There’s a vigilante in Hell’s Kitchen. By day, he’s Matt Murdock, a young, blind lawyer who works at his own practice with his friend Foggy Nelson. By night, he becomes the man in the mask, tearing apart the web of crime that plagues his city.
This review will cover the first season of the Netflix original series Marvel’s Daredevil.
Back in the day, another attempt at telling the story of Daredevil was made. It didn’t work out very well. Matt Murdock is one of the most complex Marvel characters, at least in my opinion. He’s decently underrated in the mainstream sense, probably the most religious of all the superheroes I can think of. Being a Catholic and a vigilante can create quite the dichotomy, and it is one of the biggest driving forces in Daredevil.
Throughout the season, Murdock (played by Charlie Cox) is consistently struggling with just how far he should go as a vigilante. He loves his city, and he goes to great lengths to help people. He draws the line when it comes to killing people though. He may maim or seriously injure people. He may put someone in a coma, but the thought of actually killing people puts him in an existential crisis. This isn’t to say that he never thinks about it though. As the season progresses, Murdock ways the pros and cons of letting the devil inside him win, much to the dismay of both him and those who love him.
If I were to give a word of warning to go along with this particular series, it would be that it’s really gritty. There’s a lot of violence, and it’s really realistic. This probably isn’t a Marvel show that you’ll want to watch with kids. I’ll say that I had a hard time watching a lot of it. I often had to turn away until the violence had subsided. The choreography for each fight is pretty great. Part of the reason that this comes across so well is because Murdock is no stranger to taking a beating. As an audience member, you feel every hit that the character takes. It never feels like the character is safe, and he definitely has some close calls.
In terms of acting, Charlie Cox does a pretty good job portraying the character. His performance feels earnest, and I found him relatable. He also does a decent job portraying a blind character, winning a Helen Keller Award from the American Foundation for the Blind. He handles the religious material well, and he has a good chemistry with the rest of the main characters. He’s a good fit for Daredevil.
He’s not alone in terms of good performance either. The main villain of the season, Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin, (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) is equally as vital to its success. D’Onofrio perfectly portrays a villain who is both sophisticated and menacing in that sophistication. The season does a very good job presenting Fisk, starting out as an anonymous boogeyman, conducting business where no one knows or is allowed to speak his name. I won’t go any further into his presentation in order to avoid spoilers, but I will say that Fisk was one of my favorite parts.
Daredevil also stars Elden Henson as Murdock’s friend and law partner, Foggy Nelson. We have Deborah Ann Woll as their client turned secretary, Karen Page. Rosario Dawson makes several guest appearances as Claire Temple, and Vondie Curtis-Hall plays a recurring character in journalist Ben Urich. The season consists of many other characters that all play important roles in the overall story. Other than some questionable actions committed by the characters, I didn’t see much of a problem with any of the performances.
As with most series that consist of seasons with 10-13 episodes, Daredevil does reach a point where some of the episodes drag. I think around episode 7 or 8 there is an episode that seems like a filler. I definitely suggest pushing through because the drama amps up past that point. In the end, it does seem that the writers lost a bit of momentum, but with season 2 being released soon, I’m hoping that it’ll pick up from where it seemed to fizzle out.
You can currently watch the first 13-episode season of Daredevil on Netflix streaming. The second season should become available for viewing in March, so you still have time if you want to catch up before then. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best series, but it is a decent envisioning of Daredevil, and I was left satisfied with it. I will reiterate though that it does have some gritty, realistic violence, so if that’s not your thing, this may not be for you.