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Timeline / 13 Apr, 2015

How Daredevil Cured My Fear Of Superhero Shows

daredevil netflix

This has been an emotionally draining Monday.

After an exhaustive binge on the leaked Game of Thrones episodes and the new Daredevil series from Netflix; having gone into the latter with a helpful serving of skepticism that every comic book fan should keep handy, I sat through a few episodes this weekend and was surprised by just how much more intriguing Marvel’s Daredevil turned out to be compared to the latest main-character-killfest from George R.R. Martin.

Packing Punches

Like the titular hero, I found myself pushing the limits of taking an (emotional) beating that no TV show of this kind has the right or means to deliver. Having dwelled on the experience long enough, I can pen down a few noted distinctions and achievements in the MCU-Netflix debutant after a day of fascinated preoccupation with The Man Without Fear.

If you haven’t yet indulged in Netflix’s take on the Marvel superhero then you’re missing out on what is probably the most refreshing new show on TV right now.

marvels daredevil

It’s no shocker that a show of such convictions arguably could only have been possible on Netflix, of all places.

A Bold Take On The MCU

Daredevil  lives true to its name and has thrashed and thrown out fans’ phobias of network studios cheesing/hamming up elaborate comic book adaptations over and over again. Throughout the viewing my attention span was divided and switching between its entertainment value and a recurring appreciation for the uncompromising grit and brutality that the show uses to the fullest advantage to develop an engrossing story.  It’s no shocker that a show of such convictions arguably could only have been possible on Netflix, of all places.

The Good Stuff, Minus Network Exec Bullshit

There’s no signs of any forced demands for relationship drama that The CW executives probably love to shoehorn in every one of their shows’ scripts, nor any beating around the bush aimlessly like Fox network’s pointless exercise in Gotham. Daredevil has made superheroes relatable to me for the first time in many years. This is the story of a normal man without billions in the bank or any superpowers to his name (aside from having really, really good hearing). They even go as far as joking about it in the sript:

“I’d understand if he had an Iron Suit or a Magic Hammer… Maybe…”

Above And Beyond TV Production Values

It probably would be a very ordinary show if not for the excellent synergy of the writing, acting, cinematography and even the choreography (Daredevil, dare I say, has the best fight scenes ever filmed for a TV show). While other superhero shows seek appeal via spectacle, Daredevil earns it through distinction.

Pushing Superhero TV Shows Forward

Let me elaborate why I’m making such a big deal about such a small thing as having an ordinary superhero. Take for example Smallville… It was probably the best superhero TV series any comic book fan had for a while. And it squandered away all its potential by never really growing out of the shell it created from day one. The first season showed a confused Clark Kent battling with the everyday chaos of teenage life paired with the inner turmoil of being an outcast with a hero complex.

smallville

This goes on for ten seasons.

Things fared a little better with The CW’s Arrow, but it still didn’t grip my imagination like the comics and animated treatments had done. I found myself groaning at the amount of screentime given to #relationshipproblems and pointless support characters. The heroes and villains always two dimensional and predictable in their developments. You can make a drinking game out of the number of times they try to impose the ‘I used to be a rich badboy but now I’ve changed’ angle. It is a game of arrested-character-development.

arrow

Daredevil is uniquely positioned to avoid the worries of mass appeal or the limited screentime availability that other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are facing. The gritty and grounded realism is reflected in every aspect of the show right down to the fight choreography as proven by a particular fight scene done in a single take.

That Scene

What is spectacular about this scene isn’t the single take or the brilliant stunt work… But rather the careful direction imposing the very same realism that is evident in the story itself. You see Matt Murdock run out of breath and lean against walls after a draining showdown against a group of baddies. Unlike typical comic book movies and shows, the bad guys don’t go down in single punches either (one-hit KOs are a pet peeve of mine). They keep getting back up and deal some serious damage to our suicidal hero.

Never before has the entire spirit of a show been so spectacularly captured in a single scene expressed solely through brutal physical violence.

I’ll take some more time with the series before delving into other characters, villains and how it deals with tropes. But for now, Daredevil stands very high on my list of recommendations if you’re looking for schizophrenic mix of imaginative storytelling with a violent yet grounded execution.

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  • Cyborg6971

    If arrow or flash were given the budget and be on Netflix daredevil wouldn’t stand out as much as it does.

