The Marvel brand has recently become synonymous with success, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe bigger than ever and the Avengers franchise the most successful superhero cinematic series to date. Its translation to TV has been questionable (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, we’re looking at you), but Daredevil is surprisingly dark and thrilling.
Bone-crushing and sometimes cringe-inducing violence are interjected by chilling origins segments, but Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock grounds the blind vigilante superhero’s tale in humanity. Vincent D’Onofrio as the Kingpin is possibly the best performance – emotionally damaged and unhinged, but intent on seeing his plans come to fruition.
Other cast members, such as Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, and Rosario Dawson as Night Nurse, are all admirable, although their storylines sometimes divert attention away from the compelling narratives of Murdock and Kingpin. Foggy Nelson seems to be an attempt at comic relief and while it works to an extent, it sometimes deviates from the tone.
The action sequences are nothing but amazing, especially one in Episode 2 which is reminiscent of Oldboy. They’re never on unequal terms in Daredevil’s favour, though, which feels realistic; a blind guy who is well-trained in martial arts and has enhanced senses is still going to struggle against a huge group of thugs. There is a permanent sense of danger and peril.
All in all, this series could go far. Marvel’s future series on Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist are set to be just the same in tone and will group into the Defenders storyline – an exciting future in store.