TV ramblings – Daredevil (Netflix 2015)

Synopsis:

As a child Matt Murdock was blinded by a chemical spill in a freak accident. Instead of limiting him it gave him superhuman senses that enabled him to see the world in a unique and powerful way. Now he uses these powers to deliver justice, not only as a lawyer in his own law firm, but also as vigilante at night, stalking the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil, the man without fear.

star 5

Review (spoiler-free)

The series initially just passed me by and I only discovered it in September while searching for some reviews on another show. The high imdb (Imdb site) rating caught my eye and I got my hands on the first episode. I was completely hooked and I couldn’t wait for my daily two episodes from then on. I finished the series in a week, totally gearing for season 2.

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I loved the progression of the storyline and the evolution of our masked hero. Matt Murdock is fighting the good fight whether he is in a suit or hiding behind a mask. He utilises his heightened senses in such a smooth way, knowing far more than any other character. We know he has many secrets, regrets, and hang-ups, but the biggest problem he faces is his anger, his desire to punch the evil out of his city. He always walks this thin line between good and evil, between what is right and what is easy. He asks himself repeatedly –what is justice and what is revenge? Where do we put the line? Every victory and drawback makes him reconsider his decisions, his actions. The talks he has with the priest are very enlightening regarding his past and psyche.

There appears to be some tension about his costume as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. I thought he looked badass even though the bandana might appear a bit pirate-y. I was more concerned about the lack of proper armour – he could use some indestructible vambraces at least. Of course, he was relying on mobility and speed more than actual physical strength but that cost him too much in my opinion.

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I love his deep friendship with Foggy Nelson who is more than just a sidekick; he’s the heart of the show. Foggy has his own storyline and can be the most selfless, upbeat person. He may crack jokes left and right, but he has his own moral code that might be what Matt needs to keep himself in check. Foggy centres the show and keeps the lawyer-by-day storyline strong. I liked the good guy persona he inhabits so easily; the hijinks he and Matt got up to in their college days were just hilarious.

Karen Page is a welcome addition to the team and a relentless fighter for justice. I loved her teaming up with the reporter Ben Urich. She may start out as a victim but she grows out of this role and takes the world by the horns. She is totally surprised me and can be counted amongst my favourites on the show. She can keep a secret, has good technical skills even though the copying machine is driving her insane, and she is a secretary extraordinaire. She’s got brains and brawn. I always waited for female roles to be expanded into more than the usual damsel in distress, superhero chick, or vamp villain. She is an everyday woman confronted with extraordinary problems – she doesn’t give up, she doesn’t bow down. I love her for it and I hope there’s more happiness in store for her in the future. She deserves it and more.
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Then there are the villains. We got an unusual alliance between the major forces in Hell’s Kitchen that is rebuilding after the alien attack form the Avengers storyline. We’ve got the Russian mobster brothers, the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Triad, and Wilson Fisk. Of course, tying all of them together is a Wall Street banker Leland Owlsley. The power behind this unusual merger is Fisk, a character I loathe completely. The Russians don’t pretend to be good guys helping the town but Fisk has built up this narrative in his mind that he’s going to change the city, save it, blood and death a necessary part of his plan. It is sickening, and the more we learn about his background, the less you like him. Yes, we could feel sorry for him but he has zero compassion for his victims. He may love a few people or call them friends, but in the end he’s just a bully.   
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Madame Gao is a character I’d love to see more of – she’s this small Asian woman who’s totally badass. She may be evil but she’s got class other mobsters only dream about. I wonder if she’ll cross paths with Vanessa Marianna, Fisk’s lover. She’s another example of an evil woman, in this case by willingly ignoring the darkness inside Fisk and just enjoying the power he has in the world. I loathe such characters because I believe they reflect badly on women in general. Of course there are so many men who do exactly the same – we usually call them lackeys and there’s no short supply of them – but at least they don’t sleep with them. It’s just ugh – one of my pet peeves.

The emotional and moral dilemmas of the show engage viewers and don’t offer easy answers. This is how dark and gritty superhero shows should be made. I have very few complaints – the casting appears to be spot on, the acting is heartfelt, the script tight, and the action sequences never boring or predictable. Kudos to all actors, stunt men, and other staff, you did your job and more. I can’t heap enough praise on the series. It was such a wonderful surprise to thoroughly enjoy a superhero story once again. Since I’m not familiar with the comics and I consciously avoided any spoilers  I believe I enjoyed it even more since I had few expectations.(Just like I do for season 2 now – I don’t want to know anything; no speculations, trivia or fanboy theories here, please.)

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So worth the watch! I heartily recommend Daredevil to all superhero fans and other action-junkies. You won’t regret it. 😀

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