Holy Vigilante Batman! DC better take Marvel TV more seriously now.
For years DC Comics has dominated the small screen with shows like Smallville, Arrow and more recently, The Flash. Marvel meanwhile, was the kingpin at the box office, yet Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., failed to connect with audiences when it premiered in 2013. Agent Carter was a critical darling, but its low ratings make it unlikely to return for a second season.
Daredevil Season 1 Episode 1 is sure to tip the scales in Marvel’s favor, by delivering an edgier adult drama versus just another comic book show.
The series opening revisits Matt Murdock’s accident briefly via flashback, but takes off from there. With thirteen hours to tell their story, there’s no need for the writers to spoon-feed us Daredevil’s origin story linearly. Instead, during his confession, we learned more about Matt’s father (the boxer) and the fact his grandma claimed the Murdock boys “got the devil in ‘em.” It was a powerful start!
This set the tone for a much darker and grown up television show than what we’ve seen from both Marvel and DC so far. Charlie Cox delivered his lines brilliantly; the guy’s a movie star in the making. Plus, I don’t think human trafficking is a subject Coulson and company will deal with any time soon.
I thought the black ninja costume, while not flashy, was effective. It’s the kind of thing a normal person would throw together to fight crime and keep their identity secret. I like the fact we’re watching this guy evolve into a superhero, much like Oliver Queen on Arrow.
Speaking of which, the fight sequences on Daredevil are very well choreographed and comparable to Arrow. Only the bone-crunching brutality sets them apart. There’s no doubt this series is for adults; I wouldn’t recommend it for the little ones, that’s for sure.
The opening credit sequence was gorgeous, and reminded me quite a bit of Hannibal. John Paesano’s score is very cool, as well.
I'm not seeking penance for what I've done, Father. I'm asking for forgiveness... for what I'm about to do.Matt
I loved the relationship between Matt and Foggy. Though he’s obviously the comic relief, Foggy’s clever and not your typical sidekick. Elden Henson does a fantastic job; he’s incredibly likable. I mean, who wouldn’t like a former Mighty Duck, right?
When the partners were shopping for office space, did you catch the real estate agent mention “the incident”? That’s right, the “Death and destruction raining from the sky” was a reference to The Avengers. You’ve got to hand it to Marvel, by keeping their cinematic universe connected they can sprinkle these little Easter eggs throughout for us uber-geeks to pick up.
Instead of a billionaire protagonist, we quickly realize Matt and Foggy are regular guys trying to start a law practice without clients. Enter Karen Page, the lovely Deborah Ann Woll, who was framed for murder. I thought it was great the way Foggy described gestures to Matt, like Karen’s shrug and the real estate agent’s curtsy.
In the comics, Karen Page is a major player in the Daredevil universe. It was great the writers made Karen the duo’s very first case. Wasn’t it hilarious when they told Karen they had been practicing for about seven hours?
While the Daredevil movie visualized Matt’s enhanced abilities, the series seems to be sticking to audio clues such as Karen’s heartbeat, letting Matt know she’s telling the truth. Yep, she was innocent and that’s how this beautiful relationship starts. How about that prison guard attack? Fairly brutal, right? It was also proof the “employer” meant business and can easily manipulate folks.
Karen’s lawyers managed to get her out and we learned the company she worked for was embezzling funds. That's right, Fisher (the dead guy) worked in the legal dept. A conspiracy begins to take shape.
Karen: Can I ask a personal question?
Matt: I haven't always been blind.
Karen: I guess that's what everyone wants to know.
Matt: That or, "How do you comb your hair?"
There are many little fun moments like that, which is nice because every second can’t be gloom and doom. Matt quickly figured out Karen must have something the baddies want. Of course, her racing heartbeat was a dead giveaway. I wondered why exactly Karen attempted to lie; did she have another agenda? For now, I’m going to assume she’s afraid and doesn’t know who to trust.
At an UnionAllied construction site, we briefly met the mysterious crime bosses. “Can you at least pretend to be cold?” Leland, the older gentleman, asked one of the others. This was obviously a hint that the Japanese businessman, Nobu, is not entirely human. I’m sure we’ll learn more about him soon, so I don’t want to give too much away.
I found it interesting Wilson Fisk kept being referred to as the “employer.” We know the Kingpin is involved in the series, as Vincent D'Onofrio is playing the classic villain. However like Voldemort, not saying his name creates an air of mystery and fear around the guy.
Did you catch the other mention of The Avengers? “Heroes and their consequences are why we have our current opportunities” Leland says. They discussed the masked vigilante and I couldn’t help but wonder if Daredevil will ever share the screen with Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor. I realize these are the street level stories, but the fact they all exist in the same universe is exciting.
Naturally, Karen goes back to her place for the USB drive and is attacked. Luckily, Matt didn’t trust her and showed up to save the day. This lead to another great fight sequence; the slo-mo stuff was killer. The use of flashbacks worked well and helped Matt get his head back in the game. Like his dad, this guy can take a beating and this is only the first installment. He needs a real suit ASAP.
Daredevil: I'll get this into the right hands.
Karen: No, you can't. You can't take it to the police. You can't trust anyone.
Daredevil: Then we tell everyone.
That was an interesting twist, I wasn’t expecting Daredevil to deliver the hit man and USB drive to the New York Bulletin. UnionAllied’s scandal was now public, but of course a patsy named McClintock took the fall. Yes, that voice on the speakerphone was Wilson Fisk; our first taste of the future Kingpin!
It was a relief to hear that Fisk was no longer interested in Karen, since everything she knew was already in the papers. However, asking his henchman to start a file on her lawyers can’t be good. How exactly will they be useful in the future? Karen volunteered to help around the place for free and Foggy says “You just got hired.” He’s a blast, isn’t he? And that’s just the start of this beautiful relationship. Will a “love triangle” screw things up?
Matt makes his way to the gym for a quick workout and we see a sign on the wall referencing a fight between Carl “Crusher” Creel and Matt’s father. That’s right, Creel just appeared on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 1. Bring on those Easter eggs Marvel. I just love the little details the writers include for fans.
The first episode closes with the guard and assassin’s deaths; no loose ends. We see blinded Chinese workers packaging what I’m assuming is heroin (not your grandaddy’s superhero show I tell you), while Madame Gao supervises. The Russians beat a guy and take his young son. Good thing Daredevil hears it!
What an phenomenal start to this series, my mind is blown. What did you think of “Into the Ring”? Did this episode make you forget all about the Daredevil movie? Is Charlie Cox fantastic or what? Are you excited to meet Wilson Fisk in the flesh? It’s your turn guys, hit the comments below and share your thoughts on the first episode of Daredevil.
NOTE: Daredevil Season 1 Episode 2 is titled “Cut Man,” look for our review soon.