Daredevil Season One
Starring: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio and Deborah Van Wol.
Few programmes have ever been as eagerly anticipated as Netflix’s Daredevil. Thankfully few shows have met, and perhaps exceeded, that level of anticipation.
It might be be part of the Marvel Universe (MCU) but it’s got a lot more in common with Frank Miller’s gritty take on the character from the early 80s, and the later Ed Brubaker run, than it has with the kiddy friendly Marvel adventures that are proving to be nothing short of gold at the box-office.
The first thing that needs to be addressed is just how perfect Charlie Cox is as the lead character. He is as believable as the blind lawyer Matt Murdock, who is trying to fight the system from within, as the crime fighting vigilante he becomes at night.
It’s already proven to be a resounding success but Cox’s performance is easily a stand out in a show that sets the bar so exceedingly high.
Any hero is only as good as the villain he faces and in Wilson Fisk, more commonly known as The Kingpin, we have one of the great portrayals of a comic book villain, on the big screen or small.
Vincent D’Onofrio gives a powerhouse performance as the crime boss who is every bit finding himself as much as the fledgling crime fighter he’s up against. It’s a sterling turn, surprisingly nuanced at times, and will surely garner the already highly regarded actor some statues come awards season.
The plot centres on Murdock’s attempts to find out the identity of, and ultimately bring down, the shadowy crime boss who has Hell’s Kitchen in his pocket.
The tone of the show is perfectly judged as we are given characters that we care about and it’s hard to imagine a comic book adaptation that had such a perfect first season, it took Arrow a few seasons to find its feet, while The Flash admittedly is having a great run (pardon the pun) at the minute too.
This is in another league though.
There are times that this feels like a comic book adaptation that has more in common with Sidney Lumet’s Serpico or The Wire than the larger than life thrills we associate with the MCU.
That’s not to say it’s short on action. In fact there’s a searing realism to the fight scenes that might not be to every taste. But this is a series that shows actions have consequences and that being a hero comes at a great personal cost.
The already heralded fight scene from the end of season two is a new benchmark already and rightly so.
It might sit at odds with the rest of the MCU but given the care and reverence for the comic book that’s clearly gone into this production, such gripes seem churlish in the face of such excellence.
This is one series that hits heady heights early on and never lets you go. If you haven’t given it a go then you should at the first opportunity, you won’t regret letting the Devil out.
5 out of 5 Nerds