Monday, April 20, 2015

Bloody 'Daredevil:' A Dark Knight for the Marvel Universe

"Does this hurt? I hope so."
Let's set some simple ground rules for this review of the new "Daredevil" series on Netflix. As you probably know, "Daredevil" is the first step being taken by Netflix to create its own little corner of the Marvel universe. More series with more characters are part of the plan. And, "Avengers"-like, they will become a team. We don't care about any of that. Not yet, anyway, because none of it is going to happen unless "Daredevil" makes us care about the downtrodden residents of New York's Hell's Kitchen.

Mission accomplished, Marvel.

Based on the first two episodes (Netflix has released 13 for streaming), "Daredevil" easily stands on its own as an outstanding superhero crime series, thanks largely to star Charlie Cox. "Superhero" is used loosely because he possesses none of the usual comic book powers (strength, flying, speed). When young Matt Murdock is blinded in an accident, he gains heightened senses that make him keenly aware of his surroundings. By night, Murdock becomes a masked vigilante. By day, he and Foggy Nelson (portrayed by Elden Hanson) are partners in a small law firm struggling to make ends meet.

Matt Murdock believes in the judicial system at his day job. At night, he dispenses a much harsher, ninja-like version of vigilantism. Daredevil has no qualms about delivering a strong message with his fists and feet. More than once, you are likely to wonder when he is going to stop beating on a bloodied criminal. He breaks bones without a second thought. Like a certain Dark Knight in another comic book universe, Daredevil operates in his own gray area.

Rounding out the loose Daredevil "team" are Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll from "True Blood") as Matt and Foggy's troubled secretary, and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), a nurse who saves the life of a badly injured Daredevil even though she is not sure she is doing the right thing.

And let's not forget The Bad Guys (and Gals). At the top of the list, of course, is Wilson "The Kingpin: Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) and his personal crime empire. We also catch early glimpses of Nobu, Wai Ching Ho and the Russian mob. All have designs on Hell's Kitchen.

Expect "the right thing" to be an ongoing theme of "Daredevil." His brutality clashes with his Catholic faith. His vigilantism stands contrary to his dedication to the law. Daredevil can save others. But can Matt Murdock save himself?

No comments:

Post a Comment