So finally the new DareDevil TV series has been released on Netflix! A thirteen part series, which sees the hero of Hell’s Kitchen race into action. So what did Cookie and Paul think of the first episode?
It rocked! I had high hopes from the day it was announced and I have to say Netflix and Marvel have delivered my hopes and more!
There’s always a little bit of excitement that comes from this kind of intertextuality, and it’s a subtle nod that they are in the same universe – even if they didn’t want to play too heavily on the events of the first Avengers film. It’s the kind of thing that Marvel have actually done well. We all hear about “that one episode that references that other thing” and they’ve capitalised on it – but not focused on it. After all, this is Daredevil, not Daredevil presents the Marvel universe.
It’s also so subtly done that if you were one of the few people on the planet not to have seen the Marvel films so far, you would still feel like could follow Daredevil (we don’t want them to create convoluted plotlines that require you to have seen the entire backcatalogue of stories for every Marvel character – like DC and Marvel have done in the comics).
Then we have the subtle nods to the rest of the Marvel Universe. Discreet nods, where if you blink you’ll miss them. Newspaper articles in the background, subtle lines and mentions. It’s done in a way that if your not paying attention you’ll walk right on past. Giving the show its own distinct identity whilst tying it to the movies.
One of the main differences between film and TV is the amount of characters there are. Often with TV series there are primary, secondary and tertiary characters, possibly having characters changing between them from time to time. So it’s good that Daredevil has a sidekick in law. This not only bolsters Matt Murdock as a character, stopping him from becoming just Daredevil, but it also adds weight to his lawyer life as well – certainly more so than the Ben Affleck adaptating.
That said, Foggy is actually fairly likeable. He’s enough of a unique character to really add to the dynamic and his personality comes off as convincing. He’s not above bending the rules and he’s after money to start and continue the business.
Foggy as Murdock’s ally is so much more than your standard companion. With his own agenda and smart remarks. He can stand up for himself and has his own ways of getting to the truth. Not simply there as a sidekick taking orders. The character is driven just like Murdock and is portrayed brilliantly by Eldon Henson.
The whole feel of Daredevil is fairly dark. It’s dark when most of the action happens (well, it would be to his advantage), and there are a few other elements, like the focusing on the windows (minus the Venetian blinds, but that wouldn’t make sense in Matt’s apartment anyway). Even the environment is quite film noirish. The mobsters, dark secrets and manipulation. It suits it, and I hope they continue the theme slightly.
I’m really liking the Dar noir style of filming. The way the camera moves between the alleyways – casting shadows. The music score interjecting – building the tension as elements are unveiled. It’s gritty, bloody and fits the character brilliantly.
At first I was unsure about the blind angle being played up so much. But I’ve actually come to realise that it’s only played when it’s relevant. When it comes to views from his apartment and office, his secret identity, people thinking they can sneak out without being seen, etc… They’re all things that sighted people can take for granted and often forget about when it comes to talking and interacting with blind people. What I also like though, is that it never has Matt becoming angry or upset with anyone. I admit, I’ve never read the comics that this series is based upon, but I love the fact that so far, we’ve got a rounded character where the blindness is there, but it isn’t a focus.
I won’t harp on about it too much, but I do feel that it’s an important aspect as it colours the initial interactions he has with people he comes into contact with.
Netflix and Marvel have really worked on getting the blindness right. Sounds weird I know, yet when Charlie Cox is Matt Murdock, the way he moves. His little mannerisms brings to life the blind hero. The subtle news as he moves around Hell’s Kitchen – even down to his bare apartment. All making it feel so real within this world. The way his senses kick into overdrive when he uses his powers is also subtle yet brilliant. The way the image shimmers as you hear the heartbeats. The thought and direction that has gone into the look and feel of this series is brilliant.
Marvel seems to be going from strength to strength when it comes to heroes and I feel that one of those reasons is that they’ve developed a universe when people know weird stuff happens. In fact, it happens so often, they rarely need to dwell on it. The series could have started with a long episode about the origin story. Thankfully that’s pretty much left to the first few minutes. Though I do like the fact that they intercut Matt’s memories with the current scenes just to show a link between his childhood and his actions in that moment. This cutting back to conversations with dead characters reminds me slightly of Dexter. I also like that this IS still an origin story as well – but more of an origin story for Matt Murdock rather than for Daredevil himself.
The origin of Matts powers is delicately touched on. I’m pleased that they didn’t make the whole first episode about his past. Instead we have small flashbacks giving us a peek at his drive and motivation. His past relationship with his dad barely touched upon. With other little nods such as posters advertising a fight. It helps break up the episode and leaves you wanting to see a little more.
Stay tuned with us until next week where we look at the second episode: Cut Man.