Marvel’s Daredevil

Carlos Villamayor, Editor in Chief

Marvel, not content with having us counting the days for Avengers: Age of Ultron, has taken Netflix by storm with Daredevil, the first Netflix original series taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), to the public and the critics’ acclaim.

The story takes place in New York City, as New Yorkers struggle with the aftermath of the events from The Avengers (2012), and follows Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer living in Hell’s Kitchen with superhuman senses who decides there are things the law cannot handle.

Daredevil, which premiered on April 10, takes full advantage of the liberties of the on-demand streaming format. Its world is noticeably darker and more violent than it has been in other, more family-friendly titles in the MCU, like Iron Man and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).

The series runs for 13 episodes and at times feels just like a long movie, but 13 episodes is more than enough to tell the compelling origin story of a superhero going up against criminal masterminds with wicked plans for his city.

The delight of Daredevil—a delight that often consists of leaving viewers in distress—is seeing a small group of people going all-in against what seems like a relentless wave of evil. The powerful contrasts within its world and its characters are what make Daredevil so captivating.

Early in the series we cannot help but despair as we see a montage of the all the misery and horror happening in Hell’s Kitchen; and yet, despite all this—or more precisely because all of this—, the actions and difficulties faced by Murdock and his allies feel all the more heroic and precious to us.

Not that they are flawless, nothing further from the truth. Daredevil’s doubts over the righteousness of his actions and motives are present the very beginning and throughout the series. The inner dilemma comes especially clear in the scenes between Murdock and Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie), a Catholic priest.

Nevertheless, the darker the darkness of the series, the lighter the light. As we see just how despicable the villains can be, Daredevil’s actions become increasingly noble and cathartic.

Wilson Fisk, the main villain here, is played perfectly by Vincent D’Onofrio, who adds a physicality that few actors could match. Fisk is a formidable character whose motivations keep viewers guessing and whose humanity is as much explored as Daredevil’s. Do not be surprised if you find yourself feeling empathy for Fisk during some episodes.
As people have pointed out, the series does for the titular character and for Marvel’s Netflix series what Iron Man (2008) did for Marvel’s movies, grounding Daredevil in reality and as part of a bigger, complex universe.

Daredevil is the first of five planned Marvel-Netflix series, and the only one about a somewhat mainstream character. But if this is any indication, the following series won’t disappoint.