This is a review of Season 1 of Daredevil, Marvel’s Netflix show created by Drew Goddard. It shares continuity with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (keep an eye out for our Marvel 101 video). We’re going to binge-watch Season 2 this Friday; click here to learn more.
While the star-studded and ironclad heroes are dealing with villains on a global (and universal) scale, Daredevil protects the little guy; namely, every citizen of Hell’s Kitchen, a suburb of New York City. They might not be in fear of extinction, but that doesn’t mean their lives aren’t in danger—from a man named Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. Fisk controls the police, the press, and the underground, bending all of these to his will to build a “better tomorrow,” even if that means killing innocent citizens and taking everything they hold dear from them.
For a villain who pretends to live in the light, we need a hero in touch with the darkness. Enter Matthew Murdock. Matt grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, the child of a boxer with legendary stamina, able to take an unbelievable amount of hits and come back swinging. After a childhood accident that left Matt blind, he developed extra-sensory powers: he can hear a scream from three blocks away, a heartbeat from across the room, and a punch as it whistles through the air.
As the two dance for supremacy on the stage that is Hell’s Kitchen, we meet many of their closest friends. Foggy Nelson, Matt’s law partner and best friend since college. James Wesley, Wilson’s unbreakable personal assistant with eyes of steel and a heart of… well, not gold, maybe bronze? Karen Page, would-be victim turned hardcore in her fight against the forces of evil. Vanessa, the one-time-civilian who might just be the Kingpin’s perfect queen.
Of course, no superhero show would be complete without perfectly choreographed fight scenes—and in this aspect, Daredevil does not disappoint. From the heart-pounding knife fight in the rain in Episode 1 and the legendary one-shot brawl scene in Episode 2 to the no-holds-barred altercation in the alley in Episode 13, the show’s fight choreographers never cease to amaze. Stunts, thrills, and somewhat shocking deaths make it less family-friendly, but all this action doesn’t detract from the greatness; in fact, some have called it “The Wild West on meth.”
Daredevil’s strengths are many, however—it does not merely wow with martial prowess. Each character has a journey to make and lessons to learn. As Fisk sees his well-laid plans spinning out of control, it’s hard to know whether to feel pity or fear. Our hero grapples daily with his own demons, wary of becoming a villain himself. And the citizens of Hell’s Kitchen struggle to see the light. Who can you trust—an outspoken philanthropist with a mysterious network, or a masked vigilante with a penchant for beating up mobsters?
If you haven’t watched Season 1 since it came out, I’d urge you to review it. There is meat still on the bone, both in viewing pleasure and Easter eggs you may have missed (like a moment with Madam Gao that DEFINITELY hints to Iron Fist). I highly recommend that you watch it with someone who hasn’t seen it before; I did just that this time around, and I found it thoroughly enjoyable to hear “What?” and “No way!” and other expletives from someone who was not me.
Daredevil has changed the superhero game for your average viewer; while comic book enthusiasts have always seen a grittier side to the hero world, laymen viewers and recent Marvel converts are having their heads turned by this darker of the universe that still contains Captain America. Review Daredevil with your noob friends; show them the light! And then tune in for our all-night Season 2 Talk Back on Friday, March 18th!
Keep an eye on GeekFactor-Radio tomorrow for our speculation piece, a breakdown on what we think Season 2 will look like.