Thursday, 29 September 2016

TBT - Daredevil Season 1 Episode 1

I realise I'm super far behind the times with getting around to this series but I'm nothing if not unusual. Friends have been telling me to watch this for ages but I just never did. Of course, after watching the fucking awesome Jessica Jones and being so close to Luke Cage day, it seemed like now was the perfect time to start it. I mean when it comes down to it the only thing that was really holding me back was the dreadful Daredevil film from 2003. You know the super shitty one Ben Affleck made before he became a worthwhile member of Hollywood. Yes, I know it's been a while but the memory still sticks. Get over it, you cry. I understand. It's a silly thing to be so upset about but there was no need for it to be quite so bad. Of course, it's going to look extra silly next to the films of the Golden Age of Marvel but even back then it was fucking embarrassing. Now I'm not trying to claim I'm the biggest of Daredevil fans but there always seemed to be so much potential there. I mean he's blind for fuck's sake. A blind superhero. How can any mess that up? So, even though I knew the odds for the Netflix series were good I couldn't help but have my doubts.

Obviously, now I've watched the first couple of episodes I realise how stupid I was. Daredevil is absolutely amazing. It's gritty, dark and highly relevant. I realise Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are going down a similar route but this really took a massive step away from the Marvel we're used to. Even Agents of Shield didn't go this far away from the films we were used to. This is Marvel having their Christopher Nolan moment. Once you take away the inherent "super" element that comes with the territory, Daredevil is very real. It doesn't deal with a superhero making a stand against some crazy, evil force. It's about a man who is taking a stand against the awful things going on his city. It's real people doing the kind of things awful real people tend to do. It's great.

The first episode is, by the nature of an opening episode, it kind of tame and very introductory. We have the expected origin story of Matt Murdock and the moment a young boy lost his sight. It's clear Matt was a hero from the start as he got into his accident saving a man from an oncoming car. As he grows up Matt turns to the law to dole out social justice during daylight hours before donning a black mask and doling out much more violent justice once the sun has gone down. We see the public face of Matt and his secret identity. The way he uses one to help the other.

Throughout the first episode we see flashbacks to Matt's childhood with his father, boxer Jack Murdock. Jack is the reason Matt can fight and the reason he took the path of cleaning the streets. These flashbacks are handled really well and fit well within the main story. Normally I'm against this kind of cheap narrative trick but it's handled so well that I didn't even flinch. Hell, I'm also kind of hoping for a spin-off that shows more of Matt's life with Jack. They're a good team. Still, like every good hero Matt needed a reason to take up the mask and it is only through Jack's death that Daredevil can be born.

Still, we have a bit of a way to go yet. For now he's just a nameless vigilante targeting a gang of human traffickers. The opening fight scene is absolutely remarkable. The way they handle the fight scenes and Daredevil's enhanced senses. It's also nowhere near as bloody as I was expecting. The way my manager described it when it first came out I was thinking it would be more like Quentin Tarantino. Of course, in an age where Deadpool is redefining superheroes, this is rather tame.

The greatest thing about Marvel teaming up with Netflix is getting more freedom. Agents of Shield suffered because it had to fit the regulations. There is more scope here and greater room to have fun. This series is amazingly well made and superbly cast. It's no wonder there are so many great Marvel series coming to Netflix in the near future. This is the one that gave us Jessica Jones. It set the trend. I hate to admit that I was wrong about this but I really wish I'd started this sooner.

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