Wednesday Comments – In Praise of Marvel & Netflix’s Daredevil

What a great time to be alive. People will remember this era as the time a scarlet suited champion of justice, who was revitalized by Mark Waid conquered the small screen. But enough about The Flash, I’m here to talk about Daredevil.

I won’t pretend to be the biggest Daredevil fan. In fact I’m pretty sure the only Daredevil story I’ve ever read was “Born Again”, which admittedly is a pretty good one, but still it’s only one story.

Most of what I know about ol’ hornhead I learned from Tim Stevens. He’s maybe the biggest Daredevil fan in the world and via the magic of osmosis I have a greater appreciation for Daredevil.

When the series was announced I was pretty optimistic. While Marvel had yet to find success on television (the less said about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the better) they had and still have a very impressive record at the box office. And since prestige television lends itself more towards the cinematic end of the spectrum, I figured that in terms of maturity and scope, Daredevil would be worth watching.

Also the names attached to Daredevil filled me with hope. I’d yet to see Charlie Cox in a role that had disappointed me and seeing Vincent D’Onofrio practically in character at NYCC was a genuine treat.

Naturally I binged on the show the first day. I usually binge on Netflix originals, but this one being comic book related made me anticipate the launch all the more. Naturally I took breaks and stretched to keep the blood flowing. And when all was said and done, I sat thoroughly impressed.

There were a few things that stood out to me.

First is I was gratified to see a superhero adaption that varied in scope and tone of the story. I’ve long been advocating that movie adaptations find a way to tell stories that are scaled down from big budget, epic summer tent-poles. Telling a modestly budget detective Batman story could prove more profitable than a movie were the stakes are raised immensely.

And Daredevil sort of proved that. Not that there was a skimping on the budget, but that at least in terms of scale, it’s set, very reasonably in Hell’s Kitchen. The weight of the world or even the city don’t rest on Matt’s shoulders, only a neighborhood. It was very refreshing.

Also, the mature tone of Daredevil was great. No punches were pulled, both literally and in terms of language. It felt like a gritty crime show and sounded like one as well. It sounded like it was set in the world that it was set in, unlike say Agent Carter, which at times sounded painfully censored.

I was also impressed with pretty much every performance. For me, the standout was Toby Leonard Moore as James Wesley. I’d never seen Moore before, but found that he stole virtually every scene he was in. I’m really hoping that this role launches him onto bigger and better things.

I was joking about comparing Daredevil to The Flash in the opening of this piece, but in terms of my favorite comic book related program on at that moment, it really does boil down to those two. As much as I love The Flash as a character and enjoy the show, I’ve got to give the edge to Daredevil. The Flash does a great job of dealing with it’s limitations and not taking itself too seriously, but Daredevil succeeds because it lacks the limitations of network television. It stands on it’s own.

In fact the biggest strike against Daredevil is that it takes place in the same universe as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Well, that does it for this week. It’s Wednesday so go out and pick up some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,