Saturday, 11 April 2015

Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix


I thought I'd just make a return to the site that never sleeps (I mean posts), to say something about Daredevil, Marvel's first foray into the realm of Netflix, while it's still relevant.

Australia got Netflix about a week or so ago which means the country consistently getting outed as having the most people illegally downloading Game of Thrones, House of Cards and other insanely popular TV shows maybe won't do it as much? Unfortunately the Australian and New Zealand Netflix libraries are still relatively neutered because many existing shows rights are already held by local networks, but there's still going to be a drop pirating... right?



Anyway, I want to talk about Daredevil. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that when most of the non-comic reading public hears the word "Daredevil" they're going most likely going to think of the 2003 Ben Affleck movie. Holy shit, I just had to Google the release date for that one. 2003? It's that old I was thinking 2006 or something. Kids born around the time that came out are probably starting high school this year. Anyway. That movie was pretty awful in pretty much every way you can think of, bad casting, a complete mangling of the story line and a pretty woeful interpretation of the Daredevil costume. The only good thing I can remember from it is Colin Farell's GLORIOUS performance as Bullseye, Daredevil's nemesis. He was chewing scenery so hard a dentist must have been pulling bits of set out of his teeth for weeks. Somehow it spawned a spin-off of the painfully miscast Jennifer Garner as Elektra, but I'm going to unabashedly confess to not having seen that one.

Thankfully, the large amount of time between the Daredevil movie from 2003 and RIGHT NOW, means that Marvel who have been firing on all cylinders since the Iron Man movie, have got the rights off back off Fox, who clearly had no idea what to do with the property. Marvel, however, knew exactly what to do with the property. I'm six episodes in, and it's clear that they got it right.

I wouldn't say I'm a massive fan of Daredevil as a comic character, but I am definitely a fan. It's not even the concept that appeals to me, however the comic has had a series of absolutely excellent writers, specifically Frank Miller who really opened the door for writers like Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid to really do some knock out stuff with the character. Bendis's run is a particular favourite of mine, as he entrenched Matt Murdock (Daredevil's alter ego, which I really probably should have mentioned by now) in the very serious world of organised crime.

Thankfully it is elements from these ]writer's runs that they've really incorporated a lot of. Instead of his classic red costume (which I'm sure will show up in the last few minutes of the last episode), they've opted for his black makeshift costume from Frank Miller and John Romita Jr's 1993 origin miniseries The Man Without Fear. It makes sense, as the Netflix show is essentially Daredevil's first few months or maybe year as a vigilante. After six episodes the only real clear connection to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the damaged caused to Hell's Kitchen resulting from the alien invasion of New York in the Avengers movie, but this is okay, as it really does need to do it's own thing and it's a very street level story. The way it should be. The casting is pretty much perfect, Charlie Cox does a much better Murdock than Affleck (who I'm sure is going to make a great Bruce Wayne), but the real stand out to me is Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk (The Kingpin). I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but Michael Clarke Duncan never really got it. D'Onofrio plays the Kingpin with real menace, which in part stems from not only his masterful manipulation of everything behind the scenes, but the one moment when we observe his complete, childlike inability to control his emotions.

Terrifying. I want to write more, but I've also realised that indulging this stream of consciousness post is preventing me from watching the rest of the show. I suggest you do the same!

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