AKA: How I spent an entire weekend in front of Netflix.
I saw the Ben Affleck films and I’ve seen him in Spider-Man comics and event tie-ins, but I know the bare bones about the character.
I know that he’s blind and that he’s a lawyer. Oh and that he’s Catholic. That’s about it.
That’s actually a good thing.
I didn’t come to Netflix’s Daredevil with any preconceptions of how the characters should be or how they should look. I wasn’t attached to him the way I was with Captain America so there’s no chance of me getting super pissed about characterization the way I was with the Avengers.
I’ve been watching Daredevil all weekend and I don’t regret a minute of it.
One major way that Daredevil as a show differs from everything else that Marvel has put out in terms of live action so far is how it’s more relatable. Daredevil is streetlevel. It’s every day in a way that other Marvel live action properties haven’t quite managed to be. With the superheroes and secret agents, there’s distance between them and the audience. They’re kind of outside or above our world.
The people that Thor deals with or that Tony Stark deals with, they’re not your average joe on the street.
For the most part, up until recently (with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) I haven’t felt like people of color were represented in the MCU to the fullest extent. Now Daredevil is far from perfect on that front considering how most of the characters of color we do see are villains or victims, but I think that it’s got a lot to go forward on. I don’t feel like Matt’s NYC is one where I wouldn’t exist — you know, like the NYC seen in shows like Friends or How I Met Your Mother where the only people of color are waiters and crap.
It just has a very real feel to it.
Probably because I live in Florida…
But aside from that, okay Daredevil as a show is just definitely different from the other stuff in the MCU. Daredevil isn’t fighting alien overlords or taking down secret societies. He’s waging war against corruption, on cops that are in someone’s payroll and in someone’s pocket that isn’t the government’s. He’s hip deep in gang wars and street violence as opposed to whatever’s going on with AoS these days.
The show works for me. I didn’t eexpect to straight up love it since I know next to nothing about the characters, but I do. I’m going to go and check out some of Mark Waid’s run because I hear it’s pretty good. But I’m going to be honest, the show is pretty accessible to non-fans. If you’ve never read a Daredevil comic before, you’re going to be able to follow along. Trust me. There was no point where I didn’t understand who a character was or where they fit into the story.
Speaking of characters —
Here’s where we get the good and bad.
First things first: I didn’t expect to feel anything for Wilson Fisk/Kingpin besides loathing. He’s a bad man. Straight up. I thought I was going to be dealing with a Joker-level criminal with no nuance or backstory. I was dead wrong. The series manages to humanize Fisk and flesh him out. He’s awful and still evil (there’s a scene where he decapitates someone with his car door and I’m still not over it) but there are little things about him that I like.
Out of the characters on the side of evil and corruption, I was surprised by how many of them I didn’t hate. Two in particular stood out to me: Wesley and Madame Gao. Wesley grew on me so hard. Like he was a smarmy little fucker but I genuinely liked him because he was so transparent in his evil. With Madame Gao though, I didn’t want to like her. I didn’t. But she was so tiny and evil and take-charge that I found myself waiting for her to beat the sense out of someone with her cane every single time she was onscreen.
You know who I didn’t like though? Leland. I kid you not, the phrase “shut the hell up, Leland” quickly became my catchphrase while watching the show because he was so unhelpful. Had I been a criminal mastermind, I’d have chucked him off a roof ages ago just for how smart his mouth is. Did he ever offer a solution that was useful? Geez.
Outside of the villain camp, there was a lot to love. Charlie Cox as Daredevil was fantastic. He freaking nails the role. Foggy and Karen are good charaters. Especially Foggy because he has the potential to be a pain in the ass sidekick character and the but of the series’ jokes but he’s not that at all. I could’ve done without how weird he was about women (and always talking about how hot they were) but aside from that, I kinda wish I had a friend like him.
Now, on to the stuff I didn’t like.
There needed to be more recurring lady characters. We had some amazing women onscreen, but they didn’t get to do much. That needs to change. They could’ve had more women as cops or reporters or something.
And there’s a lot of “women as motivation for great violence” like it’s super close to them being used to further manpain from Matt, Foggy, and Fisk and I don’t like it. Aside from Karen we don’t really see serious depth to the ladies and we don’t see their motivations.
I need season two to do better and when Jessica Jones gets her series, I’m going to need it to knock it out of the park.
Lots of people of color as villains. This is one of my major issues with the superhero genre: people of color are rarely heroes or friends but they wind up being the villain and the aggressor. It sends a message and it’s not a very good one. Usually there’s one or two “good” people of color in a superhero show or film that gets to interact with the main characters (usually a Black man, I’ve noticed) and then nearly every other POC is a bad guy or the victim of a crime.
Daredevil does this. I wish it didn’t.
Now, I’ve spent an entire weekend watching Daredevil. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have done so. I think the show did great things in terms of changing what we look for in superhero films and television shows. It’s a game changer in terms of tone and the way that the audience is getting their hands on it. This is the first show in this new line up and while there’s a lot that that Netflix and Marvel need to work on (diversity in all forms!!!), there’s a lot that they did right.
I’m happy that I spent an entire weekend watching Daredevil and from what I’m seeing around the internet, many people are as well! I’m going to do a rewatch next weekend and try and spot all the references I didn’t notice before. I got the Electra one but I’m sure that there were plenty others out there that I could’ve caught if I tried.