Netflix’s Marvel shows started a shared universe, though they have all been short lived despite at least one of them being almost completely successful. It all started with Daredevil season one, as Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson start their journey as lawyers in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Mere hours after obtaining an office, the long time friends receive their first client in the form of Karen Page.
Almost right off the bat in the first episode we get a taste of the action that this series does so well as Matt prevents a group of goons from kidnapping young women in a container on the docks. Throughout the first season, Matt Murdock wears the prototype suit which consists of a long sleeved top, boots and trousers which feel less like a costume and more like everyday clothing, the thing that stands out, is his mask which is a bandanna that covers the top of his head, down over his eyes. This suit first appeared in Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #4 (1994) which was written by Frank Miller.
Throughout the series we get plenty of twists and turns through the story of Wilson Fisk, who for those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, is none other than one of Marvel’s biggest villains, Kingpin. Fisk’s group of associates shrinks throughout the series, leaving only Fisk and one other associate left to pick up the pieces and continue their dream to ‘save the city’, which isn’t as heroic as it sounds, since their dream city involves plenty of crimes, just more organized under their commands.
The casting for this show is excellent, with every character being memorable from Matt Murdock to Mrs. Cardenas, they each leave and impression on you. I’d love to write a paragraph for each but sadly there’s too much to say and I fear I’ll ramble on and repeat myself so let’s just talk about the hero and the villain of the show.
Charlie Cox portrays Matt Murdock a.k.a Daredevil or in season one specifically, ‘The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’. Charlie’s performance as the charming, blind, best friend and lawyer, is an exceptional performance. Charlie’s portrayal of a blind individual was recognized by millions of people who watched the show, and Cox was awarded a Helen Keller Achievement Award for his role by the American Foundation for the Blind. Which should give you some idea as to how well he performed in the show. Many even believed that Cox was blind in real life, only to discover that he had actually gone through a sort of ‘blind’ training regime to prepare for the role. I mean, this guy throws himself into his roles and brings out the best of the characters. As The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, Cox is able to look intimidating, sound threatening and kick ass with his fighting choreography. It really feels to me like they’ve pulled Daredevil from the pages and brought him to life.
As Matt Murdock he is charming and you can really tell the history between himself and his best friend Foggy Nelson (Eldon Henson) as they build their lives together, as well as have the odd fall out and dispute over certain situations. However, the character that tries her best to keep them together is Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) who is lovable and yet also a badass in her own right when certain situations arise. Together these three make the perfect team of heroes and they often don’t realize it.
So who could oppose such a badass character like Matt Murdock…well, that’s where Vincent D’Onofrio steps in to portray one of the most intimidating yet sympathetic villains I have seen on TV. A man with such anger, emotion and such a troubled past, that sometimes you can’t help but feel sorry for him, while at the same time be terrified of what he’ll do next. He’s brutish, scary, and yet he has a somewhat soft voice when talking to characters he likes such as Wesley, his closest friend (portrayed by Toby Leonard Moore), or Vanessa, the love of his life (portrayed by Ayelet Zura). However, just because his voice is soft, you know that if something goes wrong there is a deeper gruff voice that comes booming out of him like a roar of emotion in an explosion of violence. It’s easy to see why people are so frightened of him, and it’s not just his brutish strength. Fisk is cunning, with plans and contingencies in place for almost any situation. If something goes sideways, then he doesn’t panic, because he’s prepared for it. It’s brilliant to see his effect on the city and it’s people, including those who think they’re badass crime bosses, when really they’re nothing more than puppets for Fisk.
Overall the production of this show is excellent from writing, to pacing, editing, and casting, the show exceeds what I originally expected when I first heard they were making a Daredevil TV series, and it quickly became one of my favourite shows of all time, though sadly, like all the Netflix shows, it was short lived with only 3 seasons. I hope that Cox and probably the rest of the main cast of characters get to portray their roles once again in the future because they are all exceptionally brilliant at bringing these characters from the pages of the comics to the big screen.