Thematically, "Daredevil" captures every gritty, grimy nuance of the Frank Miller run on the Daredevil comic book that began in 1979 and lasted through the early 80s. Hell’s Kitchen hasn’t been this raw in decades. This is the grime that every Batman offering has been missing, the dark and shadowy world that Arrow only plays at. This is the beginning of what just might be the greatest comic book-based television series of all time.
Daredevil jumps into action in the very first episode and it’s a non-stop bareknuckle brawl fest the way up through episode five, which largely focuses on The Kingpin’s romantic interest. However, within a few episodes he is revealed to be the strong armed goon from the wrong side of the tracks that he really is rather than the upscale businessman that he likes to pretend to be. He is gangster in the best and worst senses of the word.
The manner in which the multiple writers manifest Daredevil’s heightened senses are also very cleverly executed. Just as in the comic book, Daredevil doesn’t survive his many encounters unscathed. However, he takes more than his fair share of flesh from whomever tries to dispatch him. Also, there are many flashbacks intertwined through these first four episodes as well in which the lead character reminisces on life lessons through the eyes of a young Matt Murdock and his pugilistic father Jack Murdock (John Patrick Hayden). This provides some insight into the older Matt Murdock’s motivations and personal temperament. There are also circumstances used throughout the series that are analogous to actual boxing situations.
Marvel’s Daredevil series on Netflix is the most perfect rendition of a comic book that I have ever seen on any screen of any kind. In the past, it was always possible to spot and dissect flaws for most superhero movies. Eventually I simply came to believe that it was impossible to create any cinematic or small screen offering that could match its comic book counterpart.
But Daredevil has succeeded in accomplishing the impossible. Every aspect that I have been able to spot in this offering has been flawless. The casting is flawless, the writing is flawless, the fight choreography is flawless and it is thematically flawless as well. Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and every onscreen nuance about the character is exactly as it was in the comic book. His intelligent and competent litigation abilities, stern yet unassumingly handsomeness, self-sacrificing conscientiousness and staunch Catholic faith are all amazing to behold, and are spot-on.
Elden Henson is well cast as Matt Murdock’s best friend and business partner Foggy Nelson and comic book love interest Karen Page manifests perfectly through actress Deborah Ann Woll. Man, there are so many wonderful acting jobs in this series that I cannot hope to mention them all. But I must give a special shout out to Rosario Dawson for her portrayal of Claire Temple, who will eventually become White Tiger, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s brilliant portrayal of the cultured, romantic and psychopathically brutal Kingpin. Whoever can’t get with Vincent’s Kingpin is just asking for too damn much. Quite simply, he is a straight up mack!
Well, done Marvel, well done Netflix, well done to the entire cast of Daredevil. The Shadow League gives the Netflix series Marvel’s Daredevil a perfect A+. It’s that rough, rugged and raw realness that has gone unmatched by any other comic book television offering. It’s the streets done the Marvel way, and that way ain’t bad at all.