Geek Out: Daredevil is Here to Stay
For years comic book TV shows have been dominated by Image Comic’s The Walking Dead and the various TV series from DC Comics: Smallville, Arrow, and Flash. However after Marvel’s Avengers became a box office phenomenon, Marvel has since sought to extend its reach into the realm of TV. Agents of Shield, Marvel’s first foray into TV sputtered out of the gate. The show seemed to be waiting for the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which saw the implosion of Shield. From then on, the show has found its footing and has become a much better show. Marvel’s other TV series Agent Carter, premiered with strong reviews from critics and fans, but the ratings for the show weren’t as strong as the season went on. However, Marvel has struck gold with their first of four new TV series on Netflix, in Daredevil.
Last Friday, Daredevil was released in its entirety on Netflix, to critical acclaim. Honestly in my opinion has raised the bar for comic book TV series. First and foremost the casting of the show is spot on. Charlie Cox is great as both Daredevil and Matt Murdock. He doesn’t play the character as two different characters, like how Batman and Bruce Wayne are often played. Instead he makes Daredevil more of an extension of Matt Murdock which is the wise choice. Suffice to say he fits the role better than Ben Affleck. Deborah Anne Woll and Elden Henson play the roles of Karen and Foggy pretty well. Supporting characters like these two can often become annoying to a viewer, but neither out stay their welcome and their story at times was more engaging than Daredevil’s. The standout performance of the show has to go to Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin. I didn’t know what to expect from the character as my experience with him has been limited to just the 90’s Spiderman cartoon and Michael Duncan Clarkes performance in the Daredevil movie, but this version of the character is the best so far. The social awkwardness of the character made the villain of the show more human, which is something that Marvel hasn’t truly tried to do with its villains so far in their cinematic universe. Also the childhood flashbacks helped give depth to the character. D’Onofrio played the character perfectly and I hope to see the character again in other shows.
I personally believe that the success of Daredevil can be attributed to Netflix. Netflix gives Marvel the freedom to tell darker stories, which lends itself well to the character of Daredevil. ABC can not tell these darker stories and that’s part of the reason why some fans don’t like Agents of Shield. This isn’t a family friendly show. People die and they do so in gruesome ways. Another reason why Daredevil is getting such strong reviews is because of the way the lead character is portrayed. Daredevil doesn’t win every fight, in fact he gets his butt kicked a lot. He’s a human character who just happens to have some heightened senses and knows how to fight. He isn’t going against an Asgardian god or alien. He’s fighting other human characters, which allows for the audience to connect with the character.
Production wise, this show is top notch. I don’t think that Marvel has revealed how much they spent per episode on this show, but it certainly has high production values. The sets are expansive and beautiful. The logical comparison for me to make would be to compare it to Game of Thrones. Arrow and Flash have their work cut out for them. Daredevil looks like a movie. Every shot is perfectly done and the shows lighting which is dark on purpose is very well done. Praise has to go to the directors and crew on this show.
Overall, Daredevil is Marvel’s first home run in the TV series space. It isn’t a perfect show, at times its pace can be a little slow, especially during the show’s final stretch, but that one negative is certainly outweighed by everything the show does right. Marvel has once again taken a character that the general masses didn’t know much about and has made him a household name.
Here’s hoping that the Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist shows are just as good.