You may remember the intial thoughts we shared about Daredevil back when Netflix first dropped the series into all of our greedy, greedy hands in April. And though I plowed through the remaining episodes pretty quickly, I have let the series percolate before writing my thoughts on the remainder of the series, in part, because I wanted to savor and rest on the goodness of the show. But now I’m ready to share my thoughts on the second half of Daredevil.[divider]Thoughts on the Second Half of Daredevil[/divider]
The show kept its dark tone. Marvel has done a magnificent job handling the superheroes and the jokes in their movies. But Daredevil is and should be different. He is a street level fighter. He will be a part of a Defender team that won’t ever be able to fight with Thanos. And to do that well, Daredevil needed to be darker.
Now, had they been DC, they would have hired Zack Snyder and he would have used filters, taken out all the jokes and tried really, really hard to make us feel all dark and depressed. (See: any current DC superhero movie. I mean, seriously, do they just keep hiring him because he makes budget? I don’t get it.)
Daredevil the series managed to set that pace and tone without relying on “the magic of movies.” They did it with gritty storytelling! And real consequences. Daredevil’s wounds matter and have consequences in a way that we haven’t seen much in the superhero genre.
The slow roll origin tale(s). A while back, I wrote how we don’t need another origin tale. (I am not just looking at you Spider-Man; I am staring you down and threatening you with my deeply intense focused eyes.) But it turns out, you can still do a solid origin tale if you do it well.
The series Daredevil didn’t just give us the Matt Murdock gets powers and a suit story; it also gave us a beautiful origin story of his foil, Wilson Fisk. The way they slow played those cards, giving each a truly moving origin episode in a way that fit the layout of the season was genius.
The cast. I stand by what I said at the beginning: the casting was great. I have read reviews that are snarky about Foggy and I want to remind them that they are talking about Fulton Reed. I want to live in a world where one of the Bash Brothers of the Mighty Ducks can go to college and become a lawyer in the slums of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. (Please, give us more stunt casting from the Mighty Ducks franchise!)
And Karen Page is brilliant but as a reader of the comic, I am terrified where she is headed. (SPOILER: It isn’t good. At all.)
Kingpin. In the Marvel comics, Kingpin was this goofy Sumo wrestler white dude that was a Spider-man villain, co-opted to be Daredevil’s nemesis. And he is great. While there are some occasional hints about his humanity (the relationship with Vanessa is lifted to some degree from the comics), there isn’t nearly the depth there that the show brings about.
By making Murdock and Fisk essentially the opposite sides of the same coin, which wants to be spent saving Hell’s Kitchen, it establishes a depth that makes the show much better. I will say, and this is nearly impossible to make work in a non-comic or cartoon way, Sumo Fisk is missed. (In one of the last fights, I honestly was more “Daredevil is beating up a fat white guy” than I was “This is an epic battle of equal foes.”)
Nelson and Murdock. One of the keys to this season was that Foggy had to come into the circle of trust about Matt’s secret. And I thought his reaction and issues stemming from it felt very genuine. What would you do if your best friend in the world had been lying to you? The tension from that was well done, well played and resolving, not fully resolved.
All in all, the Netflx series Daredevil is a great watch and an important piece in the current superhero stories. Can they carry this tone into the other upcoming street level series? It seems likely if they are willing to bend (but not break) some superhero tropes from the movies in favor of great, dark storytelling.
What did you think about Daredevil? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’ve enjoyed Nerds on Earth, please help us spread the word by sharing this post using the social media buttons below. Thanks for reading.