Daredevil is one of my favorite superheroes ever. I loved the movie (I know, I know) and not only because it featured music from one of my favorite bands. It had it’s flaws, sure, but it had less of them than, say, Superman II. So when it was announced that they were doing a TV show, and that it had been picked up by Netflix, I was duly excited.
It took me longer than most to work my way through the series, because I’m mostly too busy to watch a lot of TV. But I finally finished it. And I was still duly impressed. Here’s my mostly non-spoilery thoughts.
Daredevil probably suffered a great deal from over-hype. You know, you hear so much about it and you expect to much and then it’s just really good and not the most ground-breaking and incredible thing ever, so you end of disappointed. Daredevil seemed to take forever and ever and ever to come out, and so we had way too much time on our hands to sit around and speculate. And then when it finally did get here, we were, well, I was…confused.
Mostly it was the color palette. It seemed to always be night. It was always yellow. Conversations were always taking place in badly lit parking garages. Everyone drove black cars, wore black clothes. It was boring and depressing and further complicated by the bizarre character relationships.
Matt Murdock, the good guy, lies to his friends at best, and uses and manipulates them at worst. He beats people up, sometimes because he needs information (because everyone knows that’s a reliable way to get intel) and sometimes just because he wants to. He repeatedly tells the only person who knows his true identity that he likes hurting crooks, and she (understandably!) decides to keep her distance.
Meanwhile, Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, the bad guy who’s “tearing this city apart” is gentle, kind, and seems to genuinely want to make Hell’s Kitchen a better place. He does terrible things, yes, but he does them with the right intentions. He understands that the system is corrupt and that in order to change anything you have to play the game. So he plays it with skill. Is he a crime lord? Sure. But his goal is to be the crime lord, the one that puts all the other ones out of business, the one you can always trust.
And he is honest. He promises to always answer truthfully any question put to him by Vanessa, the love interest, and that honesty wins her heart. So let’s run a break down of everything we know so far:
Matt likes beating people up, Wilson constantly reminds himself that he isn’t cruel for cruelties sake.
Matt lies to and manipulates his friends. Wilson’s friends know all about his dream, and openly support him.
Matt is alone, Wilson is surrounded by people he loves.
Matt represents anarchy, Wilson represents structure and a better tomorrow.
Right around this point we have episode 8 “Shattering the Glass.” This is the episode when everything begins to change, significantly for the better. Everyone from the actors to the scriptwriters to the cinematographers pick up their game. The plot thickens. The tension increases. And we realize that this is not your typical superhero origin story. This isn’t about a hero learning to control his powers. This is the story of a good man (Wilson Fisk) becoming a villain. It’s the story of a conflicted man (Matt Murdock) becoming a hero. It’s about learning right from wrong, and making sure you’re fighting for the right reasons.
Daredevil is slow starting off, but the ending packs a punch that totally makes up for it. I absolutely cannot wait to see what they do with season two, and am looking forward to the other Marvel shows that Netflix has in the works. If you’re one of those people caught unimpressed in the middle, keep going. It’s only thirteen episodes, and you won’t regret it.