TV Review - Marvel's Daredevil, Season 1

The man without fear.

Daredevil (Season One) is a 2015 superhero TV season created by Drew Goddard and distributed by Disney Platform Distribution. It is based off of various Daredevil comics by Marvel Comics. The show stars Charlie Cox and Vincent D'Onofrio. It is currently streaming on Disney+. This is the first season in the Marvel Street TV shows. It was followed by Jessica Jones (Season One) and Daredevil (Season Two).


"I'm not seeking penance for what I've done, Father. I'm asking for forgiveness for what I'm about to do." - Daredevil

Plot


Blind lawyer Matt Murdock is a superhero by night. Slowly cleaning up the city one criminal at a time, Murdock faces his greatest challenge yet when the Kingpin himself, Wilson Fisk, attempts to fix Hell's Kitchen by tearing it apart and building a new city under his rule.


The Sweet


Daredevil truly is one of the best MCU projects.


What makes this show so awesome is that it's disconnected from the MCU. Originally, these shows, like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, were on Netflix. They were produced by Netflix. They weren't owned by Disney. They take place in the MCU. The Avengers and other characters are referenced, but it feels like a very different corner of the franchise that creates it's own tone. It's violent. There's language. There's sex. It's not kid-friendly. And I love that.


I also love the characters here. Not all of them. But our main characters are fantastic. The Dark Knight perfected Batman and Joker. Spider-Man perfected Spider-Man and Green Goblin. Smallville perfected Superman and Lex Luthor. And Daredevil perfects Daredevil and Kingpin. Charlie Cox gives a great performance. He's meek and gentle but also clearly has this anger that he lets out when he puts on the mask. I bought his American accent. And I never doubted his blindness for a second.


But Kingpin...man, he's great. His return was one of the more underwhelming things about the Hawkeye finale. This character is terrifying because of how powerful he is. They spend a lot of time building out how powerful he is. They show us how much of the police force and media he owns. They make us understand that Hell's Kitchen is owned by Kingpin. And Vincent D'Onofrio lets it all out here. It took me a second to latch on to him, but after he crushes someone's head with a car door, I was in. When he lets out the angry, unhinged side of Wilson Fisk...he's one of the scariest villains in the MCU.


The show also benefits from some absolutely fantastic direction. Most of the episodes have different directors, but they all do an amazing job of showing the darkness and scariness of Hell's Kitchen. There are scenes in this show that play out like scenes from a horror movie. They show us Daredevil as this symbol of fear and crime, which contributes to his character arc. They make us understand why all of these characters are in all of these positions. They make us understand each of their worldview really well. And the directors are great at building tension in each episode. It's great.


The show also builds up this story and this conflict that just pays off in such a satisfying way in those last few episodes. Scenes that happen in the fourth episode that seem unimportant come back in the tenth episode in a shocking way. The screenwriting for this show is just so genius. Every single thing that happens matters. Which is just masterful storytelling.


I also love the use of flashbacks in Daredevil. They use flashbacks better than any movie or show I've ever seen. They know when to place them. They know how to keep them short and sweet. They contribute to the story and develop our characters while also being compelling in and of themselves. It's these little things that turn Daredevil from a good show to a great show.


The Sour


My biggest complaint for this season of Daredevil is Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. I felt like the two of them were forced into the show. I really didn't like either of them in the first half of the season. After episode ten, I started to like Foggy. But I still don't really like Karen. I don't find either of these characters particularly compelling. Foggy constantly comes off as annoying and unlikable. And Karen...I don't really get her deal. She all the sudden becomes best friends with Matt and Foggy, which I just don't buy into. And I find Deborah Ann Woll's performance to be one of the weaker ones in the show. They really weigh down the show at points.


Along those same lines, Foggy and Karen have a subplot that involves them trying to track down Fisk through the legal system that I find just as tedious and not compelling as their characters. It can get confusing at points. They use a lot of legal jargon that doesn't really make sense to me. It can be hard to keep track of everything they are talking about, so this subplot just got muddled and confusing for me.


I think the pace of the season is a little bit rocky. There are times where I simply wasn't excited or motivated to watch another episode. Now, mind you, I binged the last four or five episodes straight. That was a fabulous run of episodes. But the first half of the season is really slow, and it can feel repetitive at points. The first eight episodes feel like they can all be summarized in this one sentence: Daredevil runs around the city catching bad guys and trying to get information on Fisk while Fisk continues to be evil and dangerous.


Finally, I feel like there were some minor issues that they could've tweaked really easily. I can't name anything specific, but every episode there seemed to be a bad line or a lazy solution to something. For a show that is written so well and a story that is told in such a great way, it felt like they really just needed to sand off the edges to elevate this season to the next level. And it feels like they didn't really do that.


Final Score


The first season of Daredevil is a thrilling, dark, violent, and awesome show that establishes a different tone from the MCU while also being one of Marvel's best projects of the last twenty years.


I will go Sweet here. Age range is 13+.


SWEET N' SOUR SCALE

Sweet (Great) Savory (Good)

Sour (Bad)

Moldy (Terrible)


"Daredevil"


Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Story: 9/10

Characters: 9/10

Quality: 8.5/10


Created by Drew Goddard


Rated TV-MA for strong bloody violence, moderate language, suggestive content, thematic elements


Premiered on April 10, 2015


Episode runtime: 54 minutes


Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil

Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk / Kingpin

Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page

Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson

Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich

Ayelet Zurer as Vanessa Marianna

Bob Gunton as Leland Owlsley

Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao

Nikolai Nikolaeff as Vladimir Ranskahov

Daryl Edwards as Detective Hoffman

Scott Glenn as Stick

John Patrick Hayden as Jack Murdock