The highly anticipated beginning to Marvel's endeavor into the streaming world, Daredevil, hit Netflix today, but is it worth watching?
The masked crusader's first appearance in the Marvel universe was in 1964 in Daredevil #1, but the general non-comic loving public will most likely know him from the 2003 Ben Affleck led Daredevil (which has accumulated an abysmal critics rating of 45% on Rotten Tomatoes).
So yeah, Daredevil hasn't had the best reputation in recent years. But 2003 is long gone and Daredevil is no longer under the control of Fox, leaving Disney to revamp the character for newer audiences. And boy, did they do just that.
The series hits Netflix with a mature rating, unlike the more family friendly Marvel shows Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daredevil is definitely not a show for the kids. The direction that Daredevil is taking is much different and darker than the rest of the Marvel Cinematic (and television) Universe so far. The blood, harsh language, and violence is unexpected for the Marvel Universe we have seen in the movies and shows so far, but, thankfully, it works. The blood and gore isn't over done, but there are definitely a few scenes which could leave anyone feeling a bit squeamish.
One thing I was worried about was the fact that the writers might try and shoehorn a whole bunch of references to the movies which would lead to the dialogue seeming forced. Luckily, several episodes in, there has only been a handful of references.
I actually nearly forgot that I was watching a Marvel production until I saw a few gems hidden in the background. Daredevil lacks the normal campiness that I felt while watching the other Marvel shows, which honestly helps it. I've had a hard time getting into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to the fact that its constantly reminding you that it's a Marvel show, so it is very relieving to see that Daredevil has stayed away from this.
Charlie Cox is the one who has taken up the mantle of Daredevil and he does a superb job. Not new to the acting game, Cox has been involved in several well known productions such as this year's Best Picture Nominee The Theory of Everything as well as Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey. Cox balances the dynamic of the suave lawyer Matt Murdock with the Daredevil alter ego without compromising the character. The only real complaint I have about his acting is the strange Batman-esque voice he does as Daredevil, but hey, he's got a secret identity to keep.
Foggy Nelson, Matt's best friend and partner in not-crime is played by Elden Henson. His acting is a little off in my opinion. Sometimes its on point and completely believable and other times it seems completely forced. Some of the Foggy dialogue does seem forced for comedic effect, so it could quite possibly not be Henson's fault. The other third of the team, Karen Page, is played by Deborah Ann Woll, widely known for the popular Vampire show True Blood. Thankfully, due to writing and Woll's acting, Karen is not some one sided female character inserted in just to match up with the comics. Karen has her own story arc that intertwines with the story that doesn't leave her as just some love-struck secretary, and Woll plays this well.
The rest of the main cast is rounded out with Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin, Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich, and Toby Leonard Moore as Wesley. Respectively, they're all pretty great, Rosario Dawson especially. At this point in the series (8 episodes in) I am still not sure how I feel about D'Onofrio's acting. As Kingpin, there are certain times where he seems very stiff but other times he seems like the layered villain he's supposed to be. All things considering, this isn't a huge problem, D'Onofrio just seems to fall short of what the other actors have shown though the characterization of Kingpin is engaging.
Overall Daredevil seems to be a hit so far. Without spoiling anything, I can attest to the fact that the plot is very engaging and the only slow part so far was a little filler episode halfway through the season. The action certainly makes up for any dip in excitement.
One of the most important things about Daredevil is the lesson that his character teaches. Your disability doesn't have to be your weakness. Matt Murdock is blind, but he is able to use that to his advantage. His blindness is his greatest asset. Any disability you may have, whether it be physical, mental, or any other sort, doesn't have to stop you. You don't have to go save the world or anything, but you can do what you want to do, you just may have to find a new way of doing things. Daredevil is important representation of a disabled character, even more so now that Hawkeye's deafness hasn't been addressed in the movies, and Daredevil treats the character with justice.