TV Review: Marvel’s Daredevil

Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix

Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix - Credit: Archant

Move over Ben Affleck, this is The Man Without Fear done right at last...

Marvel’s Daredevil is the latest in a long line of stories set within the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) and it is also one of the strongest pieces of work so far. Recently released on Netflix, it is the first in a series of superhero shows (soon to be followed by A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist) that will focus on ‘ground-level’ heroes – heroes with special abilities but whose attention is on street crime and local corruption, rather than saving the world.

For the uninitiated, Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is Matt Murdock: blind and conscientious lawyer by day, acrobatic and courageous scourge of the underworld by night. His blindness is as a result of a chemical spill when he was younger, but - this being a Marvel story – the chemicals heightened his other senses, letting him ‘see’ in other ways.

This isn’t an origin story as such. Murdock is already fighting crime when the series begins, but he isn’t yet the Daredevil we know and love. I very much enjoyed not being subjected to yet another superhero origin, with much background information being delivered in the form of flashbacks.

Daredevil’s nemesis in the story is Wilson Fisk, a shadowy crime lord whom fans of the comics will know as Kingpin. Played by the great Vincent D’Onofrio, Fisk is a man of cunning and ruthlessness, but not above dishing out a brutal beatdown. This is where Daredevil sets itself aside from other MCU fare. It is often wince-inducingly violent and dark, and the characters are nicely multi-layered and complicated. It is refreshing to have a villain as deep and as interesting as Fisk. Indeed, the main romance of the series does not involve the hero, but the villain.

Not being constrained by the need for ad breaks, the episodes are often pushing an hour in length, and as such scenes are allowed to play out more naturalistically. The leads to greater character development and amped up tension.

This is the kind of superhero story we need: complicated characters, conflict, intrigue, and brilliant action (including a five minute fight scene shot in one continuous take). Well done Netflix.