DAREDEVIL (2015) NETFLIX TV PREVIEW & REVIEW by: Money Train
As a child Matt Murdock was blinded by a chemical spill in a freak accident. Instead of limiting him it gave him superhuman senses that enabled him to see the world in a unique and powerful way. Now he uses these powers to deliver justice, not only as a lawyer in his own law firm, but also as vigilante at night, stalking the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil, the man without fear. Written by DDK…IMDB.com
I have watched the first three episodes of “Daredevil” (2015) and I am greatly impressed with this next level of Marvel superheroes for the small screen. I am particularly happy that Daredevil is being played smartly and coolly by newcomer Charlie Cox. And I am even more ecstatic that Netflix’s dark, bloody and ultra-violent “Daredevil” looks and feels nothing like “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” on ABC. But this is Netflix so I knew they had a much higher bar for creating dramatic TV content than ABC. I actually cringe when watching any episode of “Agents” because it’s so corny, predictable and badly written and acted. And the recent news of another “Agents” spinoff series makes me queasy. I would have thought another limited “Agent Carter” series or maybe one featuring Deathlok (J. August Richards) spinoff would be more logical move to showcase Marvel’s TV diversity. I really hope “Daredevil” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” never meet anytime soon. But getting back to “Daredevil” on Netflix I have to say that I really enjoy these early episodes where we get to see the “start-up” aspect of Matthew Murdock being an inexperienced, flawed and newbie vigilante as opposed to the more polished big budget version that Matt Damon badly tried to pull off in Daredevil (2003) with Jennifer Garner playing an equally horrible.
Elektra. Chris Cox is already being viewed on social media as the better or true Daredevil. And I want to binge watch the whole season as soon as I can before declaring 100% that Chris pulled off Daredevil as it should be done. But I can say that Marvel fans and all comic book fanboys will rejoice that Netflix’s “Daredevil” writing, plot and narrative structure so far is a highly faithful adaptation of Marvel’s Daredevil comic book and more specifically the Frank Miller written and John Romita Jr’s drawn Daredevil Man Without Fear (2008) graphic novel. From Miller we get the early Daredevil black suit, backstory of Matt’s tragic childhood with his boxer father and his early friendship with his law partner Foggy Nelson. Miller was the catalyst for reviving DC’s Batman comic book franchise with his classic The Dark Knight Returns (1986), so just knowing that “Daredevil’s” first three episodes were meticulously done so well to faithfully bring “Daredevil” to life from such a well-respected graphic novel only gave me greater confidence in Netflix’s newest TV series.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the always beautiful and exceptionally talented Rosario Dawson (Sin City: A Dame to Kill) show up in DD’s second episode. Rosario plays Claire Temple who is a trauma nurse living in Hell’s Kitchen. Claire saves Daredevil’s life after he encountered a trap set for him by Russian mobsters who are pissed off that he is upsetting their highly lucrative female sex and child trafficking operation. Marvel did a smart thing by casting a great actress like Rosario, so I only hope she grows into a serious love interest for Matt Murdock and not just his emergency hood doctor when Daredevil is stabbed or shot. Claire might start off as a Felicity sidekick that he uses to consult on medical issues, but I hope she grows into a bigger role during “Daredevil’s” second season. The only other people color I saw in “Daredevil” with serious recurring roles are Vondie Curtis Hall who plays ethical and throwback news reporter Ben Urich and Rob Morgan as the thug Turk Barrett. Moisés Acevedo is Santino the boy who brings a dying Daredevil to Claire Temple.
At the law offices of Nelson and Murdock Chris Cox, Kared Page, Vondie Hall and Elden Henson. And I am glad “Daredevil” has two lighter supporting characters in Elden Henson playing Matt’s affable best friend and law partner Foggy Nelson. Karen Page plays Deborah Ann Woll, who is a troubled and secretive secretary and Nelson and Murdock’s sole employee in their fledgling Hell’s Kitchen law firm. “Daredevil” needs Foggy and Deborah to lighten up the show’s pacing not as real comic relief–but to keep Matt focused on other realities in his life besides being Daredevil. And honestly I think “Daredevil” would overdose on gore and random violence. “Daredevil” has intense fights scenes like on “Arrow” and it equally has realistic and graphic scenes like a criminal willing to impale his head on a metal spike (“Walking Dead” fanatics would be proud) because he told Daredevil about Wilson Fisk.
My only real qualm or gripe about “Daredevil” so far is that Marvel still does not have Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin right physically. I was never in favor and highly opposed to the late and great Michael Clarke Duncan playing a Black Kingpin in Matt Damon’s Daredevil. I think Fisk being a shadowy mega-evil overlord in New York City also masquerading as a respectable rich businessman is more likely white than Black. And I know some are now saying why can’t we have a Black Kingpin and that’s like saying we should have elected a couple of Black presidents before Barack Obama got elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012. America’s voting population had to become very diverse and young enough to be able to seriously elect a Black/biracial president now as opposed to twenty years ago or even ten years ago. Wilson Fisk is not only an important character in “Daredevil”, but he is equally as important in Spider-Man as well. And typically I would be satisfied with the casting of an exceptionally cerebral and powerful character actor like Vincent D’Onofrio for Fisk. And I know this is going to sound bat ass crazy, but I really wished that Marvel would have seriously considered casting WWE’s Paul Donald Wright aka The Big Show as Kingpin.
I am a true comic book geek and one of the greatest aspects of Kingpin in the comics is that he is a huge man of great strength and has advanced martial arts skills. Kingpin can fight a powerful Spider-Man or an agile Daredevil and even beat them if they are not careful. The fact that Kingpin has a massive Suge Knight body type added to his aura as being a sinister gangster because he literally could snap his underworld opponents in half with his strength and huge muscle mass. And normally being a bulky 6’3” as Vincent D’Onofrio is in real life would suffice as Fisk, but this is a comic book TV series and sometimes size should matter. Casting a seven foot and 450 pound Big Show would really have been faithful to Marvel’s comic book version of Kingpin. But would Marvel really have dared risked critics hating or clowning Big Show’s limited acting experience to play such a pivotal figure in “Daredevil”? The answer would have been a “No on the Big Show” because Marvel would have had to live up to Netflix’s high production standards for their original series like “House of Cards”, “Marco Polo” & “Orange Is the New Black”. Netflix to me always goes after the best acting talent available first and then consider my or a fanboy’s expectations a distant second. And it is this attention to detail is what makes “Daredevil” fun and also why I am excited about Marvel’s Netflix phase of gritty and urban superheroes. “The Defenders” will be launched after “Daredevil” with ex-superheroine/private eye Jessica Jones, Luke
Cage aka Power Man and mystical martial arts expert Iron Fist. I’m sure “The Defenders” will be superb. I also have much greater confidence that Netflix’s “Daredevil” could show up soon in Marvel’s Spider-Man reboot or re-reboot as a cameo. Or I could see Daredevil play an important role in Avengers Infinity War series in a few years. The Avengers could ask Daredevil to get The Defenders to watch over New York while they possibly leave Earth to fight Thanos. This is more likely to happen than CW’s “Arrow” and “Flash” ever being fully integrated into any upcoming Justice League films. So right at this moment I am greatly impressed with Netflix’s “Daredevil” and I have to give it $$$$. And I can’t wait to see the rest of the first season and how it sets up more exciting superhero series to come.