After making a splash in movies and television, it looks like Marvel will be a big hit on Netflix. We just wrapped up seeing all 13 episodes of Daredevil, and this may turn out to be one of the best comic book TV shows around.
The first half of the series centered on Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) trying to balance a budding career with legal partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Hansen) with battling bad guys in Hell’s Kitchen. Matt’s alter-ego is considered a threat, thanks to the manipulations of the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’onofrio).
The second half is actually the best part of the series. It spends a lot of time showing Matt try to struggle with justifying his brutal methods of fighting Fisk and his minions. He often talks to Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie), who apparently figured out Matt’s masked activities. He warns Matt his righteous mission may make him lose his soul. As things get worse, though, Matt gets less conflicted.
Meanwhile, it’s easy to show Fisk as a bully, a corporate mogul who will stop at nothing to tear down Hell’s Kitchen to build new condos and facilities only for the rich. However, showrunners Drew Goddard and Steven S. DeKnight take the extra step to show how Fisk got that way. Episode eight, “Shadows in the Glass” is an excellent origin story, centering on his childhood. It actually proves Fisk’s claim that he and Daredevil aren’t that much different. Their lives were affected by their fathers, but in different ways. He still has nightmares about his past, which is a serious chink in his armor.
Fisk also tries to explain to his love Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer) that he isn’t a monster. He says he is saving the city by destroying the bad, then rebuilding. Sure, people who live in those old building will have to be swept away, or worse, but that can’t be helped. Her love does get him to go public with his redevelopment plans, while his influence with the cops, media and government makes him able to depict himself as the hero while Daredevil is branded as a terrorist.
Leland Owlsley (Bob Gunton), Fisk’s financial partner, may be more cruel. His attempts to keep Fisk on the task at hand are quite ruthless, and he’s not above trying to set up a side deal with drug dealer Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho). Leland also thinks Fisk is getting too distracted by of his love for Vanessa.
Meanwhile, Foggy and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) try to use the law to bring down Fisk, and even assist reporter Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall). Page’s journey is the most interesting because of her determination to get justice against Union Allied and Fisk, by helping Urich. Her efforts lead to a confrontation in episode eleven with Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), Fisk’s attorney. He tells her she must start praising Fisk, or her friends will be killed one by one. How this is resolved is the biggest surprise in the series.
There’s another twist that threatens the Nelson and Murdoch partnership, but that is slowly, yet reluctantly resolved because they have a mission to complete. We also see how Matt gets the red devil costume that he’s famous for.
While fans gets reminders of the Avengers and Carl Creel, there’s one more reference that may be recognized by fans of Agent Carter.
Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), the nurse who first discovers Daredevil’s secret identity, isn’t as prominent in the second half. Karen plays a bigger role in Matt’s life, although it’s not certain whether that will stay the same if another season is approved.
Daredevil is a fantastic comic book TV show with great fighting scenes, good acting and an excellent story. It fits neatly between seeing how Agents of SHIELD will play out this season and waiting for the Age of Ultron to begin.
Head to Netflix to watch and for more information about the series.