Okay, let’s take a break from all the music, drinking, and nightlife stuff for a bit, for something entirely different:
New and awesome netflix TV adaptation of Daredevil!
Yeah, it’s time to reveal my geeky side: I have a soft spot for comic-books. Specially for the superhero genre. Those funny costumes, the secret identities, the crazy story-lines, and specially the individualistic motif of “one man can make a difference” – that’s my poison. I love it in my comic-books, just as much as I’d love it on my large and small screen. But the only problem is, that usually most of the live-action adaptations of superhero comic-books are shitty as fuck.
For those of you who not so well-acquainted with this, I’ll explain(experts may skip this paragraph): In the comic-book world, there are two main publishing-giants: MARVEL(which is mostly famous for titles like Captain America, Spider-Man, X-men, Iron-Man, and The Incredible Hulk), and DC(which is mostly notable for titles like Superman, Batman, Wonder-Woman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and The Flash). However, while being pretty impressive in the cartoon and comics field, in what’s concerning the live-action adaptations – both companies seem to be in competition about who will inspire the shittiest movie/TV-series, while still making ridicules loads of money from it.
Surprisingly, that’s not the case with the new “Marvel’s Daredevil” series.
Well, you could expect from a series about a blind Irish-American superhero from the slams to be a bit special. But on the other hand, the movie with the same name that came out in the previous decade wasn’t too impressive for my taste.
However, unlike other currently running series of the genre(i.e. Flash, Arrow, and even Gotham) – Daredevil actually DO have a well-developed characters and intriguing plot, But most importantly, the series breaks some of the most common stereotypes of the genre. Here’s a few notable examples:
Highly graphical violence
One of the first differences that I’ve noticed in the Daredevil series from most of other superhero shows, is the much higher level of depicted violence to which it is usually accustomed in this genre. One interesting comment that I read online even said that a certain extremely violent scene in the end of chapter #4, wouldn’t have any chance of appearing in a similar series for a conventional TV-channel. I totally agree with that. Luckily for us, Daredevil was produced directly for the Netflix streaming service – which probably saved it from the need to go through much of bureaucracy and censorship that it would have faced on a regular TV channel. Also, a series that is produced directly for internet streaming, is not limited by a TV-channel’s busy schedule, which can sometimes push it to uncomfortable time-slots that would force it to lose a lot of its edgieness in order to survive the battle for rating.
While not being at all too conservative in depiction of violence, when it comes to sex and sensuality, the Daredevil series kept a surprisingly low profile. Just think about it: practically all currently running superhero series feature a decent dose of hot chicks in sexy outfits, low cleavages, or in general partially naked scenes. In comparison to that – despite of having 3 extremely attractive ladies in the cast(one of which already participated in some provocative scenes in the True Blood series) Daredevil kept quite a modest score on the pornographic part. There is only one, purely symbolic, female topless scene(episode #1, and no boobs are shown), and there’s virtually no sex scenes(there are two after-sex scenes, but it doesn’t count). It could be that the producers just didn’t want to follow the bad example of other TV-shows that are overusing sexuality and provocative sex scenes to attract viewers’ attention(i.e. “It’s not Porn, it’s HBO”), or maybe it’s a consideration with the fact that Daredevil, after all, is a Catholic superhero.
In any case, whatever the reason for this “puritanism” may be – I totally approve it. I am too a little bit sick of all the pornography fashion in the TV series. Some say that in our overly noisy world, silence is louder than a scream… In the same way, I believe that these days, actually avoiding of sex depiction in a series can be much more subversive and innovative, than the most sexually provocative scene on-screen.
In most known to me TV and cinema productions of this genre, superheroes had various kinds of relationships with the authorities. In some cases, it was mutual respect and cooperation – like in Batman/Gordon relationship. In other cases it’s disapproval and suspicion like Lance/Green-Arrow dynamics(in the first seasons of Arrow). However, I can’t recall even one other case where the law authorities were depicted so vastly and almost hopelessly corrupted as they were shown in the Daredevil series. I see great importance in this, as I believe that such depictions help develop a healthy critical thinking – which is very important for promoting civil action to make a better society for us all.
Besides that, even though the series was filmed long before the Baltimore Riots, it’s hard not to feel the same mistrust of authorities, and specifically police, that is echoing in this series. By this, may it be intended or not, Daredevil series truly represents the spirit of its time.
Sympathy for the devil
It’s really pisses me off that I even need to mention such elementary fact: if you want to have a good story, you need to have a fucking good villain. I’d be surprised if it’s not one of the first things that they teach at screen-writing schools, and creative-writing workshops. It’s not enough for the villain to be evil – he needs to be someone who can capture the viewers’ imagination, to make them at least partly understand him, and maybe even to feel for him. He needs to be a multi-layered, well-developed character. Not just “a bad guy”. Nevertheless, it keeps me amazed how many action movies/series miserably fail to follow such a basic rule.
Luckily, that’s not the case in the Daredevil series. Actually, the main nemesis of Daredevil, the crime-lord Wilson Fisk(a.k.a Kingpin, brilliantly played by Vincent D’Onofrio), gave maybe the best supervillain performance since the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. In both cases it was a rare combination of pretty good script lines, character history, and masterful actor performance.
Actually, even more than that: the character of the Joker was just a complete and beautiful madness. A madness, that can’t be fully comprehended by a sane person – only appreciated for its beautiful decadence. Fisk, on the other hand, was more a combination of fearful strength and touching vulnerability. And Just like the Joker’s character partly stole the show from Batman, Fisk’s character also partly stole the show from the Daredevil. In some points of the plot, I must admit, he even made me want him to win.
Another thing that makes it even more ironic, is that the major love story in the series so far(we speak about first season) is actually the love story of Wilson Fisk and the art gallery curator Vanessa Marianna(played by the Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer). There is amazing contrast between the love-sick Fisk, and the cold-hearten criminal-mastermind.
So to sum things up: yeah, indeed, indeed Daredevil was almost, ALMOST perfect. The only thing that spoiled it was the season’s finale – and if you want to read my bitching about it, just scroll below, but be warned: there are spoilers.
Okay, so about the last episode(better to read it after you watch it):
For fuck’s sake, I just don’t get it. Looking at it from outside, it almost looks like the screen-writers just decided to give-up on the last episode, and said – “okay, we’ll just gonna write something mediocre because we’re close to the deadline.
It’s really amazing how the creators of the series built-up the tension until that episode, only to leave us blue-balled and unsatisfied.
Like, really? That’s how the big Kingpin goes to down? Because of one snitch? And then he runs away only to be tackled by the Daredevil? After treating the viewer’s intelligence with such unusual for this genre respect, during the most of the series, the ending fist-fight was like a stabbing in the back. An insult. This scene just screams “we knew that we had to make final battle, so we invented something totally artificial in order to make it happen. I think that it could be even better if their final battle wouldn’t have happened at all. After all – life is unpredictable. Sometime the big bad nemesis goes to jail, and you don’t get a WWE style fighting. Just like the death of James Wesley taught us that sometimes even the highly-intelligent and trusted men make stupid mistakes that cost them their lives.
But the most annoying thing, at least for me, was the new costume.
Yeah, of course I know this is the traditional costume of Daredevil in the comic-books, yet I’m quite sure, they could have make it a little less ridicules and embarrassing. They were building tension for this outfit for almost the whole series, yet when the time has come to show it off, it looked a low-budget fanboy costume. It’s supposed to be fucking bullet-proof/stabbing-proof! Well, nevermind.