Daredevil, Season 1, Episode 1 (Into The Ring) / Episode 2 (Cut man).
Whilst Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was the first television series in the MCU, it took a while before it proved just how exciting it could be. The slow-build up until the HYDRA plot-twist made the series dependent on the movies timeline. Luckily Agent Carter managed to avoid the same mistake by being set far before the modern-day MCU, which allowed Peggy Carter to be in her own fully fledged story. But Daredevil is unlike the typical Avenger tie-in’s, despite it being set in New York; Hell’s Kitchen allows to show a separate and gritty story besides the Battle of New York. The consequences of the existence of superhero’s and how it affects everyday life is rightfully explored in the opening episode. As an audience we’re awe-struck by this concept of superhero’s fighting alien battles, yet we neglect the fact that the amount of explosions and casualties are sure to form secret criminal gangs to take opportunity over the healing society.
“Heroes and their consequences is why we have our current opportunities”.
So where does it leave us? Both other television series’ which are part of the MCU followed an already established character so that there was no need for an origin story. For those who may not have read the comics or watched the 2003 Daredevil film, Matt Murdock is a fairly new character who needs to be introduced. Drew Goddard dipped straight into the origin by revealing how Matt Murdock was blinded. To create panic, the scene consisted of small visual cues slowly revealing what had happened. At first we see the flames, the distanced cars, the other bodies and then we finally see barrels and the riveting screaming of “I can’t see!” to showcase the consequence of saving another man’s life. Matt Murdock proved his heroic stance by sacrificing himself and consequentially becomes blind from it. Fortunately the origin story isn’t as unbearably overwhelming as most origin’s tend to be. Instead we see a few short snippets of his childhood here and there so we gain an understanding of the character.
Even though we have an extreme vigilante as a protagonist – that doesn’t mean the entire series is action based. The opening two episodes handle personal life vs vigilante life much better than other popular series’ does (Arrow I’m looking at you) . It adds a more realistic element to seeing this crime fighting take place, as the characters feel genuinely like real people. Perhaps the cause of this approach was by making it a “crime drama first, superhero show second”. Matt’s relationship with his father obviously had a major impact in his life as it’s the first thing he recollects during confession, and it’s the “taking a beating” which really stuck with him. Yet even in the second episode, Foggy and Karen share drunken scenes together where even they feel like actual people rather than comic book characters. It’s small elements like this that really add and extra depth to the plot.
But that’s not to say there is a lack of action too – thank the stars that there is a lot of action! Many of the fighting scenes seem to mimic the outstanding style which Arrow has already done, yet it somehow feels more cinematic. The flow and style are fluid, watching enemies get knocked down only to recover and fight again worked beautifully. The opening episodes proved that the series already has great potential.
Jumping from one case to another also worked better than it should have. Had this been broadcasted on television, there would’ve been a case-of-the-week approach as many episodic crime drama’s do. However the ability of being able to binge-watch the entire series at once allowed the writers to deviate from this episodic approach. The premiere episode followed Karen Page’s murder accusation to introduce the character, it ends with revealing a child being kidnapped. The second episode dives right into that. Essentially there’s no need for entirely splitting narratives into different episodes. By assuming that many Netflix audiences intend to watch two or three episodes in a row, it’s better to have over-arching storylines stretching across different episodes. This is how Daredevil works more than most superhero series’, by not being forced to have a clean resolution by the end of each episode.
As a result, episodes one and two worked brilliantly together to introduce the characters and criminal influence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And trust me – things are only going to get better!
+ Just as a note – we’ll be releasing these reviews once everyday to go through the series.
+ I didn’t talk much about each individual episode in this review (this won’t be the case in future Daredevil reviews). However I’d like to take this moment to appreciate how well Claire Temple fitted into the second episode. I cannot wait to see what Rosario Dawson brings to the series.
+ How does Matt comb his hair? “Honestly just hope for the best”.