Marvel have been making TV shows for a little while now, but neither Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or Agent Carter have given me the impetus to jump in and watch the small-screen side of the Marvel Universe. Similarly, Netflix and other streaming services have barely registered on my radar. But the release of Daredevil changed all that. Not only did I have to make sure I had the service available; I knew this would be the first TV show that I would binge on. It just needed to live up to the hype.
“In a survey conducted by Netflix in February 2014, 73% of people define binge-watching as “watching between 2-3 episodes of the same TV show in one sitting.””- Binge-watching, Wikipedia.
Going by that my wife and I didn’t binge…we gorged. And it was delicious.
From super-soldiers to talking raccoons, Marvel knows what they’re doing now. They can design a suit and build worlds, but how would they handle no longer being constrained by younger audiences and watersheds?
Pretty damn well by all accounts. Serving as an origin story for both Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk, it quickly moves past the initial accident and into the meat of things. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the show is the idea that if these two men loved different areas of the city the way they do Hell’s Kitchen, both would be flourishing. Both have questionable methods and are well above average on the violent scale. Destined to clash but perhaps more alike than they’d care to admit.
Though the fights themselves aren’t necessarily more violent than what we’ve seen in The Winter Soldier, they are far more graphic. Stabbings, shootings and impalements are all shown square on with consequences. They’re also brilliantly staged, with several protracted fights leaving me wincing. It’s brutal, but Daredevil also has plenty of brains to back up its brawn.
13 episodes might just be the perfect middle ground to introduce a cast of characters and tell a convincing story. It doesn’t have to pad things out (I’m looking at you Oliver Queen), or rush through each character whilst contriving to get them all together (Spider-Man…more than once damn you). Over the last three days – I told you we gorged – we came to care for the heroes and despise the villains, even if at times they all made us think twice about what they were up to. Several facts go a long way to making the story more effective. If you’ve not watched it yet maybe give them a miss though.
- Foggy Nelson isn’t just there for humour, but is a hero in his own right.
- Fisk (there I go saying his name again) is an actual person and not just a caricature.
- Karen, the main female protagonist, doesn’t fall into bed with either Matt or Foggy.
To further the well written story, this is easily the best cast superhero TV show yet. Cox could challenge Batman for mysterious pain, whilst Henson – he who can smack a puck furiously in Mighty Ducks – is hilarious but full of the right stuff and perhaps the single most heroic person in the show. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Fisk is just waiting to explode, yet emotionally stunted and vulnerable at times. A child-like quality juxtaposes interestingly with his cunning and brutality. He almost steals the show. I’m not sure what’s scarier, that Fisk appears to be trying to learn how to talk to people or how he uses car doors.
Nothing is rushed, and that pace could infuriate some who just want to see the next fight, but it’s that slower build up that gives each character time to form. Perhaps the denouement is rushed in comparison, and several threads are left loose for later shows, but it in no way feels incomplete. If Netflix have any sense they’ll quickly add an order for Daredevil Season 2 to their Marvel plate.
Not every superhero has to save the world. Daredevil shows us that saving your neighbourhood can be just as worthwhile. I’ve not watched 5 episodes of a show consecutively before, let alone 13 in a weekend, but it was well worth it.