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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Daredevil Netflix Series Review


I admit, I'm not much of a TV guy. The most I watch is the news when I'm eating, but as for actual television shows? Not really a fan, and I'm more of a movie junkie.

When I first saw the Daredevil costume, the modern ninja look, I do admit that it turned my interest down a notch. However, when I finally got the time to watch all thirteen episodes of season one yesterday, all I can say is amazing!

Gritty, gripping, compelling, I could use all these cliched and standard words you see in most reviews, but the thing is that it's the truth. The Daredevil series on Netflix renewed my faith that a great Punisher story or stories could be told on the big or small screen.

The great thing this series captured is the street-level Daredevil that fans love about the character. Sure they may have fiddled with some differences here and there, but they didn't get lost in translation.

They kept it to the streets in a real enough fashion that was plausible without being hokey. The story writing was stellar, and the performances top-notch.

I could do the usual and say Charlie Cox is the stand out performance, but I really think everyone had stand out performances. Charlie Cox does do an amazing job of portraying Matt Murdock, the driven yet conflicted character that we all know from the comics.

It was great to see that the series doesn't hold punches and gets into the self doubt and conflicted ideals that was very much part of the character in the comics. I am quite impressed with Charlie Cox's portrayal of Mathew Murdock. Like, I said, stellar performance.

But his acting isn't the only performance I'm impressed with. Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page was a delight to see. I immediately felt for her character and rooted wholeheartedly while seeing her go from victim to a woman on a crusade.

Actually, I loved how the fate of the three main characters of Matt Murdock, Karen Page, and Foggy Nelson cross paths in the series, and I loved seeing how they developed over the thirteen episodes. Deborah Ann Woll has wonderful chemistry with her co stars in front of the camera.

The dynamic that Elden Henson and Charlie Cox have on the show is nothing short but amazing. They both truly capture the relationship that Foggy and Murdock have in the comics. The two actors seem to portray this best-friend bond effortlessly, as if the actors were really best-friends in real life. Elden Henson effortlessly makes the character of Foggy Nelson extremely likable.

Oh, and the most important make or break factor in this series are the villains. Once again, the writers, director, and producers made sure to keep them street-level. No hokiness, no drug dealing parkour idiots. Just organized criminals you wouldn't want to meet, possibly ever, in any life.

As an actor, I was pretty confident in Vincent D' Onofrio. The guy is a stand up, talented actor.

Maybe some didn't see the actor as a plausible Wilson Fisk or Kingpin, but I think his performance probably changed quite a few minds out there. While watching him, I was not swayed. 

There is one brutal scene in which I became completely convinced that D' Onofrio was the character. You got a glimpse of the Kingpin character and the brutality he can and often does commit in the comics. That scene sold it for me, and I said to myself, Ladies and Gentleman, we finally have our Kingpin. 

I thought he portrayed a great Kingpin, a Kingpin that I am satisfied with as a comic fan. One great thing about the character of Kingpin that the show did was humanize him. Yes, he's a baddie. Yes, he is vicious, but you kinda empathize with the character as well.

He just isn't the typical villain you love to hate. They wrote the character with more depth. It may not be 100% faithful the comic book source material, but Vincent D' Onofrio, like the other cast member's performances, was a pure pleasure to watch.

I'm a fan of Rosario Dawson, so she could just fart and I'd be like, Bravo! Amazing performance!

Seriously, though, she is an actress that is actually a comic geek, and she is a talented actress. Her portrayal as Claire Temple is wonderful and the tension between her and Charlie Cox in the series is amazingly well done and so thick you'd need steak knife to cut through it. 

I expect to see more of this character in the upcoming Netflix Marvel series. Since her first appearance in Hero for Hire: Luke Cage #2, she has obviously stitched up more heroes than just Daredevil.

The Daredevil series definitely showcases some of the more popular and less popular organizations and characters from the Marvel mythos. The Hand is definitely present in this series, though not blatantly revealed. 

As discussed in the Daredevil key issues list that I recently expanded on, the Hand first appeared in Daredevil #174, the first series of course. Also the Chaste is subtly referred to as well. First with the presence of Stick, the master who teaches Matt Murdock how to kick some serious butt and played by Scott Glenn.

Also, the credits does reference the character of Stone as being played by actor Jason Finney. He is not fully shown in season one. 

