Movies & TV

Daredevil – First impressions of Netflix’s noir superhero

Daredevil Poster

The first of Netflix’ new Marvel television series went live only a couple of days ago and if the early episodes are any indication, Daredevil will bring a darker tone not seen in the Marvel cinematic universe for some time.

The story revolves around Matt Murdock, a lawyer who lost his sight as a young boy but gains enhanced senses to more than overcome the loss. While defending people in court, he also spends his nights on the streets as a masked vigilante.

There’s a lot to like here. This one is not about a hero with clear morals always operating on the right side of the law. Here we have someone whose methods are sometimes brutal and is willing to get his hands dirty to reach his goal.

Its nice how the series dives straight in and avoids the origin story; instead of devoting the opening episodes to Matt Murdock developing into superhero persona or throwing in an overly long montage, he’s already halfway there and his past is told in flashbacks that are both brief and tied in to the main story.

Any association with the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe is subtle. New York is still recovering from the Chitauri invasion from The Avengers and Hell’s Kitchen, where this series resides, is being rebuilt in the aftermath. Nothing by name is directly mentioned, just a few words dropped in conversation, which works out perfectly fine.

Another notable thing is the lack of focus on the superhero side. The stories told are just as much about Matt’s real life as a lawyer as they are about his after hours crime fighting. I suppose you could call it “Law and Disorder”.

But when the show finally gets into the butt kicking we get to see some bone crunchingly good fights that leave no one, not even the hero, walking away unscathed. Seeing Murdock carrying his injuries from episode to episode goes a long way to establishing him to be more mortal than most heroes.

To start with, the suit does not make an appearance...

To start with, the suit does not make an appearance…

The big question someone might have about the series is: how does it compare to the Ben Affleck movie? Well, I will admit it share some similarities in the kind of mood it is trying to create with lots of night lights and rain, but instead of throwing multiple characters into the mix and hoping something sticks (like the movie) it strips things back to a core group and builds a strong story around them.

A better comparison I think is to Agents of SHIELD; where that series had a large ensemble and stumbled out of the gate, Daredevil‘s smaller, more intimate group that makes the most of the situation and gives you everything you want from the opening onwards. It’s a well executed beginning that is impressive and enjoyable.

So far I’ve run through the first three episodes out of the season’s tally of thirteen and have found it to be a great distraction and a perfect advertisement to Australian viewers of the advantage of Netflix’s method of releasing shows in season lots. The service has not yet been available for a month here and we are already getting shows of this quality is nothing short of brilliant.

Now please excuse me, I have a few more episodes queued up and ready to go. 🙂

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