"Daredevil" is the first of four Netflix series due out over the next couple years and it is easily the darkest, most violent addition to this established universe, a fact which works in its favor a good chunk of the time.
"Daredevil" stars Charlie Cox as Matthew Murdock, a brilliant lawyer who goes blind at the age of nine. Due to how he became blind, he slowly develops heightened senses which allow him to fight crime. Cox does a fantastic job in the role. His flawed but equally charming character worked well both in the law office and on the street. I'm glad that they didn't go the Nolan/Arrow route and have him disguise his voice when he was behind the mask. It gave a better sense of realism to the character in regards to an average vigilante.
Something about Cox's performance which always impressed me was the look of his eyes when his glasses were off. It got to the point where I believed that Murdock was blind, a feat which isn't always the easiest thing to pull off and should be commended when achieved.
Easily one of the most commendable roles of this show goes to Vincent D'Onofrio who plays Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin. Instead of portraying Fisk as a man with lots of power but no brains, they give him both, and a bit of humanity as well. I love it when shows and movies do this with their villains. Giving him a grey area and relatability helped immensely to improve his character. There were times in this show in which I actually found myself rooting for Fisk, which is saying something since he slammed a guy's head off a few episodes into the season with a car door.
Fisk is a socially awkward person who always seems to try and please those he works with. He is also someone capable of great love as well, as shown with Vanessa and his mother, a quality which I enjoyed seeing. These are what separate him from the other MCU villains in that he is truly someone trying to fix the problem of Hell's Kitchen, just in an extremely, shady, backdoorsy kind of way.
Elden Henson as Foggy worked nicely as well. Few of his jokes ever felt forced and you could really see the connection between him and Matt, both in the present and in the flashbacks. Deborah Ann Woll as Karen worked neatly as well. As an IGN reviewer mentioned, I enjoyed the fact that Karen never really chose a man to curl up next to by the season finale. She firmly stood on her two feet and held her own in many life-threatening situations. I also enjoyed how she was introduced into the show. Having her as a client first worked as a nice introduction to the character as well as to Matt and Foggy. Had she just been hired randomly off the street, the connection between them all wouldn't have been as impactful.
The choreography is easily one of the most standout parts of the show. Something which I appreciated is that they didn't make Daredevil a sort of invincible warrior who never gets hurt. Murdock gets his ass handed to him on many occasions but he also dishes out the pain just as often. At one point I was thinking, "This feels like what 'Kickass' would be once the characters are all grown up." People get hurt. Badly. But that's part of what gives this show its charm and grounded sense of reality. Regardless, the choreography is on par with that of "Arrow" and even surpasses that show to some degree.
As I said earlier, this is easily the darkest show Marvel has attempted thus far and it works flawlessly because of it. People get hurt, cut, bones broken, and shot in the face, sometimes all in one episode and it's honestly a refreshing taste compared to "Agents of Shield" and the MCU movies where these things are rarely seen in so graphic of detail. As someone who loves the dark and gritty, the show worked for me because it explored this aspect of the MCU to its fullest extent. Nobody was super-powered either, just extremely talented in some cases, and yet the show still felt like it could fit into a world where Inhumans run around shaking mountains and iron suits have fought on their own.
That said, I'll be curious how (or even if) Marvel will incorporate "Daredevil" into its other shows and films. A guest star slot on "Agents of Shield" seems to be a given at some point next season, along with one for Jessica Jones and Luke Cage probably towards the end of season three. Involvement in the films would help as well (particularly "Civil War") for nothing but a simple cameo to tie everything together.
"Daredevil" was a show I was honestly a bit skeptical about when I first heard talk of it, but it has proven itself to but just as worthy of a successor into the MCU as any of Marvel's other properties. While I doubt we'll see a second season (although I would welcome one with open arms), the show is honestly fantastic despite some very minor flaws and is worth the time of anyone who loves these superhero films and shows.