I tend to start my reviews of Superhero movies with “I like Superhero movies”, but in spite of that, I’ve never been especially fond of Superhero TV shows.
The likes of Arrow, The Flash and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left me so underwhelmed that I never bothered to watch anything more than one or two episodes. They seem dodgily acted, not especially well written and often weighed down by existing lore that we should apparently know but might be unaware of.
So there was always a risk that Daredevil might not grab me, especially considering the bad reputation the movie had.
Thankfully that didn’t turn out to be the case
Daredevil Review – Spoiler Free Thoughts
As it turns out, I really enjoyed Daredevil.
The problems I outline above don’t apply to it much at all.
Yes, it helps to know that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, New York was badly damaged by the events of the first Avengers movie, and that the nature of the rebuilding works and organised crime in Hell’s Kitchen are spawned from that, but that’s all.
Even if you hadn’t seen that film, it spells it out for you anyway.
Beyond that, Daredevil exists in its own world, and it rooted in a more realistic setting than some of Marvel’s other offerings. None of the characters possess cosmic powers or are mutations. Daredevil is just a blind guy who has built his other senses up to make his lack of sight a non-issue. Meanwhile, the Kingpin is just a powerful underworld crime figure who isn’t intent on destroying the universe and doesn’t wear any daft costumes.
So that’s all great.
Moreover, because it’s written like that, then the entire nature of the show becomes more adult than you usually get from Marvel.
As part of that, the fight scenes come across as grittier and more realistic. Instead of the explosive, cartoon-like ‘violence’ of the movies, the director seems to have made a conscious choice to approach Daredevil more like The Raid. For those who like that sort of thing, the fight scenes and the action sequences in general are well produced and meticulously executed.
But for me, the more – indeed the most – enjoyable aspect of Daredevil is the characterisation.
You come to expect drama like this to have characters with very clearly defined positions. One is all good, the other is deep-rooted in evil. Look at the Captain America movies as an example of what I mean. He is the good old All-American boy fighting off against the evil German with the red skull for a head. You know who is right and who is wrong.
Daredevil is different. The team behind it have made a conscious decision to make the character of Wilson Fisk – The Kingpin – someone who you could have sympathy for. His means might be questionable, but his motives appear to have some good in them, and his background is one you might feel empathy towards. On the other hand, the part Daredevil plays in proceedings is often questioned, not only by his friends but by the man himself.
By setting the story up to be less black & white than the norm, it made it a lot more interesting for me.
And I should also note that part of the credit for that must also go to the actors involved, and especially Vincent D’Onofrio as Fisk. He makes every scene he’s in a delight.
Finally, I would say that by releasing all episodes on NetFlix in one go helps the viewer enjoy the show more. Or at least it helped me.
Without question, Daredevil is a slow burner which builds a story over almost 13 hours of television. But that allows it to come to a satisfying and enjoyable conclusion. If it was on for only one episode per week, you might think it moved too slowly, with some episodes not advancing the overall story-arc much, but by having episodes available in bulk, you can watch it over the course of a week and get a greater appreciation for what each one is trying to achieve.
I wouldn’t suggest trying to watch it all in one day, but I absolutely would suggest watching it.
Because it’s well worth your time.
It’s a slow burning triumph.
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