A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Marvel Studios have reached new heights by transitioning seamlessly to the popular, growing format within the medium of which they have previously fell short. Marvel’s “Daredevil” is the latest television series to emerge on Netflix and it couldn’t appear more at home.
Starring Charlie Cox as Matthew Murdock, “Daredevil” takes the loud, colourful and safe tone of “The Avengers” and turns it on its head, exhibiting a brutally dark and mature story about vigilantism in Hell’s Kitchen. Effectively, “Daredevil” is Marvel’s answer to Batman, (insert Ben Affleck reference here…).
Created by Drew Goddard, “Daredevil” is an origin story about the blind protector of Hell’s Kitchen, taking heavy inspirational from Frank Miller’s famous comic book “The Man Without Fear”. The Daredevil we knew and loathed from 2003 is no more, instead, we have a polite, intelligent and highly investible embodiment of Murdock in Charlie Cox, who carries the series splendidly.
Matthew Murdoch is blinded as a child and the story explores his upbringing and the various influences he had along the way. A lawyer by day, Murdoch has his own demons (or devils, if you will) that surface as the series goes on, resulting in tense situations involving those he regularly associates with.
The character study of Matt Murdock is a fascinating one, and with his story having the luxury of being spread out over 13 hours, the writers are able to explore him in explicit detail; an advantage the Marvel films do not have. Being blind, the way in which the cinematography, editing, sound effects and acting from Cox come together results in a strong and believable condition that shows a history.
Murdock has grown up without the ability to see, but through his heightened senses and ability to control what he hears, down to a specific person’s heartbeat, he is able to see more than he ever could before.
Hell’s Kitchen is gradually but ominously becoming controlled by multimillionaire public figure Wilson Fisk, a layered antagonist with an equally, if not more, troubled backstory.
Played by Vincent D’Onofrio, Fisk deals with his own law and order within Hell’s Kitchen, but ultimately must overcome the man in the mask, adamant to stop his plans from coming into fruition. Fisk, known as “The Kingpin”, is a beefy and aggressive villain that fits the world of “Daredevil” perfectly. His henchmen range from stereotypical Russian assassins to sharply dressed businessman speaking an intimidating, sophisticated tongue.
There is no place for a Wilson Fisk in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as his character trates are far too human. “Daredevil” is a down-to-earth series that is set in the dingy dark alleyways of a mysterious, divisive city, so casting a mob boss/governor/businessman to rival a self-appointed vigilante seems very fitting.
D’Onofrio’s performance is sound, often compelling, but his overly raspy voice can become overbearing at points. Kingpin is a great first villain for Murdock, but here’s hoping they can up the stakes in season 2.
The supporting cast members are great to watch interact with Cox’s Murdock. Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, co-workers of Murdock played by Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll add a lot to the story and spice up the range of characters.
Foggy Nelson is the sidekick funny yin to Murdock’s straight and stark yang. He is a wise cracking and sarcastic yahoo at times, but at points he goes a tad bit too far with the humour. For the most part, Nelson is a wonderful character, and his relationship with Page offers its own dose of drama, sometimes even overpowering Murdock’s story.
Stylistically, “Daredevil” has a raw edge to it, which is marvellous to experience at points. Episode 2 for example has a magnificently choreographed fight scene, reminiscent of 2003’s “Oldboy”. There are action sequences aplenty within the series, but none surpass the second episode when it comes to sheer grit.
The finale of the season climaxes in a tense manner, but it all feels a little rushed which is a shame. Furthermore, don’t hold out to see the famous red suit, you’ll be waiting for quite some time.
Although there have been criticisms on the initial black uniform looking cheap, by the time the crossover to the famous red suit comes around, I found myself rather liking the black costume.
This is everything we didn’t expect from Marvel Studios. “Daredevil” confirms that Marvel know what they’re doing and will remain top dog in the comic book movie world for quite some time. Charlie Cox is a perfect fit for Murdock and the character dynamics make for some excellent viewing.
The action sequences are brilliant and the story arks offer some pure tension and drama. Although the season concluded a title bit too quickly for me, I’m very much looking forward to April 2016 when we’re treated to a fresh dose of blind justice!