I’m not sure that many of you remember or were here at the time I did this, but back in late July I asked my followers which TV Superhero universe I should review. Over two months later I’ve finally gotten around to watching what I set out to do. Hooray!
Prologue: Welcome to Bingeing & Complaining (Watch-a-thon wasn’t going to cut it this time around) where I watch Popular TV shows and review them as I go through each season. They could be shows I have seen or haven’t seen before but, no matter what, I’ll only be talking about the season I’m currently watching. As I mentioned at the start, I’ll be looking at a superhero TV universe and that is the Marvel Netflix Universe which is like the MCU but it’s dark and stuff! Also, no kids allowed! They are too precious to be traumatized by this edgy universe.
Back in my youth I used to rent TV shows from an ancient place called a ‘Video Renting Store’ where I watched the coolest edgiest superhero of the 2000’s and that was Smallville! Then DC started releasing their own superhero universe with Arrow and The Flash that I watched faithfully until I lost interest completely. It was around this time that Marvel and Netflix made their own edgy cool universe that made that other universe look as cool as Smallville. Since I was watching Hobo TV at the time watching stuff on the internet felt too foreign for me, so it’s not until now that I’ve finally decided to sit down and watch these shows.
I’m Blindman: So the first show to come out of Marvel’s and Netflix’s arsenal was Marvel’s Daredevil. (That’s what I’m calling it!) Marvel’s Daredevil is about some kid with a traumatic past because who doesn’t have a traumatic back story in Superhero land. He grows up to become a lawyer but the thing is he’s also blind and he fights crime at night, So he’s a Blind-Ninja-Lawyer-Man. So we follow Blind Ninja Lawyer Man as he lives his life in Heck’s Kitchen which is like the worst place on the planet to live, full of crime and violence and more crime. At the top of the world the person causing all this chaos in Heck’s Kitchen is Gordon Ramsay, a man who evokes fear into the people of Heck’s Kitchen, he’s the guy at the top because he has the biggest temper tantrums. Blind Ninja Lawyer Man and friends spend the entire season trying to expose Gordon Ramsay for all the terrible F bombs he drops on Heck’s Kitchen.
I don’t read many Comic Books so my experience with Daredevil and his universe is the 2003 Daredevil with Batfleck and Jennifer Garner. From what I remember of that movie it is terrible and I imagine I would have the greatest time of my life watching it again. This TV show decides to take a much more serious approach as it is very grim and violent. This show is kind of like The Dark Knight movies where it’s based in some sort of world where we can relate it back to our real world, which actually works quite effectively for this show. It’s not like Arrow where they basically just copy and paste the Batman formula onto their show. Daredevil uses what came before and makes it’s own original version out of it. I think it was a really good idea to up the rating for this show to make all the violence, punches, the brutality and gore leave some impact that just wouldn’t work if was on normal TV which is a plus for being on a streaming service like Netflix. My only major problem with the universe they have made is that it is in the same universe as Ant-Man and Dr Strange and The Guardians of The Galaxy. I think I would’ve preferred if it wasn’t in the same universe as Campy Fun Thor and Space Africa Land.
Those Characters: Let’s start with the characters because that makes sense before going into the episodes. Matt Murdock is the main character and he kind of sucks. Look, the character is fine, I understand why he wants to save the world and why he acts the way he does, but the actor that portrays him is the main problem. He looks the part but that normally doesn’t sell the character. Every time he tries to act he always has the same tone in his voice and he really struggles to show any other emotion besides a bland neutral face. This is much worse when he tries to intimidate someone while he’s in his costume. He sounds like someone who is very lost and confused. If it wasn’t for the great cinematography and lighting around him, it probably could’ve been worse. Matt isn’t the only character on the show that bugs me, another being Karen who I found the most boring and uninteresting out of the main team also the actress that plays her has more looks than talent. Probably the biggest character that I found the most frustrating is Wilson Fisk. Wilson Fisk is a pretty interesting character and Vincent D’Onofrio was probably the best choice to play character but, the thing is, I liked Fisk more before he was introduced on the show as he was a mysterious guy who made an intimidating presence over at Hell’s Kitchen but once we start to learn more about him that’s when he was no longer intimidating and he became a laughing stock. I think it has something to do with making him too sympathetic and also becoming less threatening when he’s no longer the one doing all the horrible things. Also for most of his scenes he always sounds like he’s trying to hold in a burp and whenever he had his little Temper Tantrums I couldn’t help but crack a smile.
I didn’t hate every character, I pretty much enjoyed most of the supporting cast, they were pretty much the stars of the show most of the time. I liked Rosario Dawson’s appearances – she and Matt probably have the best interactions on the show. Fisk’s right hand, who I’m going to call Kevin Spacey Soundalike, did a better job portraying his character, better than half of the main characters. The only main character who I found consistently good was Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson. I realised he was the best character on the show in the episode where he is in Matt’s apartment after learning his secret identity. Speaking of this, let’s talk about those.
