Daredevil—Season 1

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8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Good cast, darker than some of the movies

Story kind of wanders the second half

 
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Welcome to Hell’s Kitchen!

Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) is a lawyer battling a disability.  Blinded as a child, Matt’s disability isn’t his blindness but his inability to give-up…despite when it could be detrimental to his life and the lives of his friends and family.  Matt gained a gift at the cost of his vision and is trying to determine how to use it to help his home of Hell’s Kitchen.  With his partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Matt finds himself trying to defend a woman named Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and in the process learns Hell’s Kitchen’s biggest threat could be in the form of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio)…the Kingpin of Crime!

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Dang…I’m blind…sort of

Daredevil—Season 1 was released on Netflix on April 10, 2015.  The thirteen episode season is the first of five Marvel series planned for Netflix including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders which tie into Marvel’s “Cinematic Universe” and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The show was met with positive reviews and a strong premiere for Netflix.  The series received Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series (“Speak of the Devil”), Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role (“Speak of the Devil”), and Outstanding Main Title Design.

Daredevil has been brought to live action three times.  The first Daredevil was Rex Smith in 1989’s The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.  The movie was intended to be a potential pilot spin-off for a series, but no series developed.  The second outing for Daredevil was in the big screen version of 2003 starring Ben Affleck.  That entry was met with criticism and ridicule but did  well in the box office and spawned a spin-off in Elektra in 2005.  It was questionable if Daredevil would soar again, but a return of the rights of the characters to Marvel permitted a new chance for Daredevil.

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Man of the people!

Daredevil is a weird superhero.  As a kid, I wasn’t that big of a fan of him, but he is a much more layered superhero than other heroes.  The problem with Daredevil is that he becomes “that blind superhero” but blindness is almost incidental to the character.  The real thrust of the character to me has always been the fact that he’s a mess.  As a lawyer, Matt is taught to defend, but initiates justice on his own as Daredevil.  He’s religious which poses more problems with his mission.  He also is a mess with women who he often ends up destroying.  I think this series is good, but in this season it only demonstrates a small tip of the iceberg when it comes to Daredevil’s complex nature.

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Our chemistry is electric! That’s why you must disappear for episodes…

Affleck was bad, but Charlie Cox shows potential.  Both Smith and Affleck played Murdock as a blind man.  Here, Cox is freer to just be a guy who happens to be blind.  The series doesn’t delve into how his powers work and demonstrating it all the time, so it isn’t as bogged down.

I like the core of the Matt-Foggy-Karen triangle, but I am curious if they will continue to dip into other women in Matt’s life.  The series indicated Elektra (the Greek girl in a flashback) and Matt has a history of choosing bad women.  I feel that Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple (aka Night Nurse) was misused since she really disappeared for the whole second half of the series with little explanation.  I also look forward to Stick’s return.

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Awesome…Flaming Ninjas!

The weakness of the series is a lack of villains.  Daredevil’s rogue gallery was never very expansive and the Kingpin was a hand-me-down from Spider-Man.  The Kingpin is the richest Daredevil villain and this season explores him.  I just wish that more villains appeared.  There is the Owl (who I’m suspecting might have his son take over next season), Gladiator (who is his costume designer), and a few more players.  The series does some set-up of future Netflix series and characters like Madame Gao are suspected to be players in shows like Iron Fist.

The season is an origin season with Matt becoming Daredevil at the end.  Through the course of the show he wears a black costume which resembles costumes he wore in the comic book before donning his iconic red costume (they skip the yellow costume entirely).  It is quite close to Smith’s costume in the Incredible Hulk TV movie.  I don’t know that the final costume really works.  It still has a goofy factor and we never see it in the light of day (a good thing).  I hope they maybe tweak it a bit for season 2.

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Hmmm….not sold on this yet

As a Netflix series, the show has a bit more leeway and uses it.  It is quite violent, has a lot of swearing, and manages to shock longtime readers by having events that don’t match up with the comic.  I like this in that I can watch it and be a bit surprised, but it doesn’t veer too far away from the source material.

Daredevil is a fun watch and I look forward to seeing a second season of the show.  Netflix has proved itself with this series, and I wish that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were closer to this.  I don’t know what the long term goal for Netflix’s series are although they are to culminate in The Defenders.  It will be interesting to see it develop like in the movies and how they will tie in the movies and the Marvel Universe as a whole…I’m hoping DD shows up in some movie cameos just as much as people have been wishing for Spider-Man.

Daredevil—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

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“Into the Ring”

1.1       Into the Ring Airdate:  04/10/15

Matt Murdock (Skylar Gaertner) is blinded as a child and discovers he has been gifted with other “sight”.  As an adult, Matt (Charlie Cox) finds himself teamed with his friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) in opening a new law firm in Hell’s Kitchen as New York City works to rebuild itself after the Avengers stopped the alien invasion.  Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) wakes up framed for murder and Foggy and Matt’s first client as someone seeks to kill her.  Meanwhile, a new player called the Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) has entered the crime field in New York City and the appearance of a masked vigilante could cause problems for him.

