Daredevil came out a couple days ago. If you are reading this review, I would assume that you joined me in the binging and watched it already. This is the spoiler review, which means that I will not be holding anything back. I wrote a spoiler-free review for those considering whether to watch it or not. For those who have seen it, here are my thoughts on Daredevil.
The Man Without Fear
The story of Daredevil borrowed heavily from the Man Without Fear, which was a rewriting of the origin story of Daredevil by Frank Miller, the Godfather of the dark Hell’s Kitchen. This included Battling Jack Murdock, Stick, and the college days. Granted, the Man Without Fear story included much more on Elektra during this time, but we got a brief reference to her (“that Greek Girl”), which satisfied me as an Easter Egg and a nod to the story.
While much of the story, episode by episode, was original, the origin was bound in this story.
The show also didn’t overreach. It would have been very easy to shove a Karen Page romance in the last three episodes, but it was merely content to sit back and conclude where it saw it needed to. If anything, however, it needed to be a little longer, as a couple of the story lines (the Owl, for example) were tied off in a little bit of a rushed manner.
I will forever be indebted to Charlie Cox for his portrayal of a broken, haunted Matt Murdock. Matt’s dealing with the morality of murdering an evil man was one of the greatest aspects of the story. He is an incredible actor who will be the face of Daredevil for years to come.
In the same way, Foggy was wonderfully portrayed. Instead of falling into the sidekick roll, he shined by himself. Karen was not the damsel in distress, but a heroine in herself.
I loved the entire criminal circle. While most crime stories fall into the trap of having simply “Boss Fights” with flat characters, these criminals felt real and added great dimension to the story. I expect Madame Goa in the Iron Fist story (an article about that will appear in the next couple days). The Owl was not as prominent as I expected, but he made for a great side character (Melvin Potter as well, who in the comics becomes the Gladiator).
Ben Urich’s portrayal was wonderful, but his death was one of the only issues I had with the show. In the comics, the big thing with Ben was that he learned and kept secret Matt’s identity. That would have been very easy for this show to do, but they notably branched in this area. It was an odd move, especially regarding how sincerely they kept to almost every other area of the origin story. I would have preferred them to follow more closely to the original Ben Urich.
Finally, Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk was lackluster. While I understand that the show was an origin story for him as well, his weakness never fully gave way to the calm, collected mind of the Kingpin. While he manipulated occasionally, he took crap from people that the Kingpin famous in the comics would have put people in the ground for. They never truly got to a terrifyingly calm and plotting Kingpin, while they certainly hinted at it.
Truly, this season of Daredevil is a wonderful monument to the character and a beautiful introduction to the MCU. It will be watched an rewatched in my living room for months to come. I look forward to seeing where the Defenders will take the story. For now, only time will tell.