“Daredevil” on Netflix represents something new for the superhero genre

daredevil netflix
This past Friday, Netflix released Marvel’s latest superhero outing…a dark and gritty interpretation of Daredevil, specifically a 13 episode block that functions as season one of a new television series. Though possibly not binged on with the same fervor as House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, Daredevil I’m sure was hotly anticipated by many and really seems to have satisfied. It’s a bold new step for all parties involved, if for different reasons on each side. Most importantly though, it’s a quality show, so fans of superhero movies, the new wave of superheroes on the small screen, and those who admire the Netflix model can all count this as a victory. Of course, so can Marvel, who continues to have an essentially unblemished record with their output.

For those blind (no pun intended) to this hero, Daredevil is a comic book character/superhero from Marvel who is a blind attorney named Matt Murdoch by day and a masked vigilante at night. Murdoch becomes Daredevil and keeps the streets of Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan safe from crime. He does this while keeping his partner at the law firm Foggy Nelson in the dark, but his actions do come to the attention of Wilson Fisk, the notorious crime lord known as The Kingpin. There’s more to it, of course, but that’s best left for you to find out by actually watching the show. Charlie Cox is the title character, while supporting players include Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Rosario Dawson, Elden Henson, Bob Gunton, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Scott Glenn, Domenick Lombardozzi, John Patrick Hayden, Phyllis Somerville, and many more over the course of the 13 episodes that constitute this season. Filmmaker Drew Goddard is the initial shepherd of the show (Steven S. DeKnight took over afterwards), writing the first two episodes and giving it a true cinematic flourish.

The main success here is that Cox and company are quite good in their roles, keeping this on the Marvel cinematic level while going forward with things the movies would never even dream of (as you’ll see below). Between Cox, D’Onofrio, and the pre-production leadership of Goddard, this is top notch entertainment. The cast skews slightly older, which is rare and a welcome sight (again, no pun intended), I must say. Had this been a film, a ton of concessions would have had to have been made, so while I have no doubt that Marvel could have made a successful flick with the Daredevil character, and still might going forward, this is a notable victory for the company. Down the road, they may have to do a reboot or something of the sort a bit sooner than usual, but I don’t think anyone especially minds, all things considered.

What separates this from other superhero outings on the small screen is that it’s actually intended for adults. This is a mature audience type of offering, with blood, hardcore violence, and even partial nudity. It’s not quite on the premium channel level, but it’s far more than anything else on TV of this nature would even think about attempting. It’s bold and dark, closer to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy or even Watchmen than most of what Marvel has attempted so far. For that, I certainly salute it. Going that extra mile helps to make all of the difference, as you might suspect. Goddard and DeKnight get a nice little pat on the back for keeping that factor in their minds as they each ran the show.

Basically, Daredevil is just supremely effective entertainment, dark and sometimes brooding, but also more than a little bit fun. I’m curious where season two goes from here, though I know at some point the other Netflix superhero shows that are on the way will merge with it into a small screen version of The Avengers, essentially. Aside from that, the possibilities are almost endless. If you’re not watching Daredevil, you’re missing out. If you love superheroes, this is a must see. Even if you don’t, I think it has way more to offer than you’d expect. Try it, you’ll most likely be pleasantly surprised. It’s more or less got something to offer for everyone who tunes in/binges on it…

Be sure to check out Daredevil, streaming now on Netflix!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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