- Published Date
- by Loron Hays
The opening sequence. Pulsing music surges. An unnamed red liquid drizzles out over the darkness. Our lady of justice is formed, bathed by this crimson element. Familiar cityscapes are covered, too. New York City. A bridge forms. Following it, an angel and its church. And then, the final part, a horned profile take shape, it is a man also bathed in crimson. It is Daredevil - in full costume – and this part of the city is under his watch. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever picture something so violently haunting and, yet, altogether so beautiful for Daredevil.
With that opening sequence, the partnership between Marvel and Netflix is off to one hell of a successful start. Daredevil, otherwise known as The Man Without Fear, is EXACTLY what its fans hoped it would be. Cornering the gritty underworld of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the 13 hour-long episodes in the inaugural season (of a blind crime fighter who isn’t afraid to get its hands bloodied or bruised) is a grit-filled victory at last for the beloved character. Developed by Drew Goddard (director of The Cabin in the Woods), the lawyer by day, crime fighter by night hero won’t be going toe-to-toe with intergalactic foes anytime soon; his beat is the street and New York City's Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood is one of the deadliest areas to protect. Keep in mind, this costumed badass chose that area to guard.
The show opens in a way that positions it to absolutely transcend the comic book genre. While connecting audiences with some of the characters in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daredevil manages to get the balance right in this rather adult world. The focus of humanity is highlighted as blind lawyer/vigilante Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and his longtime pal Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) work the late night hours trying to get their newly established law firm off the ground. The city of New York is still recovering from the devastation chronicled in 2012’s The Avengers but that hasn’t slowed the human traffickers and drug dealers. Nor has it put a dent in the plans of crime lord Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), who has a master plan for the city that seems to benefit from the chaos created in the wake of the initial battle between Earth's Mightiest Heroes and an extraterrestrial race known as the Chitauri.
Co-starring Elden Henson, Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, Rosario Dawson, and Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, the series tackles Murdoch’s past and development of his abilities with slow, deliberate arcs that match dramatic character building as alliances are forged and tested. There is no hurry to the series and, yet, each one satisfies on so many levels. Binge-watching and making this a 13-hour movie is soooo easy and soooo delicious. The characters of Daredevil line in a city corrupted by a sudden influx of crime and power-mad villains, who see opportunity in the misfortune of so many people. Who watches over them when our eyes are turned toward the sky? Enter Matt Murdock as he confronts The Owl, Kingpin, and a host of other villainy.
The series is the first of the ordered Netflix series, and will be followed by Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Marvel's Luke Cage, and Marvel's Iron Fist, before leading into the miniseries, Marvel's The Defenders. It was important for Goddard and showrunner Steven S. DeKnight to get this series right. Tonally, Daredevil is much darker and racier than we’ve previously seen in the MCU. Yet, it is still a part of the massive world building Marvel Studios is orchestrating and its successes make you completely forget about the massive disappointment that was Mark Steven Johnson’s film, starring a very misguided Ben Affleck. Marvel and Netflix manage to tonally and viscerally match the past Daredevil scribes (Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli to Kevin Smith and Ed Brubaker) with the television format and produce enertainment larger than the screen itself.
While another season of Daredevil is uncertain at the writing of this article, fans of Marvel and of the character have so much to celebrate with this series. The character and Cox’s performance both in and out of the suit are definitely hammered down. As a fan of the comic, I have no complaints with how Cox has transformed the character into a living and breathing entity. The fight scenes, key to the series, and the bone-breaking sound effects are seriously garrulous, recalling both Old Boy choreography and situations found inside The Raid. Everything - from the old-school danger to the modern storytelling technique - comes together and is elegantly beaten to a bloody pulp that is a must-see.
From the hypnotizing opening title sequence to the final frame of the thirteenth episode (written and directed by DeKnight), rough justice finally gets served in Hell’s Kitchen.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 60 minute episodes
Creator: Drew Goddard
Cast: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson
Genre: TV | Sci-fi | Fantasy
Tagline: A Netflix Original Series.
Release Date: April 10, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: November 8, 2016
Synopsis: A blind lawyer with his other senses superhumanly enhanced fights crime as a costumed superhero.
Home Video Distributor: Disney / Buena Vista
Available on Blu-ray - November 8, 2016
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH, German
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); German: DTS-HD HR 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Four-disc set
Region Encoding: Region-free playback
Paramount Studios and Netflix have finally released the first season of Marvel Studios’ excellent handling of Daredevil on blu-ray. With striking visuals and that HD sheen, no fan should be without this show in their collection. Colors – while never bright (by choice) – are fantastically rendered here. Black levels are solid and deep and practically explode with depth and range. This is important. Reds are also deep and skin tones are solid. The city crackles with a vibrancy that is not usually seen. Daredevil is presented in 1080p with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround.
What the fuck, people? What. The. Fuck. This is a total disappointment. There is nothing. No special features of ANY kind. No development talk. Nothing. No casting information. None. Whoever is to blame for this horseshit – probably ABC – can take a long walk off a short pier. But, hey, at least is now available for everyone to see.