Now I had heard very positive things about this series, but if you would have told me this series would have me making this post, I would have told you, "You are crazy, but okay..."
After finishing this series, it is absolutely, beyond a doubt, the best superhero adaptation series I have ever seen. Now let me be perfectly clear with you: I absolutely love, love Arrow and The Flash, which are great shows in their own right. But, after experiencing what Netflix did with Daredevil... I was blown away. I will try to explain why without giving away major plot lines or spoilers. Oh, and I will not compare this series to the unfortunate movie. To be honest with you, without the Daredevil movie, this series doesn't happen. So I kind of gave it a compliment. Okay, so let's dive in.
This series has held the source material in high regard.
Now, every show or movie based on superheroes are not and cannot cover everything that goes on in the comic book stories. That being said, this series captures who the characters are and created the place that is Hell's Kitchen that is inside the comic book world. From the few characters I know from Frank Miller's origin story of Daredevil, this was straight from the comic. Before he became the Daredevil most people know, he was simply a masked man in black. They have taken the material literally to where it is more unique than any other series. The Flash was full costume episode one, Arrow, episode one. This is the costume Daredevil wears. As far as he is concerned, this is his complete costume. This is great because it is easily acceptable to see him like this and not necessarily need to be seen the one in red.
The show is dark and gritty, and absolutely necessary.
There has been an elephant in the room at times of whether superhero movies or shows should be dark or should they show the lighter side of superheroes. Me, I want the story we deserve to see, light or dark. If Daredevil worked in lighthearted version, so be it. But this is a story about a vigilante that is taking on criminals and the corruption and murders his city has fallen under. This story can work only with the darkness in tow. Stories have to be what they are, I love this show because it doesn't restrain the story or its characters from being or doing something regrettable. There is something about this show that makes every character matter, even a homeless junkie plays his part. Nothing is wasted in this series and they are taking everything to account.
The show kicks ass... literally, and without the special effects.
I love action like any other person, but the action here is so raw that some of it... you can't believe an actual human being is pulling it off. Yes people, action with no special effects. Just stunt men and great martial artists. I don't know who does the fighting for Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, but he is phenomenal! There were things he was doing that would make Batman jealous. There are some fights where the character and actor look completely spent. one scene in particular had Matt fighting a group of men that took place in a hallway. The scene was quite lengthy and there was no cut during the filming. It made me think of the movie Oldboy, not the Josh Brolin version, original version. He fought numerous adversaries with no cut to a different screen. The exhaustion adds to the scene's effectiveness. There is a lot of realness put into the action sequences. Very refreshing.
They get you fully invested into these characters.
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is a very sympathetic protagonist, but does himself no favors putting himself at harms way every night and keeping the ones closest to him in the dark and furthest away from him emotionally. Even romantically he is very closed off. You almost don't feel sorry for him being blind, more sorry that he is fighting an uphill battle that seems to be no real reward but justice, if possible, and his self appointed loneliness. His nighttime work allows his angers and frustrations to be release by bringing it to the unjust. As the Daredevil, he doesn't sugarcoat anything, whether this is bad news to give or pain to inflict, he does it. As Matt, he tends to be passive aggressive when it comes to cases of his legal practice. It is not exactly because he is keeping his vigilante personality from flooding out, this is him knowing he can do legally and what he knows the Daredevil can do.
With the very small law firm, Matt and Foggy try to help little people and somehow try to make a credible name for themselves.
Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) is who Matt might be if he had a personality. He is his closest friend and is the clear comic relief in this dreary crime driven city. He is not the strongest character of the series, he could actually be one of the weakest. He has the A typical wants what a young man would want, money, booze, women. Those things Matt seemingly cares nothing about, Foggy tends to remind Matt that he can have it all, but Matt clearly has no real interest. That being said, he cares a lot about justice, but his emotions can cause him to steer off course and drink quite a bit. Hopefully he will get better as the show progresses.
Another colleague and only other colleague is Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). Karen Page is a very sympathetic protagonist that is frightened of the city she lives in. She has seen evil first hand, but she has also seen the hero that fights against it and for her. Her story arc should be very interesting throughout the series. Though she is afraid of what could happen to her in Hell's Kitchen, it doesn't stop her from pursuing truth and justice. She actually is far more engaged in what's going on than Foggy. She is favorite of mine, I recently found out she was a part of the True Blood series, a series I have not yet watched, but plan to soon. Either way, I love this character.
Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) is another citizen that has latched herself to the hero by patching up his wrecked physique regularly. She felt compelled to help him when he was in the dumps, literally. She cared for Matt when she wasn't very sure of him and his true character, but it never stopped her from helping him.
Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio)....wow..... Let me start off by saying Vincent's depiction of Wilson Fisk has been unbelievable. What was great about this antagonist is when they first introduce him, you see his vulnerable side first. Usually you see the power first and the chinks in the armor second. Here, it is the other way around. He doesn't come off as someone that is weak, at all. But there is a sadness and instability about him that you soon won't forget. You would be almost sympathetic to him, but fortunately for him, (fortunate for us)... he will do things that will make it impossible. He is a complete MONSTER! I love a good villain, especially when they get him or her right. Wilson is a scary... SCARY dude! I will not go into any detail other than Daredevil, Murdock, should just quit now, just stop. This is someone you should not oppose, and he proves it every moment he gets a chance to. A remarkable depiction to add to the super villain cinematic universe. There are plenty of other antagonist to speak on, but he is the most worthy. Just look at this man's face and tell me I am wrong.
As good as he is, fighting seems futile against such formidable odds and he is suffering dearly in the process.
Yes, Matt is fighting an uphill battle with so many enemies in and outside of the law, it is a wonder how he can make a difference. But that is the point to Daredevil, nothing can change without effort and courage. This is covered wonderfully in this series. Not to mention, an uncountable amount of bruises, cuts, stitches, and scars. He really gets the floor mopped with him, but he gets back up, when others would have hung up their tights.
Justice is SO needed in Hell's kitchen.
It is unclear aside from the protagonist and antagonist introduced who is on the side of good or evil, basically who has been corrupted and who has not. This show does not waste any time exposing you to the fact their are authoritative figures that are deeply inside the web of corruption. Others that know of the corrupted are too scared to say anything because whistle blowing tends to end in death. It is clearly survival of the fittest, and most of the people want to be on the winning side , the living side.
Clear conflict between what's the right thing to do and what needs to be done.
One of the most important elements to superhero stories is the moral code, does he not kill and let justice prevail, or do you take the role of judge, jury, and executioner into his own hands. Through trials and tribulations, he explores this. With his catholic religion, he seeks answers to what he should or not do, and he struggles mightily on the right path. It makes you wonder what you would do if in his shoes.
Okay...one comparison to the movie.
The one thing of many things I thought was ridiculous and I'll include one more movie to the fray, in the Daredevil movie, young Matt Murdock, after losing his sight, had developed new senses that help him become the Daredevil in the present time. How they showed him develop his martial art and senses skills was so far off from his true origin. They had him train... himself...martial arts...something he knew nothing about. What made this worse was in the failed spinoff Elektra, where they introduced Stick, his true master. Greatfully remedied in the series, but that was the problem with previous adaptations, they cut corners. Okay, I am done with that.
I couldn't be any more delighted with what they have done with this series and I look forward to another great season. This the Daredevil and superhero series we deserve.