Good morning Rebels, and welcome back to my life.
If you’re a comic book nerd, like me, life is good these days.
Marvel’s cinematic universe is going strong, the second Avengers is only a few weeks away and we’ve got a slate of regular movie releases every few months for the next several years.
Meanwhile, in television, we’ve had Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, and yesterday came Marvel’s latest release in television content, the Netflix exclusive show Daredevil.
Because it’s a Netflix show, we got an entire season at once, and while I’d love to tell you I’ve already mainlined the whole thing, I can’t—I’m not quite THAT crazy.
But I have watched the first episode.
All right, fine, I watched the first two episodes.
I WATCHED FOUR EPISODES ALREADY, OKAY? I CAN’T STOP MYSELF!
I’M WATCHING THE SHOW RIGHT NOW, IT’S NEXT TO THE CAMERA WHILE I’M TALKING TO YOU!
So I wanted to share my thoughts so far, a sort of “review in progress,” with maybe more to come once I finish the whole season.
Now I never read the actual Daredevil comics, but I am a HUGE fan of the character. He has lots of interactions with my favorite superhero, Spider-Man, and every time he shows up things are just…awesome.
He and Wolverine also have a fair few team-ups, and he was in the truly excellent Secret War graphic novel, so basically I’ve seen a fair share of Daredevil for having never read his standalone comics.
And basically, the show is doing a really good job with him so far. For one thing, this is certainly the darkest Marvel story we’ve seen so far. And I mean that in more ways than one.
The actual cinematography and filming of the show is EXTREMELY dark. Like, everything is in shadow. Even in bright daylight. It’s kind of weird.
But at the same time that visual style makes complete sense. For one thing, the show takes place in the worst parts of Hell’s Kitchen. This is not a light or fluffy environment.
But for another thing, we have to remember—our main character is blind. He perceives his surroundings through echolocation.
The dark and gloomy visual style reminds us that while Matt Murdock can see his surroundings after a fashion, he’s still mostly in the dark.
That same darkness extends to the tone of the show as well. This is, without question, the grittiest Marvel story we’ve seen yet—except for, of course, the Punisher movies, but that’s okay because they were pretty crappy.
Which, it must be said, Daredevil is not! The show doesn’t quite have the artistic chops of Netflix originals like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, but I’d say it’s several cuts above most television shows and—dare I say it—even better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Because it’s Netflix, not a network show like Marvel’s other two television ventures, they can get away with things you simply can’t put on general television, like curse words, intense violence and…shall we say, some skin.
I mean, not a lot of skin. If you’re looking for female prison shower scenes, this is not the place for you.
The violence, though, is the craziest. Some things happen, man…jeez.
The kinds of things that make you physically recoil from your iPad screen, pause the show for a moment, and take a deep breath before you can go on.
And that’s perfect. Because that’s always been the type of hero Daredevil is.
Captain America and Iron Man and the X-Men can have big epic battles against alien invaders where everything is flashy and explosions and showy and, you know, comic book-y.
Daredevil reminds us that true crime, real, actual crime born from economic inequality and oppression, is brutal and violent and just messy.
And so when Matt Murdock throws on the mask and wades into the fight, getting stabbed and beaten and broken along the way, on some level we appreciate him even more than when the Avengers face off against invaders from another world.
Because it’s harder to distance ourselves from the reality of the show when it’s so real.
That being said, this IS part of the larger Marvel universe, so there are a lot of references to the events of the Avengers films, including the New York invasion and occasional little flippant comments about Iron Man and so on.
That’s just kind of cool.
On the whole, if you like comic book movies but want something a little more adult, watch Daredevil for sure. It is to the Avengers movies what The Wire is to Hawaii Five-0.
Now there’s a byline for you.
As always, thank you for watching, Rebels, and I will see you tomorrow. Maybe. Byyye.