Yesterday saw the long awaited worldwide release of the Netflix Daredevil series and having viewed the first two episodes, titled “Into the Ring” and “Cut Man” – both written by series creator and executive producer Drew Goddard (who exited as showrunner to pursue Sony’s now defunct Sinister Six feature film) – I can safely report that, so far at least, it’s yet another hit for Marvel. Being a huge fan of the horned defender of Hell’s Kitchen there is a level of bias (there’s even a place for the maligned Ben Affleck film from 2003 in my books) yet beyond the series perfectly capturing the essence of the character and drawing heavily from the very best of the source material, viewers will find that Daredevil is well scripted, well cast and beautifully realised.
Drawing heavily on iconic and fan favourite comic book runs by writers Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker (working with legendary artists Klaus Janson, David Mazzucchelli, Alex Maleev and Michael Lark), Daredevil is exactly as it should be – dark, gritty and brutal yet not without heart and a smattering of humour (reminiscent of Mark Waid’s current tenure). Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox looks, sounds and feels the part as blind attorney Matt Murdock – a tortured soul whose tragic back story is presented through a series of flashbacks and is ably supported by law partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and secretary Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), who provides ‘Murdock and Nelson’ with their first case. “Cut Man” also introduces us to another citizen of Hell’s Kitchen – Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, the woman who will patch and dress the wounds Murdock sustains in his fight against the criminal underworld.
Murdock’s night time pursuits (beautifully shot by cinematographer Matthew J. Lloyd) as the vigilante who will become known as ‘Daredevil’ fulfil the brutal element of the series. Not being hindered by the constraints of television censorship, Daredevil is not family entertainment and handles the bone-cracking violence (and general adult themes) appropriately. It’s certainly not gratuitous, but, appropriate.
I’m very much looking forward to the full reveal of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk (aka ‘Kingpin’), who is teased during the premiere episode and the further development of the Murdock/Nelson/Page ensemble and the evolution of Murdock’s Daredevil persona – especially the costume that Murdock teases is “a work in progress”.
Daredevil is the first of five Marvel/Netflix Original Series with A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist due to follow, culminating in a crossover for Marvel’s street-level heroes in a Defenders limited series. If the quality of Daredevil is anything to go by then these are exciting times to be a Marvel fan and indeed, a Netflix subscriber.
All thirteen episodes of Daredevil season one are available to stream now worldwide exclusively on Netflix.