'Daredevil' Scores a Bullseye

This year has been a bumper crop for superheroes. We've had Playstation launch 'Powers', 'Heroes Reborn' is coming soon, and 'The Flash" has merged comic book style actions with modern-day subplotting and a truly frightening villain or two.

Admittedly, 'Arrow' has been kind of moribund in its third season. And 'Gotham' continues to be a superhero show that isn't about superheroes. And a crime drama with pretty goofy criminals.

But topping them all is Netflix's 'Daredevil'. The first of five shows that Netflix and Marvel are launching to create the Defenders hero team, one can hope that the other four 13-episode series are just as good. Although it's hard to imagine.

For those unfamiliar with the comic book character, or who missed the 2003 movie with Ben Affleck, Daredevil is a red-clad superhero--Matt Murdock-- who as a child is hit in the face with drums of toxic waste. This renders him blind but heightens his other senses and gave him a "radar" ability that lets him function better than a sighted man. After his father dies, Matt becomes a lawyer and starts his own firm... and becomes a vigilante by night.

Daredevil Review

Opposing Daredevil is Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, who controls the mobs of New York City. Daredevil's allies, knowingly or unwittingly, include his partner Foggy Nelson; legal secretary, Karen Page; and reporter Ben Urich. The Netflix series continues with that and tosses in a few other characters as well like Wilson's right-hand slime ball, Wesley. And Claire, a nurse who gets drawn into Daredevil's circle when he needs medical attention.

The show presents Daredevil becoming the red-clad vigilante some of us know and love. He wears a homemade black costume which even he admits is a "work in progress," and doesn't get the trademark red suit until the 13th episode. His heightened senses aren't overplayed and he doesn't fight super-powered villains. The fight sequences are extremely well choreographed. The best is a two-minute battle at the end of the second episode which is filmed unedited and has actor Charlie Cox throughout except for a switch with a stuntman when he ducks briefly through a door.

Daredevil Review

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock captures the character perfectly, from his unrelenting Catholic guilt to his glib jokes to his determination to give the residents of Hell's Kitchen justice against those who prey on them. He gets cut, punched, kicked, and beaten to a pulp but keeps on coming.
Daredevil Review

Elden Henson plays Foggy, and is tolerable comic relief, at least through the first few episodes until he inevitably figures out his friend's secret. Deborah Ann Woll isn't a damsel in distress, and slowly fights back against the Kingpin.

Vincent D'Onofrio as the bald mountainous Wilson Fisk is the show's other standout along with Cox. He's looking for love while trying to build a secret criminal empire and rebuild New York City after "the Incident." (See 'The Avengers' movie and the Chitauri invasion.) With Vanessa, the woman who has caught his attention, he's gentle and awkward. But if one of his men embarrasses him in front of her, Wilson will wait until they're alone and then decapitate the man with a car door, a feral scowl on his face.

Daredevil Review

Speaking of 'The Avengers', there are a few nods to the Marcel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers get a few passing references and a newspaper headline in the background, and Crusher "Absorbing Man" Creel is a boxer. There are also some lead-ins to the future Netflix series: the Japanese and Chinese bad guys seem intended for the 'Iron Fist' series.

Beyond the Kingpin, there are a few other Daredevil references from the comics. The hero's mentor Stick (Scott Glenn) shows up and adds a minor mystical element to the otherwise gritty criminal dealings. Melvin Potter, aka The Gladiator, is one of Wilson's lackeys. There's a Bullseye-ish assassin in the third episode, although it seems that we won't see him again.

Daredevil Review

Overall, the series takes full advantage of the looser standards of Netflix and off-broadcast TV. There's plenty of blood and violence to go around, although not much nudity. There's also plenty of swearing. There aren't a whole lot of F/X and there don't need to be. That makes it a lot more interesting than 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'

Daredevil Review

Overall, 'Daredevil' is the best superhero TV series on right now. If you can't find it elsewhere, get that free month of Netflix and check it out: all thirteen episodes were released on 4/10/15. And of course, TVRage will continue covering all five series.

- Elden Henson
- Vincent D'Onofrio
- Deborah Ann Woll
- Charlie Cox (2)
- Gotham
- Powers
- Heroes Reborn
- Arrow
- Marvel's Daredevil
- Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- The Flash
- Netflix

Written by: Van Troughton
Apr 14th, 2015, 2:39 pm

Images courtesy of Netflix, Marvel Comics


Level 1 (1%)
Since: 02/May/14
Message Posted On May 8th, 2015, 4:20 am

Enthralled with the characters in this series.  Have finished episode 6 and looking forward to the remainder.  The individuals are being fleshed out and are believable as human beings even though they pass the edges of reality.  The plotline is engaging and demands attention to detail as it evolves.  The interaction between the participants in this drama anchors the drama's progress.

Good entertainment and I can only hope that the other entries into this category are as well scripted and acted.  Thank you Netflix, even if access to your services IS blocked in my corner of the world.


