Daredevil is gritty. Daredevil is dark and bloody – and it’s awesome.
The Netflix original series follows the tradition story of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox). Instead of showing his life story in chronological order, the show starts a lot later on in his life, when he starts up a law firm – Nelson and Murdock – with his law school friend, Foggy Nelson (Elden Hensen). Throughout the show, we are given flashbacks into his earlier life where we find out the origin story of ‘Daredevil’ and that’s one of the things that is so brilliant about this show. It sticks to Stan Lee’s origin story of Murdock very well and completely blindsides (excuse the pun) Mark Steven Johnson’s 2003 adaption of the comic.
The thirteen episodes show is the journey that Murdock makes as ‘The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’, from a boy who is blinded by radioactive chemicals that heightens his senses, to a lawyer by day and a masked figure by night slowly fighting criminals in “his city”. Nelson and Murdock’s first case as lawyers is a woman -Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) – who has been framed for the murder of her co-worker at Union Allied (a company which seems to be the common denominator in Hells Kitchen’s problems). Together, the three of them – along with a newspaper journalist, Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) – try and take down Hells Kitchen’s crime lord, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).
Ultimately, it doesn’t even seem like a Marvel show. From what I have seen over the years, Marvel has always been the light, shiny, comical side of superheroes and DC has been dirty and dark. Daredevil is more like DC on this Netflix original. There’s blood, there’s shooting, there’s bones crunching – everything that you wouldn’t expect from the Marvel Universe.
For me, one of the goriest scenes in the show, that is so unlike anything that you would see from Marvel is a scene in episode four. Fisk a.k.a The KingPin, seduced Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer) – an art dealer – into having a meal with him. The meal was interrupted by a Russian gangster, Anatoly (Gideon Emery) and Fisk were furious with him. Imagine a crime lord infuriated. It’s nasty. So nasty, that Fisk decided to decapitate Anatoly with a car door. Blood sprays everywhere and you hear Anatoly’s head slowly being hacked off and all Fisk says to his right-hand man, Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore) is “tell Mr Potter I’ll need a new suit.” This scene builds the foundations of Fisk’s character perfectly. You get to see the monster that he is and the monster that he will stay being throughout the show. He is easily one of my favourite characters in Daredevil and sometimes, Fisk’s story supersedes Murdock’s.
I like this Marvel, it feels like they’re taking a risk and I like that because Daredevil is a dark story and I feel like they’ve done Murdock’s story the right way. They haven’t tiptoed around the bloody horror of what Fisk does to Hell’s Kitchen, they haven’t tiptoed around that Murdock actually needs to heal from his fighting rather than look and act like he’s healed and everything is okay in five minutes. Daredevil takes the time to show Murdock’s healing process and that he needs the help of his nurse friend, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) to get back on his feet.
The show is fast-paced and exciting, apart from the cliché ‘to be continued’ ending of episode thirteen where Murdock, Nelson and Page enter the Nelson and Murdock building all laughing and smiles. It’s obvious that there’s going to be a second season and boy, I hope there is. This show is brilliant, the casting is brilliant and the way it’s done is brilliant. Bring on season two.