, as a generic episodic series, that kind of did not have any notable villains. Meanwhile, in Season 1 you have The Kingpin played by Vincent D’Onofrio, and you have in Season 2 both him and The Punisher going up against blind fighter.
„I am the night.”
So what is exactly Daredevil? Well for one it was a failed movie in which Ben Affleck butchered the character, and also ruined Elektra. As for the comic books, and this new series I would say that Daredevil is a non-rich version of Batman with a more compelling storyline. Matthew Murdock is a defense attorney in NYC by day, and Daredevil by night, a myth that roams the streets helping citizens in need.
While that sounds a bit like Batman the fundamental difference between DC’s and Marvel’s character is that here Daredevil is more relatable. Sure he’s a lawyer in NYC, but he’s not a wealthy billionaire with high tech gadgets, a fancy car, and a boy sidekick (that he needs to replace every four years). Instead, he’s a blind man who knows martial arts, is always on the brink of bankruptcy, and gets the shit kicked out of him regularly (Even if he does win those night fights).
It is compelling to see a more humane approach to the street level superhero genre on television. While Batman might get a bruise or two, Daredevil’s Matthew Murdock is shown needing days to recover at times from a heavier encounter; it allows the viewer to connect more with the protagonist.
While he is blind, he can fight pretty well, but during the series he does not progress much, and felt that an episode with a „training session” would have been nice. Just to not see Matthew Murdock get beaten easily at times.
The first season deals with The Kingpin trying to set up a foothold in NYC, and to rebuilt it to something better. Which means extortion, getting people kicked out of their homes, and gentrification old districts. Daredevil’s path crosses with Karen Page played by Deborah Ann Woll (Hello True Blood fans), and from her, the road leads to the Kingpin.
While it is the main plot of the show (uncovering who is behind all of the plans), there are some subplots that hint at other series, and even to the final series which will be called Defenders. It is nice to see such interconnectivity and future references to other series such as Iron Fist or Luke Cage.
Still the first season is an origin story that focuses on how The Man in Black became The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. There are some missteps regarding the plot (Black Sky being unresolved for two seasons now), and some mediocre acting (Foggy’s actor in the first season) however other than these two instances, the first season’s acting was top notch. Some may not like The Kingpin’s version, but I enjoyed seeing a much more dangerous villain compared to the standard Cinematic universe’s villains where they were too jokey.
Season one ends with a bang and sets up NYC nicely for future series such as Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. The second season, however, hits a bit dark, and my god if there was ever a series where I could not possibly think they would turn the awesomeness dial to 11/10 it was this.
…. and morality
While Ben Affleck ruined Daredevil back in the early 2000s, someone had the great idea to make a comedy out of The Punisher starring Thomas Jane. While the movie was bearable, for the fans it slaughtered The Punisher’s character so much that many fans were waiting for a proper rendition of the character in this film… and by god they did it.
While it is pretty impossible in my opinion to make me care about a man, who goes guns blazing against mobsters (and that one time where he killed the Marvel universe), Frank Castle here is setup as a sort of bogeyman. Nearly everyone shits their pants at merely his name being mentioned, and for the right reasons. He will walk over the bloody corpses of The Irish mafia, and other crime organizations to finally avenge the death of his family.
However to avoid most episodes being a general killing spree, the showrunners for season two decided to question the morality of Daredevil mostly through his conversations with The Punisher, and with his Catholic priest. Frank Castle calls Daredevil as a half measure, and that is entirely true in some cases. Which is why it is good to see that Elektra is also getting an accurate to comics treatment, and here she is causing making Matthew Murdock to be on the edge.
Season 2 deals with much more compared to the first season, and it is quite impressive as to what it has put down to the table. The fight scenes are better, it is more brutal compared to the first season, The Punisher scenes are unbelievably great, and at times scary as hell, and the plot moves at a better pace. The acting also got consideringly better, as Foggy Nelson is played better in this season by Elden Henson. Karen Page is less prominent in this season, but instead we get to focus more on a new arrival Elektra, which makes the life for Matthew Murdock more complicated.
I do not wish to reveal too much from the plot from either season, as it is best to experience it on the TV screens.
Fun 26 hours
Daredevil season one and two is a blast, if you enjoy great martial art fight scenes, complicated stories with a bit of morality play in them then this is the series for you. It is also extremely non-restrictive, and every punch feels it has weight. Unlike CW’s series The Arrow, and The Flash this is a bit more grounded in reality but still manages to take the genre to new heights. A must-see for Marvel fans, but even for newcomers, this series, should be the starting point both for Daredevil and for The Punisher…. oh and ignore the old movie versions of these characters or you’ll need bleach to forget those bad movies.
On the 30th of September 2016 we’ll be watching Luke Cage, and after that hopefully Iron Fist, and finally The Defenders, so we’ll see how the groundwork introduced in Daredevil will be put to use.