Marvel Cinematic Universe and Daredevil

Marvel’s Daredevil is currently available on instant Netflix

Daredevil

 

Daredevil (2015) РRated TV-MA

“”Marvel’s Daredevil” is a live action series that follows the journey of attorney Matt Murdock, who in a tragic accident was blinded as a boy but imbued with extraordinary senses. Murdock sets up practice in his old neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, New York where he now fights against injustice as a respected lawyer by day and masked vigilante at night.

Ah, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, how I love thee. My best friend, Patrick, and I used to watch all the superhero movies but he sadly passed away before Iron Man. The last two we got to see were Superman Returns and X-Men: The Last Stand, not exactly stellar examples of their genre.

The MCU movies have been, ummm, marvelous, especially in their intertwining storylines and characters. Iron Man’s humor was a nice counterpoint to the grimness of Nolan’s Dark Knight. The Incredible Hulk was a mighty balm to those who had to suffer through Hulk (2003). Joss Whedon’s The Avengers was a fanboy’s dream.

They weren’t all winners of course. Iron Man 3 was a lazy cash grab but still had its moments. Thor: Dark World was just terribly misguided with the one really good scene being a cameo by Captain America. Marvel recovered though with my two favorite movies of last year, Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy.

The idea to have all of these interconnected storylines is wonderful and the determination to continue this on the small screen admirable. Unfortunately Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not a good show. As a fanboy, I keep watching it but honestly its pretty bad. It has a huge hurdle that it doesn’t begin to approach (a superhero show without superheroes or even supervillains). It and the cast have little to no personality. Every once in a while they will throw MCU fans a bone and have Nick Fury or Sif guest star.

If, like me, you don’t care for that then you can have the exact same thing set half a century before with Agent Carter. Agent Carter is fantastic. That is the character, not the show. The show is more of the same, bland characters fighting other bland characters, with only Carter standing out.

When Netflix announced a partnership with Marvel to produce five separate one-season shows, I was intrigued. The idea of having a season each of Daredevil, A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Power Man, and Iron Fist, and then combining the four of them into The Defenders was marvelous (sorry). That I would be able to binge watch each season was a huge bonus. I did have some trepidation though when it was announced that they would be set in the MCU.

I needn’t have worried. Daredevil is amazing. My wife and I binged watched this the past weekend and now I can’t wait for A.K.A. Jessica Jones.

The actors are superb. Charlie Cox is not at all bland as the bruised, blind, and sadomasochistic Matt Murdock/Daredevil. As with CW’s Arrow, we get bits and pieces of Murdock’s backstory each episode but they never overwhelm the current story. The episodes are the beginning of Daredevil’s story though so he does not even have a costume to speak of. Much of the look and feel of the series derive from Frank Miller’s Man Without Fear miniseries.

Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood’s vampire ingenue) is good as Karen Page, who, thankfully, is not just a damsel in distress. Elden Henson effortlessly steals the series as Matt’s law partner, Foggy Nelson. Vincent D’ Onofrio shows quite a range in humanizing Wilson Fisk. The writers too wrote each of these characters well.

Even the supporting cast is good with the standout being Toby Leonard Moore as Fisk’s wonderfully efficient majordomo, Wesley. Vondie Curtis-Hall plays our long-suffering reporter, Ben Urich. Bob Gunton is Leland Owlsley (The Owl in the comics). Ayelet Zurer is Vanessa, Fisk’s love interest.

The writing is astounding and keeps the whole enterprise grounded in reality. All of the events, except flashbacks, take place after “The Incident” in New York (the alien invasion in The Avengers). Daredevil’s abilities are much more subtly conveyed than in the movie version. The violence is extremely brutal, especially for a superhero show. In addition to the well-filmed fight scenes, the show also deals with the aftermath of the brutality.

There are also numerous perks for long-time marvel-ites. Scott Glenn guest stars as Stick in one episode. Melvin Potter appears in a few episodes in a rather specialized occupation and there are nods to his other identity from the comics. Turk appears and is still a low-life who is always getting in trouble. Many other things are hinted at.

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