Series Review: Daredevil Season 1 (2015)

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Rating: 9/10

I was typically a fool failing to watch so Daredevil quickly and upon its release. I’ve seen Jessica Jones, and let me tell you, when that review is up you will see how much I absolutely loathed it. My biggest issue with Jessica Jones was that the story was boring, ill written and poorly executed. I was loathe to try yet another superhero series and convinced I wouldn’t enjoy it. Incidentally I started watching because rumor had it that Jon Bernthal is The Punisher and appears eventually in Daredevil. I am on a huge Bernthal binge so I need to watch everything he’s ever been in on risk my eternal happiness. So it came as a big and pleasant surprise to find myself enthralled. Daredevil is one of the meatiest shows out there, full of background information and scenes I would usually blast as filler nonsense. In here? It serves the overall feel of the show well as the early years of each character so deeply impacts them.

The directing of Daredevil is in strong hands. Everything has this tense feel, a sense of darkness that is perhaps an indication of Murdoch’s blindness or of the despondency of the city. I am unable to ignore even one episode’s opening sequence. So dark and heavy and vibey. I would like to know the person who thought of such an incredible opening sequence – one million times the wow.

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In one of the best castings in recent memory, Charlie Cox simply shines as Matthew Murdoch. I had no idea that he had such a well of emotions to pull from to bring such a complex character to life. I would never have cast him as Daredevil / MM. This character is so interesting and just the thing I’ve wanted from this Netflix superheroes series – a character with depth and layer. There is such goodness in this guy and the moral questions he faces. I love the flashbacks to him as a kid, I love how he seeks advice from his priest and how he struggles with the mere idea of killing someone. It is incredible how the show’s directors and writers shows how well Daredevil can see despite being blind. His vision is not based on eyesight and so much more powerful and astute than the rest of us.

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The unfairly gorgeous and talented Deborah Ann Woll has been previously best known for her role in True Blood. Karen is infinitely more interesting of the two characters I have seen Woll play. I enjoy how she grows and how her spine stiffens when she’s faced with injustice. Dare I hope that this character still has untapped potential and a well of insight to her past?

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Foggy!!!! Matthew’s best friend and law firm partner, this guy provides the majority of funny moments. His little crush on Karen makes me sad as it is becoming so clear that she’s otherwise interested. A man with such a loyal and good heart deserves the best. I’m not really saying Karen is giving him ideas, but I do think she needs to be more careful with him.

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There are a number of smaller characters I really enjoyed. I really liked Clare (Rosario Dawson). She was instrumental more than once keeping Matthew alive, and their relationship,Ben Uric, the crooked copper who had one of the finest fuck you attitudes I’ve ever seen on screen.

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Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk / Kingpin. It is so rare that a villain is developed well enough that you sympathize with him. Kingpin is insane. That car door scene was the big reveal to how unstable Kingpin is, and man, did they do a thorough job doing that. Every subsequent scene with him in is simply stolen by D’Onofrio, who delivers a career best performance. I am so invested in this character and interested in every morsel of information they feed us about him.D’Onofrio is good enough that I feel I should be rooting for Kingpin and celebrating that such a sad youth could turn into such astounding power. It is rare to see a villain have a love interest developed as a serious arc and have the villain become even more insane as a result.

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James, Kingpin’s assistant, is played by Toby Leonard Moore. He is shiny with just the right amount of sneer and slime to make you uncomfortable. SPOILER: Karen shooting James was one of the biggest plot developments. I really didn’t see that one coming. It is sad, I enjoyed his villainy so much. I would have also really liked to have seen why he and Fisk were so loyal to each other in a world where betrayal was constant.

Daredevil was good enough that I wasn’t frustrated by the long setup of events. I vaguely registered that the show seemed to nearly run in a one episode one dilemma format. It served overall to enhance the events that start crashing through after episode 5. There were a few fight scenes that got a bit drawn out but I appreciated the ninja flipping skills of Daredevil so much that I could get through it without irritation.

The final episode is jam packed with excitement and fight scenes. Wilson Fisk is a wily bastard, and his capture proves to be nearly impossible. I do think that his love interest will likely prove a formidable force in the next season. She was very unhappy with his eventual imprisonment. Dare I say we haven’t seen the last of these two morally questionable characters?

Have you seen Daredevil? What did you think?

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