If you read the Daredevil key issues list, the character of Stone first appeared in a cameo in Daredevil #187 and had his first full appearance in Daredevil #188. Marvel is great at setting up different characters or fan-favorite comic organizations to appear in the future.

They definitely do not blast it out there and take their time with establishing presence. Expect to see more of the Hand and it's rival organization the Chaste in the future.

The presence of the Hand or the Chaste is not the only link this series greatly weaves into the greater plot of the Daredevil live action series. If you didn't notice the insignia on the heroin packets when Daredevil busts in on Madame Gao's heroin operation, it is the symbol of the Steel Serpent.

If you read the Iron Fist key issues list, you'll know who I am talking about in terms of Steel Serpent. Another citizen of the mystical city of K'un-L'un, he is perhaps the best Iron Fist villain. I am expecting to see the character of Davos, the Steel Serpent in the Iron Fist Netflix series and Daredevil links to this character.

Madame Gao in the TV series just may be based off the character the Crane Mother who first appeared in the Immortal Iron Fist #4 comic issue. Not quite sure about that, but it would make sense.

Recently speaking of the villain the Gladiator on this site, the character of Melvin Potter does have a small role in the series. Quite interesting how they weaved him into the plot of the Daredevil Netflix series. Not to spoil anything but he is a clothing designer of sorts. 

Another major reference is that the fan-favorite and Frank Miller creation was given a nod to in the show. Yes, it is Elektra and her character is out there in the world that inhabits the Marvel Netflix universe. It was mentioned in the show that Matt's Greek girlfriend was at law school and things didn't quite work between them.

I don't think this reference was merely by coincidence, and the mentioning was so brief and subtly stated that many may have missed it. Could the character of Elektra pop up in a season two? Quite possible and I am keeping my fingers crossed.


All in all, I am extremely impressed with the Daredevil live action series. As I mentioned before, I surely had my doubts at first. 

One thing I really liked was how they showed Matt Murdock's extraordinary senses. They did not put that in the backseat like they did with Spider-Man's Spidey Senses in the movies, which was pretty much thrown under the rug. The show gave you quite a few tastes of how Matt perceives the world around him, and that was amazingly great.

Now, after watching season one, I am extremely excited for several reasons.

I'm extremely excited because now I know the character of the Punisher could very well be done right, and I truly hope the production of that winds up in the hands of those who created and worked on the Daredevil Netflix television series.

The best part is that this series laid down much of the groundwork for a possible Punisher television series or to even have the extreme vigilante appear in a future season. I'm crossing my fingers that Matt Murdock does cross paths with Frank Castle. That would make this fanboy extremely happy.

You can tell that the Daredevil Netflix series was done with a seriousness and respect for the characters in the comic's mythos, as well as a great respect for Marvel's over-all mythos.

Sure, I still have issues with the costume, even when he finally wears his iconic duds. I'm hoping that's still a work in progress, but without a doubt, I'm excited to see what's to come for all the Netflix Marvel live action series coming soon.

I give Daredevil season one five out of five stars. Hat's off to the cast, crew, and writer/director Drew Goddard. It is a must watch!

12 comments:

  1. Hey Mayhem! I had to NOT Read most of what you have read, because I am only on episode 4,
    but I read enough to see you are as excited by this new Show as I am. It's very Personal and real and we all get the man behind the mask, much more so than the big screen heroes show. I am also thinking Punisher would Rule in this setting! There have been talks of Thomas Jane starring and maybe co-directing (as he did in "Dirty Laundry"..The BEST Punisher IMHO). I have High Hopes for many forgotten Marvel Characters..Moon Knight? Morbius? Sub-Mariner? Silver Surfer?
    We may yet see many of our Faves on Small & Big Screen! Gotta go watch DD Episode #4 now!
    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lk

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    1. LK, sorry if I may have spoiled some things for you. I wast trying to be careful, but looks like I ended up revealing too much. I wanted to add Ben Urich...character is great in the series but am disappointed with one major thing about the character. I won't get into it but you'll see for yourself.

      Although I do like Dirty Laundry, I hope Thomas Jane does not reprise the role of Punisher. He made a recent comment that was stupid and uncalled for that made me lose immediate respect for the guy. Actually, he's made a few.

