If you were ever looking for a reason to sign up to Netflix then look no further – Marvel’s new Daredevil series is all the reason you need. Heavily influenced by Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy (i.e. dark, intense, gritty, violent), Daredevil magnificently showcases Marvel’s ability to sustain their cinematic magic over the long period of a TV series, and banishes all memories of Ben Affleck’s movie incarnation forever.
Season 1 sets up Daredevil’s world perfectly. Matt Murdock (a superb Charlie Cox) is blinded as a child in a freak chemical spill accident. But with the loss of his sight comes superhuman hearing, and Matt can now ‘see’ the world in ways that we never can. He grows up to become a lawyer in his own law firm in Hell’s Kitchen, New York, but by night he becomes a bad ass vigilante stalking the street and delivering his own brand of justice to the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen. So far so comic book, so what makes Marvel’s Daredevil so great?
Firstly, the casting is absolutely spot-on. Charlie Cox is wonderful as lawyer Murdock. He has a charming, boyish quality; an all-round ‘nice guy’ personality who would do anything he can to help those in need of legal aid. When he puts on his mask at night, he brings menace, intimidation and threat to the character, truly personifying the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen as the criminals have branded him. Then there’s Vincent D’Onofrio’s casting as Wilson ‘Kingpin’ Fisk, New York’s crime overlord. He brings a great presence to the role, speaking in husky rasped tones. Elsewhere there’s Murdock’s lawyer partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) who not only provides light comic relief but is also Murdock’s moral conscience when things start to get murky.
Daredevil’s cinematography is breath-taking and Hell’s Kitchen is portrayed stunningly. By night it is darkly lit and menacing with rain soaked alleyways, and has a real ‘grunge’ quality about it. The camera work is sublime, and the episodes contain many spectacular action set pieces that play out over one long camera tracking shot. In one standout moment, Daredevil fights multiple enemies within the confines of a narrow basement corridor. The camera slowly glides around him, gracefully tracking up and down the corridor as he dispatches his foes. Daredevil is a real thing of beauty to watch.
Also making appearances in Season 2 are The Punisher (a version spawned from the awesome Punisher: Max graphic novel series by Garth Ennis) and of course Elektra. The remarkable thing that Marvel has achieved is to unify its Cinematic Universe. Solo movies featuring the likes of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America culminated in the creation of The Avengers. Here they’re about to do the same. Whilst Daredevil does exist within the MCU (the series takes place three years after the first Avengers movie), it is about to become part of its own unique collection too. The other Marvel Netflix properties - Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist - will also pave the way towards The Defenders, Marvel’s upcoming ensemble TV series.
So this is an exciting time indeed for Marvel, Netflix, and more importantly, we the comic book geeks. And if you’re new to the world of comic books, don’t know your Batmans from your Banes, or are just looking for a fresh new TV series to delve into, then Marvel’s Daredevil is the ideal starting point. Take my word for it, it’s not just a niche fanboy’s series, but a superbly crafted piece of work that can proudly stand next to your Breaking Bads, Walking Deads and Game Of Thrones.
Easily the best TV series out there right now – great characters, superb casting, cracking camera work, fantastic dialogue, plenty of attitude, Daredevil has all this in spades. And more.