The TV show “Daredevil”, starring Charlie Cox, is the third television venture of Marvel and it is of course a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So if you lived in another dimension until today, now you know that Daredevil is set in the same world as the Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America and company. But don’t be fooled, the world might be the same, but Daredevil exists in the darkest corner of that planet.
Matt Murdock is a blind man with a very particular set of skills. Upon the loss of his sight in a car accident, he developed his other senses to inhuman levels. He learned to control this “powers” with an old blind man called Stick, who also taught him how to fight. Murdock grew up to be a lawyer by day and a masked vigilante by night, fighting for justice inside and outside the skirts of law. Using darkness at his favor, the blind warrior took the crime underworld in his city by storm.
The plot of Daredevil might be very familiar to anyone following Arrow. There is a vigilante trying to save his city from organized crime. The truth is this is a very common plot element in comic books, one of the most frequent hero motivations out there. So Matt Murdock and Hell’s Kitchen is indeed very similar to Oliver Queen and Star City, however, the series are very different in everything else.
Daredevil is a very dark toned show in a similar way to Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise. There is a cold and heavy atmosphere all the time that completely distinguish the series from the rest of the Marvel universe. Although it is not a full blow bloody and gory show, Daredevil gets pretty graphic at times; it is important to emphasize, however, that the violence it is never gratuitous, it only serve to a purpose, which is intensify how dangerous his battle against crime is. Matt Murdock as a beginner in the crime fighting world is almost like a John McClane of Superheroes. Outsourced and outnumbered, he is constantly beat up and ass kicked, getting too close to death too many times.
The action sequences of the series are few, very dark, but insanely well-choreographed and exciting. Murdock’s fight skills are much more of a show off than practical, as it usually happens with martial arts films, but in retrospect, practical movements are not near as exciting as someone pulling some Yuri Boyka’s movements, especially when that guy is a masked super hero. The violence present in the series also made the fight sequences grittier and more realistic in some way; Murdock is constantly bleeding, bruised and in a lot of pain.
Not only the action stands up on Daredevil though; the acting is excellent, especially Cox as the blind lawyer and Wilson Fisk, who was the biggest surprise on the show. Imposing and threatening, Fisk is one memorable villain that definitely stands up among Marvel’s arch nemesis. One of the great advantages of adapting Daredevil is his huge gallery of villains, which allowed the series to start with someone as heavy as Fisk.
The supporting cast is also notable, from the love affair of Murdock, played by Rosario Dawson, to Matt’s best friend and the show’s comic relief Foggy Nelson, every character has a relevant role in the story. They are well developed episode after episode in a way people will care about Foggy, Karen, Stick and even the bad guys, like Wesley or Gao.
As the overall style of the show is an investigation drama rather than action, the character development is one of the most important elements, so they scored a lot of points by casting with perfection.
The first season goes through the rise of the Kingpin Wilson Fisk as well as the rise of Matt Murdock as a lawyer and as Daredevil. There are few elements linking it to the expanded universe, as mentions to the destruction of New York caused by the alien Invasion in Avengers and it also refers to what might be the Tentacle, the Ninja criminal organization that is among Daredevil’s biggest antagonists. However, those elements are few and mostly subtle, never compromising the show for people without knowledge of the comics or the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Every plot element is tied together in order to guarantee Daredevil as a standalone series.
The overall reception is excellent and the series already hold a remarkable 9.3 rating on IMDb and 97% approval on rotten tomatoes. A fantastic cast playing some of the best characters in the Marvel Ultimate Universe, a dark and violent tone and a great story arc are some of the reasons why Daredevil is already the best super hero/comic book adaptation on television. Five out of Five.