Level 1 (5%)
Since: 21/Mar/13
Message Posted On Apr 19th, 2015, 11:59 am

In the Marvel Universe DD, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman (AKA Jessica Jones), Iron Fist, for the most part, take on street level thugs, gangs, and local bad guys and fight for the guy/gal on the street and for "their city". This is the flip-side to the stories of global and universal crisis that are typically taken on by Marvel's more powerful heroe's where the focus is more on the action and less on human drama. This makes the stories more of a crime procedural with a (super)hero and makes them easier to relate to since most people understand politcal or police corruption, gangs, and drugs than might believe in alien invasions or gods coming to earth.

Netflix's DD intro story seemed pretty true to the early comic book versions that I remember. I didn't remember the black homemade costume which was reminiscent of the Batman: Year One storyline where Bruce Wayne played vigalante wearing a simialar getup and also got his rear handed to him early on.

The Kingpin in this story is still a sociopathic, vicious, self-absorbed, controlling, power-mad villain but not yet the mature powerhouse that he becomes in the comic books.  In the comics he was sufficiently powerful (although not superpowered) to hold his own with Spider-Man which didn't really come across in the Netflix show until the final fight scene between Kingpin and DD in episode 13.

I was never that interested in Kingpin as a villain. That Netflix spent a substantial amount of time on Kingpin's development and backstory in this series did seem to drone on to the point that it felt like filler. However, I think that Vincent D'Onofrio did a believable job of playing the self-deluded bad guy who continues to deny his darkside until he's finally in chains.

Elden Henson who plays Foggy Nelson, the somewhat clueless attorney, doesn't get much credit but does an excellent job of portraying that character from the comic book. Foggy is the hapless, less than confident, partner that has tied his career to Murdoch who he believes needs him as much as Foggy needs Murdoch. When Foggy discovers Murdoch's secret and realizes he's really not that critical to Murdoch the inevitable meltdown occurs.

Deborah Ann Woll was also believable as Karen Paige who is not the brightest bulb in the pack and is too naive and self-absorbed to understand that her actions have consequences, which involve putting herself and others in danger, while she continues her quest to bring down the Kingpin.

Although it could have been condensed I'm glad Netflix laid it out the way they did. Comic's are serialized and most stories are not completed in a single issue so that the writers have a chance to go deeper into the characters and their actions and to develop side stories and sub-plots to keep the reader interested and coming back.  I think that's what Netflix did with this DD series and I'd definitely come back for more. Hopefully they will keep the same production values and quality which were excellent (with a few minor glitches) for the other stories.  I'm very much looking forward to all of them.


Level 1 (6%)
Points: 0.1
Since: 28/Mar/13
Message Posted On Apr 19th, 2015, 4:43 am


I think this show was alright for the most part. I really appreciate the fact that Marvel has toned down their usual goofiness. Still, I think that a lot of people don’t use the same measure measuring stick when comparing superhero productions to other things, and I don’t know why that is. Going by the reviews this show has gotten, you’d expect it to stand its ground against such productions as Breaking Bad or Mad Men, but which it most certainly does not.



Level 2 (49%)
Points: 7.5
Since: 23/Apr/13
Message Posted On Apr 18th, 2015, 8:18 am

I like how the Kingpin isn't a 2D villian, for one he starts out thinking that he is actually helping the city and for another the duallity between his tenderness towards Vanessa and then a "slamming a head to pulp rage".

As for the story told in the movie against this one; the movie's DD is further along in his life, he's been doing his thing for quite a while. The Series's DD is still eary days with a lot left to achieve in life.

I agree that my hopes for A.K.A. Jessica Jones aren't to high, I'm really looking forward to Luke Cage though, he's had some great storylines, though many of them aren't "saving the world" ones... he is usually a little more down to earth. (Should be mentioned that he actually led an Avengers team, containing Doc. Strange, Spider-man, Thing and a bunch of others)


(Site Moderator)

Level 104 (63%)
Points: 198068.7
Mood: frustrated
Since: 13/Dec/05
Message Posted On Apr 14th, 2015, 6:48 pm

I'll also admit, I don't have high hopes for the Jessica Jones series. Or even the Luke Cage series. The former doesn't interest me, and maybe I've missed something, but I don't recall Luke Cage having a central focus or main plotline. Yeah, he's an escaped convict that is trying to hide out and redeem himself, but that just doesn't have the same oomph to it.


I figure with Iron Fist, they can always go the martial arts action flick route.


(Site Moderator)

Level 104 (63%)
Points: 198068.7
Mood: frustrated
Since: 13/Dec/05
Message Posted On Apr 14th, 2015, 6:46 pm

Michael Clarke Duncan? He was okay but there was no real subtlety to the Kingpin part in the movie.

Yeah, when the movie tells roughly the same two hours that the Netflix series takes 13 hours to tell, it's going to be kinda padded. :) *shrug* They're buidling the "Defenders Universe."


Level 2 (55%)
Since: 19/Jun/11
Message Posted On Apr 14th, 2015, 5:53 pm

It was OK, but not >that< good.  The main bad guy was a terrible actor, whoever it was that played that role in the film version was much better.  Overall it felt padded to achieve a 13 episode order, could've easily been edited down to 10 -- very slow moving.

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