Netflix’s Daredevil: A Darker Defender


Sean Koepfinger, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

Last week, Netflix and Marvel released Daredevil, the first installment in their Defenders series, and it was amazing.

The first reason this show was so great was because they went for a grittier, darker superhero story and accepted a TV-MA rating. This is a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the precedent it has set means really good things for comic book adaptations.

This rating gave the creators the freedom they needed to take a character whose main nemesis is a crime boss and not have to water anything down. That decision is definitely one of the best contributing factors to Daredevil that makes it such a standout show in an age where superheroes are everywhere.

Along a similar vein, Vincent D’Onofrio‘s performance as Wilson Fisk, the kingpin of crime, was absolutely stellar. D’Onofrio has an amazing ability to play a sympathetic character who is simultaneously unrelentingly evil. From the moment he steps onto the screen he owns the scene. Whether he’s lamenting over his past or crushing someone’s skull in his car door, D’Onofrio’s performance captures your attention.

Charlie Cox’s performance as Matt Murdock/Daredevil was also applaudable. Granted, he didn’t have very big boots to fill as Ben Affleck’s previous role as the blind defender was significantly less applaudable. Cox managed to portray the character as more humble than most of the heroes we’ve seen lately, which is a nice change of pace since, blindness aside, his origin story is pretty much the same as every other non-powered superhero.

As I mentioned before in a previous article, TV is the best format for long-term superhero adaptations. The 50-minute episodes allow us to get to know the hero as a person and allow for a more realistic progression of action. For Daredevil, the first half of the season we see Murdock entering the world of Vigilantism while simultaneously trying to stop crime from within the court systems. As the season progresses, the tone shifts and the once optimistic Murdock realizes that he may be in over his head as he’s forced to take on the biggest crime boss in Hell’s Kitchen.

Essentially, the series does an amazing job of pacing. Despite the comic book origin of the story, the show manages to provide an incredibly believable, and unforgivingly violent, adaptation. Moving forward, Netflix and Marvel’s next release will be AKA Jessica Jones. It will be followed by Luke Cage and Iron Fist as they lead up to the team-up series, Marvel’s Defenders.

With so many team-ups and spin-offs on the big screen, this new line of crossover television series should provide the grittier, and potentially superior, long-term superhero story that comic fans have been waiting for.

Did you watch Marvel’s Daredevil? What did you think? Was Charlie Cox better than Ben Affleck? How do you feel about this darker take on comic characters? Let us know what you think in the comments below!