      But I do hope Punisher takes a cue from the Daredevil series. It would be easy to weave him into this world they created. He could even start off as a villain, in which you know he does in the comics and has walked that fine line with other superheroes since.

      Enjoy the series LK! It is AWESOME!

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  2. Hey guys,

    sounds good to me. I hope that it also has something for the female audience! The Green Arrow show which my friend used
    to watch was a little let down to me.

    Shanna

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    1. Hi Shanna and welcome. I hope this Daredevil series has something for the female audience, though not sure what that entirely means. Do you mean female superhero characters?

      I don't want to spoil that for you, but give it time. The series will connect with Jessica Jones after all and then the defenders. The story writing is top notch all the way around though.

      I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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    2. Several times while watching this series I was thinking how good the Jessica Jones series could be. I really enjoyed Daredevil and was not expecting that. It has raised my hopes for "Alias" even more...

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  3. Hey Mayhem,

    great news! In my opinion superheroes do translate better to tv than to the big screen. Early Spiderman and X-men comics always had that soap opera feeling to' em, which made them perfect for the tube in my opinion. Didn' t know you were a Punisher fan. Realy liked Thomas Jane portraing him too, although the movie was crap. I think the problem with the Punisher is that he is some kind of loner and doesn' t have a good supporting cast. Garth Ennis tried to change that, but still, the one you think about first is microchip, an he was never a very deep character

    Ace

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    1. You bring up some valid points about the Punisher. He is lacking on supporting casts, but he is very much a loner in the comics.

      When I think of the Punisher translating to live action, I think of what my graphic design teacher once told me, "Keep it simple stupid." Yes, he seriously did say that.

      The Punisher, in his own solo feature, should just be a revenge story. You can add embellishments like his psychosis, but it should start off purely as a revenge story. Those involved with his family's murders are the targets. He is Jaws stalking the crew on board the vessel of the Orca, just in an urban setting and that can be drawn out.

      First, it would be to clip those mafia members responsible, and of course, the more he clips the more they come after him until finally Billy Russo is hired to assassinate him. Also, as this revenge plot furthers to completion during a possible TV series, there could be a wider conspiracy that the Punisher stumbles upon and learns of, which is pretty much what happens in all comics, of course.

      I see some great possibilities with the Punisher. Sure, there would complications, but there's a lot of sticking points for the character and his mythos...they would just have to fill in the gaps.

      Great point though Ace!

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  4. That' s true. Did that Punisher guy ever have any girlfriends you could name? Probably hard to bring in because of his origin. Still - one of the best covers of all time is his first appearance in A. S. Could only afford the german version of this one. Mayhem, do you know if the market is paying some money for foreign key issues like this?

    Triple A

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    1. There is a growing niche for foreign versions of comics. They were licensed to different foreign publishers back in the day. I am definitely sure they are under printed compared to the cents copy which makes sense since the U.S. market was and probably still is the biggest comic market.

      Yes, they are gaining steam in the market place. Hold onto that, don't think of it as junk. The rarity chasers are really turning their eyes towards Pence copies and foreign edition copies.

      As for the Punisher, I surely hope they don't introduce a female love interest. He doesn't need one. He is already too haunted by the ghosts of his wife an children.

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  5. i've been reading your blog for a little over a year now. first time i'm leaving a comment.

    the daredevil series was AWESOME! really really AWESOME!! they did a magnificent job all round.
    the acting was top notch. really. D'Onofrio simply was incredible. a MASTER ! what a great Kingpin.
    ALL the actors were fantastic.

    i can't wait for the other netflix series to come out, and nother Daredevil season!!

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    1. Awesome! Thanks for commenting and reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed the Daredevil series as much as I do. Can't wait to see how this plays out!

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  6. Speaking of the uniform, it's not as bad as his original red, yellow and black one from the comics.

    The Daredevil images in the opening credits is much more true to his "real" costume, so I was thinking maybe they planned to go more in that direction, eventually.

    Lots of little details referenced in the series that I liked: using the stun rod as a truncheon early on, the Elektra reference, the saw blades diagram on the counter (where he set the box with the DD uniform), Vanessa being in a coma (or at least unconscious for a while), he was attacked by a "ninja" (and the disbelief in his voice as he said it) and a few other things that I can't think of at the moment.

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