Wilson Fisk: The city and its future...seeing Hell's Kitchen to its fullest potential is very important to me.
Matt Murdock: I feel the same way.
The Daredevil TV Series (2015-present) has a popularity rating of 64 on IMDb, up 32, though I don’t know since when, but I’ve added to its growing appeal. I liked this show about Marvel’s much-underrated superhero. I found it to be dark, gritty, violent, flawed, and oddly unsettling, perhaps because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was on tenterhooks through Season 1. Besides, I've always been partial to Daredevil, as I'm to Batman.
Going back, I liked the 2003 namesake film a lot because it lived up to my comic-book image of The Man Without Fear (unlike Tobey Maguire who didn't as Peter Parker in Spider-Man). Ben Affleck was perfect as Matt Murdock — blind lawyer by day and vigilante by night. For many years, I hoped there would be a sequel. There was none.
And now the TV series has compensated for the gap.
British actor Charlie Cox steps convincingly into Affleck’s shoes and raises hell in Hell’s Kitchen, the dark side of Manhattan in New York City. He is not infallible. He makes mistakes and gets walloped a few times. Even by arch enemy Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, who clobbers him like The Thing in Fantastic Four or Bane in The Dark Knight Rises (2012). And like Batman, the caped crusader of Gotham City, he falls only to rise stronger, wiser, and more determined each time.
A little wisdom is what Daredevil picks up after his often impulsive and bloody fights with local thugs, junkies, kidnappers, and extortionists. With every episode he learns more about the masterminds behind his battles—the Russian mafia, Japanese crime syndicate Yakuza, Chinese gangsters, and finally Fisk/Kingpin himself—who want to carve up Hell’s Kitchen between them. And slowly, he also learns to be one step ahead of his ruthless enemies.
A television series provides more reel for longer stories. Daredevil gives us more than the heroics of the vigilante. It also offers us a peek into the back stories of the familiar characters—Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), his buddy and law partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), their first client-turned-secretary Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), famous crime reporter Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall), and Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio)—which adds to the twists and the suspense.
Daredevil is stark and realistic with a degree of brutality not common to superhero movies. Murdock and Fisk, while representing good and evil, share a tragic childhood, their lives haunted by demons of the past—prompting Hell’s Kitchen’s supervillain to say they’re not very different from each other. Although, they have their own reasons for making the seedy neighbourhood a better place.
As Daredevil, Cox is as good as Affleck, while, as Kingpin, D'Onofrio is several heads above Michael Clarke Duncan in the movie version. What works in his favour is his depiction of the bald Kingpin as a businessman who is both vicious and vulnerable. He reeks of evil and yet doesn’t necessarily seem like one, if that makes any sense.
Finally, what I found appealing about Daredevil is the music, the opening theme and the background score that plays during critical moments in every episode, heightening the thrill and tension of watching a series that deserved wider recognition.
Next up is Season 2 on Netflix, followed by Season 3 in 2018. This is because, in 2017, Netflix plans to release Marvel’s The Defenders comprising Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Iron Fist. The last three superheroes also have their standalone series.
Have you seen the Daredevil TV series?