Daredevil, Series 1 Review

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Daredevil is probably one of Marvel’s superheroes that I know least about, I haven’t even seen the infamous Ben Affleck outing. That is a result of endless warnings and jokes about that film. My only real experience of this character is from the nineties Spider-Man cartoon where he features in a few episodes. With rave reviews coming in, this Netflix Daredevil series quickly caught my attention. Although I don’t usually watch that many TV series I decided to give this a go, with some more time on my hands and a manageable total of 13 episodes I knew I could consume this series with ease.

I completely understand the reviews for Daredevil as it really is fantastic. There are so many elements to this series which I loved. I’m all about characters though, they are usually my favourite element to films I love and Daredevil was no different sporting a great array of characters. None better than the main man himself, Matthew Murdock (Charlie Cox). Murdock is such an interesting and awesome character. The fact that he is blind makes him probably the most unique Marvel hero I have seen on the big or small screen to date. I loved this element and it made for interesting exploration in several episodes and for once our heroes power is actually explained well and made clear how they were obtained and how he uses them. Charlie Cox (Stardust, The Theory of Everything) is unreal here as Murdock/Daredevil he is effortlessly likable in this role and carries the central performance of the series very well. Alongside Murdock come his fellow colleagues, Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). Compared to Murdock these characters never interest as much but they offer a good support for our hero. I wasn’t always convinced of Henson’s performances as Foggy but that could just be his character. Karen really changes throughout the season, I never quite knew whether or not I really liked her, at times I really felt her frustration though so credit due to Woll for conveying that. However, whilst these supporting characters aren’t even going to match Murdock they work really well as a three and their chemistry and relationships are explored very well throughout the series.

Alongside our heroes are of course our villains. Heading up this season of Daredevil as the main adversary was Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). Fisk’s portrayal here is probably the most human like villain I have ever seen, there is more to Fisk here than just villainy which I loved. The whole series really serves as one massive origin story for Fisk (and Murdock) and how he becomes the villain that we will no doubt see in the future. To support Fisk we had his right hand man, James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore) and unlike Murdocks supporting characters I really liked Wesley. He was such a great addition to Fisk’s villainy, I honestly suspected that he would probably attempt to double cross Fisk at one stage. I was genuinely gutted when Wesley meet his demise but he was one of the best things about series one. Fisk’s love interest Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) also gets a look in, she serves her purpose very well here and if anything I think has shown her potential to be a great character, I’m interested to see how she develops. I could go on about the characters for longer but as you see there is plenty of that element to appreicate in Daredevil.

On top of this there was plenty more to enjoy. The action of course has to be mentioned, there are some really great scenes throughout the season showcasing Murdock’s fantastic combat skills. I liked as well that the show didn’t hold back on the violence, it always gives more of an air of tension and risk if the violence is cranked up a notch and Daredevil does it perfectly!  I touched on how interesting Murdock was as a character, the best bit though is that his profession is within law. As a result Daredevil is simultaneously a superhero and a developed crime drama, the integration of cases into the story was great meaning that Murdock can have an impact both as himself and Daredevil. This is something that could have been utlilised more but I’m sure we will get more of this in the future, the courtroom scenes early in the series were great! What about those opening credits as well!? Usually I can bore of opening credits after several episodes but I honestly gave my full attention to time each time they played, so well done! The season also liked to use flashbacks quite often, usually as these started in an episode I would shrug them off as boring and claim they were slowing down the story but everytime by the end of the episode I was hooked by them, they were used very cleverly and were really effective. Although Daredevil isn’t part of Marvel’s five phases of films, as of yet, it has some nice references sprinkled throughout the series to the MCU which were always fun to spot or listen to, the series doesn’t have to rely on them though which shows its strength.

The series had so many fantastic moments, each episode usually had at least one revelation or goosebump inducing moment. One of my favourites had to be when Murdock was attempting to get information out of Vanessa about Fisk at her gallery. This moment features the first meeting between Murdock and Fisk and it played out so well. There were many other moments like this too, but this was the first that I remember really being impressed by. The series tied up nicely, bringing most of the storylines to conclusion. However, there are a few unanswered questions and lingering issues, this was done in exactly the right measure though leaving the audience satisfied but still intrigued. Daredevil really is fantastic and I would rate it higher than many of the Marvel movies, its strength has restored my faith in Marvel’s TV ventures and I will eagerly anticipate series 2 being released. It’s also really nice to be up to date with a current series, can’t remember the last time this happened. Although, hurry back Daredevil, I’m already missing you.

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