Ze Episodes: I’ll quickly go through the 13 episodes. Episode 1 does a pretty good job at setting the tone of what sort of story we’re going to get. Matt saves Karen from some guys who wanted to hurt her and they find out together that there is a bigger game in town. Not a bad beginner but it was Episode 2 that I enjoyed much more and which I think would have made a better pilot. In episode 2 Rosario Dawson finds our hero in a dumpster after he is badly beaten and it’s here we learn more about Matt and his past and his special Sonar powers. I like the idea of learning about our hero through characters who don’t have any connection to the main plot. It’s also got a really good ending where Matt fights these henchmen in a small hallway and he’s struggling to take them all out but in the end he saves the kid and all that was in one take by the way. That’s another thing about this show is it looks really good. It makes a dark hallway or room look gorgeous. (I never thought I would be complimenting a hallway, but I am.) Ep 3 I found kind of eh, but it’s purpose is to reveal the Kingpin at the top of this crime food chain thing. Episode 4 and 5 I found very similar to each other as both focused on two evil Russian guys doing bad stuff while Matt dealt with them.
Things don’t pick up for me again until Episode 6 where Matt is trying to escape the cops with an evil Russian man who can give him more information on Fisk. I liked this episode because some big things happen here unlike in some of the earlier ones where nothing really noteworthy happened. In episode 7 we’re introduced to another Blind Ninja man who plays the wise old master character type but this guys is also an ass. This episode is probably the most contained out of the 13 in this season (well, to some extent). I really enjoyed the scenes with Matt and the blind guy and Scott Glenn’s performance was really spot on. Too bad he had to perform next to bland man. Episode 8 explains the origin of Fisk and how he became the world’s biggest man baby next to General Zod. (I WILL FIND HIM!!!!)
Episode 9 is where things get more interesting where Fisk puts himself in the public eye, Karen and Urich find Fisk’s mentally disturbed mother, Matt comes up against his biggest challenge yet – a ninja with working eyes and with a big old swinging blade. This episode ends on a cliff-hanger with Foggy finding a badly injured Matt. Nelson v. Murdock is kind of like Episodes 2 and 7 and maybe even 8. Most of the episode focuses on two characters and their relationship with each other. I think when they focus on just the characters this is when the show is at it’s best. I said earlier this was the episode that made me fall in love with Foggy Nelson (not literally) and Charlie Cox does a pretty good job too in this episode. Another great episode. Too bad Episode 11 drops the ball a bit. Rosario Dawson leaves the show, Matt finds Fisk’s Armour guy because Fisk has someone has normal joe making his protective armour instead of it being bought online or given to him by one of his many loyal distributors. Or even by someone in the police department giving him some of that riot gear… Oh forget it, I’m already overlooking his weird sonar hearing powers! Kevin Spacey guy dies in the stupidest way possible by leaving a loaded gun in the middle of the table between him and Karen. Also I would feel pretty ashamed of myself if I was killed by this woman.
Episode 12 starts to build to some sort of conclusion that I wouldn’t have a clue if it was, if I haven’t been constantly checking what episode number I was up to. I liked the scene in the blind drug making factory that was pretty cool and the few scenes with Karen were okay. This episode sets up that they have basically run out of storyline for Urich. If I wasn’t so invested in what was going on I probably would’ve called them out on what happens next. Fisk tells Urich he’s mad for looking into his criminal life and then he kills him. The last episode is called Daredevil. Matt gets his iconic Daredevil costume and somehow this costume looks much worse than the 2003 costume. The best costume so far is his blindfold and the black pyjamas he had all season. In the first half of this episode Matt, Karen and Foggy get Fisk arrested but since this is a superhero show he breaks out so Daredevil can have a final showdown with him. In the second half Daredevil and Fisk have a bloody final battle which, I bet you can’t guess… Fisk going to jail and all the main characters go back to their normal day and there is no sort of conclusion. It’s so open ended it’s as wide as a black hole – that’s how open ended this season ends.
Epilogue: I may sound very critical in this review, but that is probably because that’s what I do best. Overall the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil was pretty good. Over shows like Smallville or Arrow or even the Daredevil movie it’s a vast improvement. It’s a grim show that I was somewhat immersed in and at other times I felt like the show was stalling. A pretty good first season. I imagine if I watched this 3 years ago this might’ve been my favourite TV show. (God, I wish I was young again!) 7/10, worth a watch if you’re over 15 years or you’re not a man-child like Fisk or Zod or Me or Kylo Ren or…
Don’t expect another season of Daredevil just yet because I’m going chronologically because you’ve got to watch it that way for it all to make sense. If you liked this experiment then just click that like button or comment and share to support your favourite Blog Complainer. Also if you leave a comment don’t leave any spoiler comments because I really don’t want to deal with them, just don’t.
Til Next Time, Binge It, Then Complain About It, BC. Signing Out. (I think I just made it worse?)