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Daredevil's mix of realism and gorgeous cinematography makes it worth a look
Daredevil isn’t an expansive world like the Avengers or ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Daredevil doesn’t care to save the world like the rest of the Marvel universe. Blind attorney by day, Matthew Murdock is intent only on saving his neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen. When the power of the law fails him, he is forced to don a black mask and save the neighborhood on his own.
The physics of his powers are not revealed until episode five. Murdock does in fact see, just not how you or I would see. Rather he perceives a “world on fire,” constructed by his other heightened senses, a result of the chemical spill that took his sight in the first place. The true strength of this show isn’t in it’s logic. Let’s face it, there really isn’t a lot of that. This is a ride meant for fun.
At the heart of the story are male relationships. Murdock and best friend Foggy Nelson are bonded more than any romantic relationship while antagonist Wilson Fisk and his assistant Wesley have a similar dynamic. Fisk and Murdock are mirrored by their ladies. Both have romantic attachments to women who know their dirty secret.
Sometimes, however, the good guys are just too good. The problem with the protagonists is their earnestness. It’s quite odd to watch a noir-y show with swearing and hard themes while the characters are so full of cheese.
Great villains are driven by doing what they think is the right thing. Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin, truly believes his actions are for the betterment of the city. If the writers didn’t want viewers to feel for the guy, they shouldn’t have dedicated an entire episode to his horrible upbringing. They shouldn’t have brought in love interest Vanessa who is by far the best written female character (not that that’s hard, because there are only three female characters on the show).
The scenes are staged exceedingly well. The first and last episodes of the season echo each other. The season finale stages a sequence that recalls The Godfather, though in the opposite way. [SPOILER ALERT] Instead of Michael Corleone having the five families executed while he’s at a baptism, Murdock is able to have all the people under Fisk’s thumb arrested.
Daredevil is dark, gritty, and extremely beautiful to watch. Matt Murdock’s one-shot fight scene against Russian child sellers is breathtaking. He doesn’t just hack his way through and call it a day. He doesn’t knock out every Russian with one punch like is the custom in most high budget films. He has to keep coming back to his adversaries as they gain their wind back to knock them down again. All the while he is tired. Shows about vigilantes aren’t usually hailed for their realism, so this was something that was so satisfying to watch.
Daredevil is a New York show, but confined to the claustrophobic and seedy neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. The aesthetic is as beautiful as it is disconcerting. Matt Murdock while blind, is able to construct a radar from his other senses, heightened by cinematography. When he says that he sees a “world on fire” the visuals illustrate that. Somehow, you can really believe that a blind lawyer is able to beat his adversaries into a pulp.