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“Cut Man”

1.2       Cut Man Airdate:  04/10/15

The vigilante is found beaten and broken in a dumpster after attempting to find a kidnapped boy and taken in by a nurse named Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) who tends to his wounds.  Foggy finds himself out with Karen for a night on the town.  With the boy still missing and his identity exposed, Matt Murdock tries to protect Claire from his attackers while recalling adjusting to his blindness…as his father (John Patrick Hayden) makes a big decision about his boxing career.

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“Rabbit in a Snow Storm”

1.3       Rabbit in a Snow Storm Airdate:  04/10/15

A murder in a bowling alley leads to Foggy and Matt’s first paying client…but it could mean that Matt and Foggy will have to compromise their integrity.  Karen learns that her former employers are threatening to buy her out, and Karen decides she has to go to Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) for help telling her story.

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“In the Blood”

1.4       In the Blood Airdate:  04/10/15

Claire’s work with the vigilante puts her in danger as Matt must seek her out.  The Russians find themselves at odds with Wilson Fisk as Fisk begins to see a woman named Vanessa Marianna (Ayelet Zurer) from a local art gallery.  Ben Urich warns Karen to stay away from her former company but agrees to follow the story for her.

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“World on Fire”

1.5       World on Fire Airdate:  04/10/15

Matt asks Claire to move in with him to protect her as their relationship starts to heat up.  The Kingpin starts a gang war by framing the vigilante for the Russian’s murder.  Matt, Foggy, and Karen get a client fighting their landlord and Foggy and Matt’s old firm.  With Kingpin setting up the Russians against the vigilante, Matt’s number could be up!

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“Condemned”

1.6       Condemned Airdate:  04/10/15

The Russians are attacked and Hell’s Kitchen is burning.  As the Matt tries to save the life of Vladimir (Nikolai Nikolaeff), he finds himself surrounded by police…Matt must get information on Fisk before the police move in.  Fisk learns that Ben Urich might be on his trail and decides he must take action.

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“Stick”

1.7       Stick Airdate:  04/10/15

Matt’s on the trail of Fisk’s moneyman Leland Owlsley (Bob Gunton) but the police and most of New York City think the vigilante is a terrorist due to Fisk’s paid men in the police.  When Matt encounters his old teacher Stick (Scott Glenn), he learns of a shipment of a device called Black Sky by a man named Nobu (Peter Shinkoda) that could be a bigger than the Kingpin…but Stick might not be telling Matt everything about Black Sky.

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“Shadows in the Glass”

1.8       Shadows in the Glass Airdate:  04/10/15

Matt learns that Foggy and Karen have been investigating Union Allied and agrees to help them.  As Fisk goes on damage control against the vigilante’s attacks, Matt reaches out to Ben Urich for help, but Fisk has an ace up his sleeve.

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“Speak of the Devil”

1.9       Speak of the Devil Airdate:  04/10/15

Fisk has gone public and now Matt, Karen, Foggy, and Ben in a rush to link Fisk to the destruction in Hell’s Kitchen.  A trip to investigate Vanessa leads Matt to a face-to-face encounter with his nemesis, and the fight to stop Fisk becomes personal when one of Matt’s allies pays the price.  Matt goes hunting for a killer and finds a fight that he might not be able to win.

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“Nelson v. Murdock”

1.10     Nelson v. Murdock Airdate:  04/10/15

Foggy knows Matt’s secret and realizes their whole relationship is based on lies.  Karen learns Ben is thinking of giving up his work as he deals with his wife’s declining health.  A fundraiser for Fisk leads to an unexpected attack.

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“The Path of the Righteous”

1.11     The Path of the Righteous Airdate:  04/10/15

Fisk’s history is discovered by Karen and Ben, but Matt questions what to do with the knowledge.  Foggy decides his partnership with Matt is over as Karen tries to determine what is happening between them.  Matt reassess his role as the vigilante and seeks a way to protect himself…leading him to a confrontation with Fisk’s designer Melvin Potter (Matt Gerald).  Fisk finds Vanessa fighting for her life as his Fisk’s man Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore) seeks to stop Ben and Karen.

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“The Ones We Leave Behind”

1.12     The Ones We Leave Behind Airdate:  04/10/15

Karen deals with killing Wesley as Fisk tries to determine who targeting him.  Ben tries to get the paper to publish his story but finds opposition from his boss.  Matt seeks out Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) and her true allegiance is revealed.  Ben’s plans to leak the story online hit a snag.

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“Daredevil”

1.13     Daredevil Airdate:  04/10/15

Ben Urich is dead at the hands of the Kingpin and Matt, Foggy, and Karen blame themselves.  Fisk learns that Madame Gao and Owlsley are teamed up against him leading Fisk to a desperate move.  With the threat of new evidence against him, Fisk finds his back against the wall and a trapped man can be a dangerous man.

Related Links:

Daredevil—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Jessica Jones—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Luke Cage—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Iron Fist—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Defenders—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Daredevil (2003)

Elektra (2005)

The Avengers (2012)

Captain America:  The First Avenger (2011)

Iron Man (2008)

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Thor (2011)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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