Right now in the magical ether of the internet, on mystical servers of awesome just waiting for you to say the magic word, is a show that you should be watching instead of doing anything else. That show is Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix.
Available through Netflix streaming as of April 10th, the series centers on Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox. By day he’s a lawyer working out of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. He’s just getting off the ground with his college buddy and best friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). They’re in business to make a difference in their city. To find justice and protect the innocent away from the scumbag lawyers they interned with during their matriculation. Oh yeah, Murdock is also blind. After a childhood accident that cost him his sight, Murdock has since developed his other senses to turn him into the “Devil of Hell’s Kitchen,” a masked vigilante with amazing martial arts skills and heightened awareness and physical capabilities. The “Devil” — who evolves into the titular Daredevil — also fights for justice and protection of the city just in a more punchy way.
The beauty of the Netflix format is that the episodes are released all at once, allowing you to watch an entire season at your own convenience, or if you’re really into it (like me), you can watch all 13 episodes in one weekend. After the binge, I have to say that Daredevil is amazing and in my opinion has changed the game for comic book-based television shows. If you turned off your Netflix account, it’s about time to fire it back up because here’s a few reasons why you should be watching Marvel’s Daredevil right now.
#1 — Keeping It Real
Marvel and Netflix have not only delivered a great story, but they also do it without a ton of special effects and through an overall sense of reality that keeps the show grounded and approachable. You see Murdock catching breaths between bouts, for instance, and they make sure to remind you often that he’s taking real damage. The director wants you to feel the pain and see the blood alongside Daredevil when he takes a hit or gets wounded. Unlike Marvel’s other TV venture, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” which has a ton of special effects and fantastical super-powered characters running around, Daredevil goes for a more “Hey, I could totally see this happening” approach reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s approach to Batman in his The Dark Knight Trilogy. Murdock is blind, but this show focuses very little on his “abilities.”
#2 — The Acting and Writing
Since this show isn’t as much about Murdock’s “powers,” there is a strong emphasis on the acting and characters that make this Daredevil really shine. Charlie Cox nails his part as Murdock/Daredevil perfectly. You can really feel his conflict and internal struggle with his choice to be the man in the mask and most importantly his pain and suffering. If that wasn’t enough, Vincent D’Onofrio is truly second to none as Daredevil’s main antagonist this season in Wilson Fisk. While the series is called Daredevil, the writers really gave Fisk a lot of attention and really made this season with as much of a story about Kingpin’s origins as much as it’s about the rise of Daredevil. Fisk and Murdock authentically want the best for their city and both operate outside of the law to get it, but Fisk is complicated and traumatized. D’Onofrio isn’t just given a “sit back and watch” role but rather, he’s given the chance to really dive deep into the Fisk persona. Instead of a cookie cutter criminal bad guy, the writers give us a truly developed character to juxtapose our hero against. One of the things I kept saying to myself as I watched this season was that for the first time I can recall, the Netflix format gives us a show that is performed more like a 13-chapter novel instead of a 2-hour magazine article (a movie). The writing is fluid and addictive and makes you want more, just like a good book. You won’t wanna stop.
#3 — The Kung Fu Connection
While Daredevil might have heightened senses and awareness, it’s his prowess with martial arts skills that are the star of the show. With little special effects, this is a show for fans of really good stunt fighting. Fist to face, breaking arms, punching of throats. Murdock is a kung fu badass thanks to training from Scott Glenn‘s Stick. Stick helps train Matt on how to become a warrior and to not let his blindness become an anchor to weigh him down with, but rather to tune his good senses to become his best weapon. And a blind guy doing kung fu might sound very familiar to fans of David Carradine’s TV masterpiece series Kung Fu and that reference isn’t lost here; in fact, it’s directly mentioned over the course of the show by some of the characters. Flat out, some of the best fighting sequences on film in a good while can be found sprinkled throughout the season of this show. Trust me, the “Hallway Fight” in Episode 2 is a solid must-see by itself.
So, I highly suggest getting started on Daredevil. While I’m on cloud nine at the moment about it, there are some parts that aren’t all that great. The bits involving Deborah Ann Wall‘s Karen Page working with Vondie Curtis-Hall‘s Ben Urich become a deeply unnecessarily long back and forth over whether to do something or not do something that carries excessively over the arc of 3 or 4 episodes. It was the only time I was ever tempted to hit forward just a bit. Otherwise, I was hitting back a lot on my PS3 controller to watch some scenes over and over making sure not to miss one ounce of this amazing show that is Marvel’s Daredevil.