Have You Heard?
Not sure if any of you have noticed or not, but comic book legends have been on the rise recently. Oh, you have? Cool. Are you a fan? Awesome! Have you heard or seen Netflix’s Daredevil yet? If the answer to that question is no, then please give me the honor of giving you a few reasons why you should check it out.
Why Should You Watch it?
Well, like all legends based reincarnations, the fans and new comers are privy to these epic introductions to the heroes or the heroes in the making. Not often are we granted the opportunity to see the people behind the names.
A Bit About Daredevil
Season one of Daredevil premiered earlier this month on April 10th, 2015 on the popular streaming platform Netflix. The show is based off of Marvel’s blind, superhero/vigilantly Matthew Murdock as he tries to clean up the streets of his old neighborhood in Hell’s Kitchen both on the right and wrong sides of the law.
It has a total of 13 episodes for its first season, and it was announced on April 21st that this edge of your seat, gritty addictive binger will be returning next year in 2016, but with different show runners (Sacks). In 2016, Doug Petrie & Marco Ramirez will be taking over for Steven DeKnight for season two. For more details, check out NY Daily News, Entertainment Weekly, or any Internet source really (it’s up to you).
The incredible Charlie Cox plays Daredevil, aka Matthew Murdock
Elden Henson plays Foggy Nelson
(Former True Blood actress) Deborah Ann Woll plays Karen Page
The amazing Rosario Dawson plays Claire Temple
Vincent D’Onofrio (former Law & Order: Criminal Intent actor) plays (Wilson) Fisk
“He could take a punch…Jesus, could he take a punch.”-Matthew (Daredevil) Murdock on his father, Jack Murdock.
Episode One Overview:
Episode one, titled “Into the Ring” written by: Drew Goddard and directed by: Phil Abraham, opens with a multi-car accident that has cause containers of oil on a truck to spill out on the street. Jack Murdock finds a young Matthew Murdock lying in the street after pushing a man out of the way when the accident happened. Jack realizes that some of the oil has spilled over poor Mattie’s eyes and tries to wipe it away, but Matthew’s sight quickly fades from his eyes. The thundering sound of ambulances, fire trucks and police sirens grow louder as they approach, matching Matthew’s shattering screams at the loss of his sight before the scene cuts to black.
Years later, we are led into the next scene by the sound of an adult Matthew Murdock in confessional as he recalls memories of his father, Jack, and the ‘demons’ he let loose when he was fighting in the boxing ring and its unholy resemblance to a devil breaking free.
Brought to tears, Matthew admits to not being aware of that kind of darkness, “not back then,” anyway. He reveals the purpose for his visit was not to seek forgiveness for anything he has done in the past, but for the things he will do. The first glimpse into the ‘darkness’ Matthew speaks about is revealed in the scene that immediately follows as echoed cries for help pull us into the next scene at the docks. We witness a group of guys involved in human trafficking dragging women into a cargo container just before Matt, clad in all black, relentlessly attacks the group with hard, swift, and blunt force blows. The following day, Matthew and Foggy Nelson, his best friend and Law firm partner acquire an office space for their brand new practice and the boys’ first case/client is Karen Page played by Deborah Ann Woll.
Found in her apartment covered in blood, holding a knife next to her dead co-worker, Daniel Fisher’s body, Karen is arrested and taken to the police station. Hesitant to accept Foggy and Matt’s help at first, Karen eventually explains what she remembered about the night before and swears her innocence regardless of what the evidence says. Matt confirms Karen is telling the truth when he listens to the sound of her heartbeat and agrees to try and help her.
Later, the boys debate over the direction of Karen’s defense case and Matt notably points out the holes in the case and lack of murder charges towards Karen by the ADA (Asst. District Attorney) in this seemingly open and shut case. After an attempted murder/staged suicide on Karen’s life in her holding cell, all doubt of a set-up goes out of the window. Once released from custody, Karen informs Matt and Foggy the reason behind why (and who) is going through so much trouble to get her out of the way. While working at her former place of employment, Union Allied Construction, Karen started asking questions after she found an encrypted money-laundering ledger. Matt agrees to let Karen stay with him until they figure out their next move.
The scene that follows, in my opinion, represents one of the most boring ‘villain’ meetings I think I have ever seen as the cities main crime leaders, the Ranskahov brothers, Madam Gao, Nobu, and Mentinclok (I could not find the correct spelling for his name to save my life) meet to discuss ‘numbers’ under the guidance of James Wesley the right hand for a man that shall not be named (spoiler, it’s Fisk). After the discussion leads to the appearance of some while vigilantly taking to the streets (Matt), Wesley ends the meeting with a promise to “look into it.” Back at Matt’s apartment, we find Karen sneaking out of Matt’s place when she thinks he’s asleep, but he hears her leave and follows her back to her apartment.
After retrieving a flash drive with a secret copy of the money-laundering ledger on it, Karen is attacked (again) and is nearly stabbed to death undoubtedly by the same man who framed her for murder when Matt, now clad in his all-black vigilantly disguise, steps in. The fight sequence between Matt and Rance, (the assassin) proves to be a challenge for our hero when the two fall out of a window and down several stories into an alleyway. The sound of the rain parallels us back to a scene between a young Matt and his father, Jack who returns home bruised up after a fight.
The lesson in this particular flashback acts as an anchor for Matt not to give up; even though his father is just pushing Matt to finish his homework the deeper message behind the scene is that Jack doesn’t want Matt to end up like him, spending his nights stepping into a ring fighting or getting beaten just so he can pay for their rent. Jack wants his son to amount to something, especially after the accident. (Though this scene was a nice echo to the past and good representation of perseverance, I found it to be ironic considering Matt was in fact fighting like his father did). Matt defeats Rance and the truth about the encrypted money-laundering file is exposed, but it is clear that the true criminals of Hell’s Kitchen are just beginning to rise.
All too fitting is the episode’s title, “Into The Ring,” for Matt Murdock in Hell’s Kitchen as this season opener shows promise of an up hill battle for our hero to clean up the streets of a truly crime sinking city.
Episode rating: 9 out of 10. Why not go for the full 10? It is simple, because I do not like to make things easy for people.
Who do I think would enjoy this show? Everyone I know, really. However, it is not the type of show younger Marvel fans should watch. There is strong language at times, but it is mostly due to the amount of violence in the show. Moreover, if you enjoy Gotham and Arrow, then Daredevil is the show for you. Also, of course if you are a Marvel and Comic Book fan.
This show definitely brings the element of the beginnings on a legend being formed along with the stories behind how all of the villains and allies come together. It is like watching the selfless, justice-seeking Oliver Queen in the gaudy, dangerous and power hungry city of Gotham. However, Daredevil incorporates elements of a much darker scale than both Arrow and even Gotham.
A look ahead to what Daredevil has to offer:
Real fist on fist fight scenes.
Layered Characters with good potential for interesting character arcs.
Two strong, independently thinking and motivated female characters that are not written in the script as accessory items.
Cinematic quality and mini-movie like experiences with each episode.
It offers blurred boundary lines between the truly good and the truly evil for Daredevil (Matt) & Fisk.
Fantastic sound mixing; Matt’s senses have become heightened after the lose of his eyesight and for a lot of the scenes, I found myself going back to listen to some of the sound bites. It could just be the editor in me, (and I am aware that is probably a weird thing to banter on about) but I really liked noticing the sound detail.
Also, great choreography, and an epic, single take of a fight sequence, (in a hallway) and much, much more.
Until next week’s Daredevil review,