Take a dash of film noir, a smattering of Kick Ass, and a very generous dollop of Batman Begins, and you get Marvel’s latest series, Daredevil.
I’m not much of a series guy. Mostly because the very best American shows tend to take great ideas and milk them dry, even if that means destroying the great stories they created in the first place. As a result, I prefer to spend most of the time watching movies, short anime series, or playing video games. When I started hearing whispers on the Internet that Daredevil was very good, I had to find out for myself. I’ve watched the first few episodes of Daredevil, and I put it down. Not because it was bad, but quite the opposite. I have a break coming up, and what better way to spend it than to marathon an excellent television show from start to finish?
What is it that makes the show so good so far? I’ll tell you, but first let me give you a quick run down on what Daredevil is actually about.
Daredevil is the story of Matt Murdoc, who is blinded in an accident as a young boy. As a result of this accident, Murdoc’s other senses become incredibly acute, surpassing the level of ordinary humans. Murdoc also develops his agility and the ability to take a beating, traits he inherited from his father, a tough-as-nails boxer. Murdoc puts these abilities to the test at night, when he dons a costume and roams the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as the vigilante Daredevil. During the day, Murdoc puts these abilities to rest, puts on a tie and fights criminals in a court of law.
Here’s a brief breakdown on what makes the show so good:
Excellent Production Values
The first thing that you notice is the show’s almost look, which I can only describe as cinematic. Just like Game of Thrones, it’s clear that Marvel have decided to give the show a healthy budget so that no corners would need to be cut. Thankfully the show doesn’t actually rely too much on special effects since they’ve decided to give Daredevil a more grounded feel, so when they are used, they’re pretty damn great.
If you don’t know anything about Daredevil, you don’t need to worry. The show brilliantly mixes in back story along with the main narrative so you know what’s going on, even if you’re never picked up a comic book. To top all of this off, the characters themselves are extremely well written, making them easy to empathise with. I am particularly fond of Foggy Nelson’s dialogue, which shows you the more charming side of Matt’s slightly sleazy law partner.
Fantastic Fight Sequences
The action has been pretty great so far, but there one scene in particular that made me go “Wow”. There’s a “single take” scene at the end of the second episode that, for a television series, is just mind blowing. The camera is mostly still, moving only occasionally in order to give us a view of the action. For those of you who’ve seen Oldboy (the original South Korean version), it is very reminiscent of the single shot corridor fight scene, which you will know is absolutely phenomenal.
Exceptional Pacing and Editing
I hope the people are working on the editing and flow of this story get some kind of award. Just from a narrative and editing perspective, this is without a doubt one of the most well put together television series I have ever seen. The show opens with a massive hook to get you engaged, and then gives you an almost perfect balance of action and character development. Specifically in regards to the character development, each episode of Daredevil uses a couple of flashbacksto deliver the back story. But not only do these flashbacks give you details on the characters history, but they also connect with the themes in each episode. It would have been so easy to throw flashbacks in for the sole purpose of getting us up to date with each character, but instead the creative team behind Daredevil go one step further.
I’ll just keep this short. If you like action thrillers with a little bit of a superhero angle, just check this show out. If a dark antihero who isn’t afraid to cross some lines isn’t your thing, maybe you should stick to shows like The Arrow or Flash instead.