Daredevil-1940x1091

There will be spoilers in this review. Duh.

I can already tell it is going to be difficult to watch this show without wanting to keysmash all the time. If you read my Daredevil Spotlight, you’d know that I love Matt Murdock. He’s one of my favorites, and I had high expectations of this show. Mostly because Netflix always has quality programming, and also because I trust Marvel to represent him well. And they did not disappoint in the least. The qualities that I wrote about in that article are all here: For one, Matt’s street fighting skills. It’s very different from the superheroes we typically see in the MCU. It’s maybe closer to Black Widow or Hawkeye, but he has a particular kind of grace and agility that goes beyond that. I’ve always said that Arrow has fantastic fight choreography, and it does, but this really is a few steps above. Matt being an inspiring person is also here. He’s fought through adversity, which you see right away, and he has a strong sense of justice despite tiptoeing the legal line. I love the concept of him having a devil inside of him; it’s an insight into how he views himself and what inner demons he fights against. This is the very early days of him being a vigilante, so he’s still learning, and he’s making mistakes left and right. That’s why I don’t mind the black costume at all; he’s going to get to the red, people, relax. This is just a very long origin story. But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is Daredevil. Insert keysmashing here.

It starts out with us seeing Matt’s accident, and that he lost his sight after saving a man’s life. It’s painful to watch him scream he can’t see, and then him in the confessional telling the father he was about to do something worth forgiving. Matt’s off and on Catholicism (and crisis of faith) is a regular thing in the comics, so it’s nice seeing it here. I like that they take it slow with this pilot in order to set the scene of this world.And I have to say here: incredible opening sequence. Wow. It’s a view of gritty New York, the Scales of Justice, and the devil himself, all dripping with red that appears to be blood-like. Beautiful.  Matt beats up a bunch of Russians who are selling women for trafficking, using his incredible super powers in order to do it. I like that they don’t explain what he does at all; we just watch what he does for ourselves. So right away we meet Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), and his law partner and BFF Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). Foggy’s the comic relief, but it’s clear he also has a good heart and there’s more practicality to him in a way. Matt wants innocent clients, or people they can believe in, and Foggy just wants their practice to start. They’re brand new, having only finished the bar and gotten their own office. Enter Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a woman in desperate need of their help. She’s found covered in blood with a knife in her hands, sitting over the body of her dead coworker. They hear about her from a cop friend, and decide to take her case on after Matt is certain she tells the truth. He can read heartbeats and knows when people are lying. He insists they take the case even if she can’t pay.

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Karen found proof that her boss, a powerful conglomerate, seemed into fishy business. Some kind of embezzling scheme. It goes much deeper than that, which she has no way of knowing, but clearly whoever is behind it is out for blood. One of the cops is paid off to attempt to murder Karen in her cell, but she survives. This means the cops have to let her go now that Matt and Foggy are putting on the pressure, and she stays with Matt. We learn a little more about his personal life and they bond. He points out that there are flaws in her story, like why they tried to kill her after she was already perfectly taking the fall for the murder. And why she wasn’t charged, or why she was framed at all instead of taken out. It’s because she still has information, but she lies to Matt and says she didn’t. I’m not entirely sure why she did that, since it would perhaps help, but she’s still scared and uncertain. She sneaks out and goes and gets it. Which is incredibly stupid! Of course they’d go back to your apartment, Karen. Go during the daylight. Matt follows her and gets into a very brutal fight with the man sent to kill her. I love that in the beginning Matt had no real problem taking out those lowly guards, but this is someone as lethal as he is. It’s important to note that Matt is still human, and he can be hurt and get tired. He’s well trained, but far from perfect, so people can still give him a run for his money. He beats the man and then uses Karen’s information to go public about her former corrupt business.

Unfortunately, he’s dealing with people on a much higher level. We’re introduced to Wilson Fisk’s right hand man, James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), who is handling the Russians that did the trafficking earlier, and also the Karen situation. I say he works for Fisk because it’s easier than pretending we don’t know who his employer is. The casting already was made public that the Kingpin was in this, we just haven’t seen him really yet. Wesley is polite, cold, and a real professional. All the loose ends are tied up. Karen isn’t attacked again because the information is put out, but overall, it doesn’t end up doing much good. The company is only a shell for a much bigger corruption, and they kill all the people involved with it and write it off for now. Matt is on their radar though, having attacked the Russians earlier, but not a concern yet. Karen is hired as their secretary for their business, and that’s the start of the show. It ends with Matt hearing a little boy being kidnapped and having him scream for his father over and over. And then he’s off!

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What a great pilot. A few big things to note: they mention right off the bat about the attack on Manhattan in Avengers. Hell’s Kitchen was practically wiped off the map, and that’s where they start. It’s brilliant because in the comics that neighborhood is much darker than it is at the moment. So this is a great way of having it be broken and struggling and very corrupt. They indicated there’s a much bigger player, but he’s behind the scenes for now. It showed us Matt’s fighting skills but that he’s fallible too. I also love Charlie’s playing of Matt here. He’s calmly understated, even soft spoken at times. He is at ease with his blindness, although he admits to Karen that he misses seeing, even if they’re told in support groups not to miss what they lost. He’s a good friend and cares about doing justice, but there’s darkness in him. The type of darkness he can’t escape, and he’s not certain if he wants to escape right now. What’s going to be a question for Matt going forward is how dark he wants to go, and if he can turn back afterward. That has always been a huge theme in the comics for him. He’s young yet, this is new for him, and so his compromises might start soon if he’s not careful. I love the humor with him and Foggy being completely new to everything, and they have an easy chemistry together and with Karen. This was a great episode and I couldn’t wait to continue. So I didn’t wait!

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