    • steyn gun

      I don’t agree, its not just about the budget its about the story and the character too. Daredevil has a rich story as compared to Green Arrow. CW did an awesome job bringing Arrow the way they did on screen but even if they had the budget they still couldn’t get to the level of Daredevil.

      Flash on the other hand is on Par with DD and its because Flash/Barry has a rich storyline in the comics which the writers can adopt.

      • Cyborg6971

        So you’re saying green arrow, who had been around since the forties didn’t have a rich history to draw on? All I want to see is the van dyke and got him to be called green arrow. If that show was on any other channel than the cw it would be just as rich.

    • Ben S.

      I disagree. I think Arrow becomes predictable. An example is how they tackle romantic storylines in the series. DD had the gall to give Fisk a happy ending (relationship-wise) while Matt’s relationship with Claire goes up in smoke before it starts. I think the way they handled it was realistic and at the same time incredibly frustrating to watch for the audience because you want them to get together. There’s a lot of subtleties in DD that I just don’t find in Arrow. It also helps that you have an impeccable cast of actors bringing their A game. I always knew D’Onofrio would do well (having seen him in the Cell) but Charlie Cox was a surprise (so good in the role).

  • Obed

    Lmao. Okay guy. You’re telling me that the scene that has been praised by many (like Patton Oswalt and Kevin Smith) for being done in a single take, is more important because it’s relatable? Realism? Are we both watching the same show about a boy who gets hit with chemicals in his eyes, blinded and trained by an old ninja man by the name of Stick?

    Please. I read your article, and while I do agree with some stuff, (like the whole forced relationship drama) I couldn’t even read this with a straight face. Comic books have always been about escapism, and while I’m glad that many can relate to characters, and hope to aspire to be like them, I’m pretty sure most refer to the honesty, bravery and the unshakable will of these characters to do the right thing.

    If you were saying that you could relate to Ben Urich, a man who was a journalist, and trying desperately to write stories that were honest, or Sgt. Brett Mahoney a cop trying to stay clean in a precinct full of dirty cops, or hell, even Father Lantom, then yes, I would agree that these are relatable characters who one could easily identify with.

    However, Matt Murdock is wish fulfillment. An extremely attractive Caucasian male, with blue eyes, with an incredible physique who has enhanced senses to the point of having echolocation. Please tell me how many blind crime fighters you know? I’d like to live in that city.

    Daredevil was good because it had good story, great dialogue, and wasn’t forced with tons of screen time towards choosing his love interest or his heroics. It was straight up, a hero doing hero things.

    • steyn gun

      “It was straight up, a hero doing hero things.”

      I couldn’t agree more. But I guess what the writer is trying to say is that the have kept DareDevil’s character more believable. For e.g. he gets tired after a day long struggle to save that boy in episode. He reaches a point where he can’t even land a single punch. I believe this is what made this show great along with what you have pointed out in your comment.

    • Harris Sid

      >You’re telling me that the scene that has been praised by many for being done in a single take, is more important because it’s relatable?
      Unlike typical fights in MCU movies/shows, the fight adds to the character. Within a minute you see him beginning to pant. He leans up against walls in exhaustion. He even loses his situational awareness for a second and takes serious punishment from behind near the end. It all sets up and adds to the story that Daredevil is merely coming to grips with the job he has taken up… And that this guy isn’t backed by million-dollar gadgets and batmobiles nor does he have a supersuit that fires rockets. You could take away the costume, the blindness and the comic book origins and this would still be just as intriguing a story.

      And you can simply not argue against the show being a lot more believable compared to other Marvel/DC productions. The characters behave and respond like real people would instead of creating emotional drama for the sake of plot threads… And you have a hero who is cool because he has “gifts” and actually makes a 1-vs-4 man fight believable.

      Iron Man taking on 30 baddies is boring. Daredevil vs less than half a dozen goons, and things get interesting.

      • Obed

        This isn’t worth discussing anymore. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but you keep driving the point that Dardevil is relatable, has realism and is believable, and that’s simply not true.

        Regardless, Daredevil is a good show.

  • Emme

    If there is only one new Netflix show you watch, better make it Dardevil

    • Well there’s House of Cards too you know…

  • drifter77

    The fight scene in the corridor was my fav in the entire season.

    • Harlequin5891

      That really was epic. You should also watch the Fightscene in Kingsmen: The Secret Service if you liked that kind of fight choreography.

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