Marvel has broken into Netflix. So it’s official: they’re just another step closer to complete world domination. 😉 Seriously though, as soon as I heard that Marvel had made a deal with Netflix to develop four superhero shows, I was intrigued. Netflix has been on fire with their original series lately, and Marvel…well, clearly they’re not doing so bad themselves. But one of the shows they decided to do Daredevil, and I think there was a certain degree of doubt with that. Ben Affleck’s Daredevil left such a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. How was Netflix going to make it any better? Well, I just caught the premiere episode of the series, and, let me tell ya, they pull it off. Big time. Let’s discuss the particulars of that premiere.
What I liked:
- The very cool, dripping red opening credits. I feel like interesting opening credit sequences can be very effective for a show, and this one pulls you right in. It sets the tone pretty perfectly as blood-red liquid slowly drips down faces and scenery.
- The surprisingly dark and gritty tone. I guess I should have expected that given the title character, but I’ve gotten so used to Marvel’s stuff being such lighthearted fun that I was a bit thrown when it was so heavy and intense. But I’m not complaining. It suits the show really well, and it’s a nice change of pace for Marvel.
- Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock a.k.a. Daredevil. Prior to this show, I hadn’t even heard of this actor, but I really like him in this role. As defense lawyer Murdock, he’s softspoken and kind and a staunch defender of the innocent. As his Daredevil alter ego, he’s intense and violent and a ruthless punisher of criminals. Cox captures both of these personas pretty perfectly. In both sweet lawyer mode and kickass superhero mode, he’s easy to like.
- The epic fight scenes. Like, these are seriously cool-looking fights. Movie-quality choreographing and all that jazz. There’s a great one that kicks off the episode and an even better one toward the end of the episode.
- The effective, emotional flashbacks. Honestly, I find flashbacks in TV shows kind of annoying most of the time—especially if the main story is engaging. Arrow, for example, is very guilty of using somewhat pointless flashbacks lately. These flashbacks, however, show us how Murdock lost his sight and show how much of a role model his father was to him as a boy. They’re great moments, and they fit into the plot seamlessly.
- The perfect ending showing the staggering amount of crime in Hell’s Kitchen, Murdock’s neighborhood in Manhattan. There’s clearly a ton of unsavory stuff going on, which means Daredevil has plenty of work to do. Honestly, it got me all kinds of excited and made me want to start episode two right away. Too bad I didn’t have time.
What I didn’t like:
- At first, Foggy (Elden Henson) is a little…much. I mean, the guy might as well have “comic relief” stamped across his forehead. Nonetheless, Foggy grew on me. By the end of the episode, I liked the guy. So, you know, if Foggy annoys you for a minute, just wait it out. He gets better. However, I totally understand if you can’t get over the fact that his name is “Foggy.” Like, who would want that nickname? I haven’t the—wait for it—foggiest. Har har har. 😉
- Right now, there’s not a whole lot of explanation for Murdock’s fighting skills. We get to see him beat up a punching bag for a while, and we see a brief glimpse of a boxing match poster at a gym with his name on it (though this could be referencing his father), but that’s all we’ve got so far. I’m sure his skills will be explained, but I guess as someone who isn’t very familiar with Daredevil, I’d just hoped for a tiny bit more background in the first episode.
- If you’re hoping for a glimpse of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin, well…prepare to be disappointed. No, the first episode does not reveal the big bad. There are clearly references to him, and we briefly get to hear his voice, but that’s it so far. But I can let this slide—it’s just building the anticipation for that big reveal. 🙂
The Potential: Oh, it’s totally there. Of course, I say this knowing the season as a whole has been very well-received. God I love Netflix and their “releasing the whole season at once” thing. But as someone who hasn’t gotten around to the rest of the season yet, I’ll simply say this: I think that so far, this is my favorite premiere episode of 2015. Maybe that’s just because I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is. Or maybe it’s because I’m a huge nerd and Marvel clearly has their hooks in me. Either way, I can’t wait to see more.
My Grade: A