Daredevil: Season One review

I have finally gotten caught up and watched the entire first season of Daredevil on

Netflix. I was expecting this to be the darkest Marvel Cinematic Universe entry to date, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this dark.

Cast and Crew Information

Charlie Cox as Matthew Michael Murdock / Daredevil
Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page
Elden Henson as Franklin P. “Foggy” Nelson
Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk / Kingpin
Toby Leonard Moore as James Wesley
Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich
Bon Gunton as Leland Owlsley
Ayelet Zurer as Vanessa Marianna
Royce Johnson as Sgt. Brett Mahoney
Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple
Peter McRobbie as Father Lantom
Rob Morgan as Turk Barrett
Daryl Edwards as Detective Hoffman
Peter Shinkoda as Noby
Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao
Geoffrey Cantor as Ellison
Susan Varon as Josie
Adriane Lenox as Doris Urich
Skylar Gaertner as Young Matt Murdock
Matt Gerald as Melvin Potter
John Patrick Hayden as Jack Murdock
Scott Glen as Tick
Jasson Finney as Stone
Cole Jensen as Young Wilson Fisk

Written by Drew Goddard, Steven S. DeKnight, Douglas Petrie, Luke Kalteux, Joe Pokaski, Marco

Ramirez, Ruth Fletcher and Christos N. Gage
Directed by Phil Abraham, Farren Blackburn, Steven S. DeKnight, Guy Ferland, Ken Girotti, Nick

Gomez, Adam Kane, Euros Lyn, Nelson McCormick, Stephen Surjik and Brad Turner

Availability Information

The first season is currently available on Netflix around the

world.

Premise

Blinded by a chemical spill as a child, Matt Murdock has unique senses. He uses a combination of that, intelligence and training to tear through the criminal underworld and save his beloved home, Hell’s Kitchen. Wilson Fisk, another child of Hell’s Kitchen, also plans to save the neighbourhood, but by razing it to the ground and by building a new one in its place.

High Point

I don’t know where the casting ends and the writing and direction begin, but every member of this cast based on a comic book character inhabits that character in totality.

Low Point

One specific deviation from the comic book version of these characters is disappointing to me, as a big fan of that member of Matt’s supporting cast.

The Review

This feels like an original entry in the MCU. The tone is entirely different from anything that has come before, and the structure is entirely different from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the only other truly serialized entry in Marvel’s productions. It also remains true to the spirit of the source material while deviating from the 2003 film and certain details of the comics. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are well done. Daredevil’s powers don’t need to be represented as visually as they were in the film, and they take advantage of that fact here. They did most of them in camera with physical effects, and they are entirely convincing. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is exceptionally well done. This is structured in an unusual way. Each episode has a clear beginning, middle, and end, yet this feels more like a 12 hour movie than a 13 episode season of television. The origins of these characters are here, and they take the time to develop them very well. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting, as you know if you read the intro, is consistently exceptional. Rosario Dawson’s character doesn’t seem as well developed, though that’s not because of her performance. She is the one who doesn’t exist in the comics, although there is a character who fills in a similar role. Even there, Dawson’s performance is strong, and only appears weak because it surrounded by the rest of an exceptional cast. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is excellent. This production team are spending every penny well. Location shooting always makes things difficult for production staff, since camera placements, equipment, power supplies and so forth are always limited and troublesome, but you’d never know that here. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is strong, and often visceral, but always natural. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is the kind of show that is worth subscribing to Netflix just to watch. I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Daredevil: Season One receives 41 out of 42.

3 replies on “Daredevil: Season One review”

  1. Jethro says:

    I did very much enjoy the show. Even though the guy who plays Daredevil kinda weirds me out a bit. I kinda, uh. Want him to always have the mask on.

    I have a combination high-point/low-point: The fight scenes.

    I do very much appreciate that they go out of their way to show that the people Daredevil is fighting are actually good at it, and a challenge. He doesn’t just swat them aside – he has to work for it.

    The fight choreography, though, is hit-and-miss. Sometimes it’s fantastic (like that one episode where they had a fairly long fight sequence play out in one single long shot) but sometimes it’s WWE-level fake, as in you can clearly see the punches are not landing at all.

    It took me a while to get used to the pacing, too. I don’t watch commercials and my various devices automatically edit them out for me, but most shows are still built round those Act Breaks. Daredevil is not, because it doesn’t have to be. Episodes are also not always the same length!

    This is probably the darkest Marvel show out there (and the first one rated TV-MA), and it’s handled very well. Every single main character was given a lot of depth and a lot of room to develop. I’m very much looking forward to more of this show.

  2. Don says:

    I never read DD comics, so my only exposure was that “movie”. So I actually put off watching this for a long time until the positive reviews started rolling in. I was hooked. What floored me was the character development. And not just about the good guys. They fleshed out the bad guy too. At the end of that one specific episode, I actually sympathized and felt sorry for him, despite all of the bad things that were being done.

    And you were right, it felt like a 13 hour movie, with a coherent story arc.

    I worry that season two will not live up to our expectations after season one. Again, never having read the comics, I assume they have a great deal of source material to pull from for a real good story arc.

    • If you’ve never read the source material but enjoy this, track down any Daredevil written by Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis and/or Ed Brubaker. Miller in particular had a lot of influence over this, although you should know that Karen Page and Matt had been romantically involved for a while. She broke it off because of the stress of dating a man who put himself in danger than often and went to L.A. to pursue a movie career. The last we saw of her before Miller, her career wasn’t going well, but she wouldn’t give up. She appears next in “Daredevil: Born Again” by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli that is my all time favorite comic book story for any character.

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