Friday, 24 July 2015

Daredevil (series)

Have you seen it yet? Lets assume you haven't, so we'll keep this as free from spoilers as feasible.

Look a picture, happy now?
There's a lot of positive feedback for this series, from some judiciously selected luminaries and quite possibly that positive reception is justified. Speaking personally though, while I did enjoy the series, it's some distance from how I envision the Daredevil mythos. Dark, that's how it is, yes lets get a flow of adjectives going; gritty, sombre, earthy, morally ambiguous, does that give an indication of the territory we're in?

Daredevil's fictional world is populated by corrupt officials and perfidious authority, just like the real one, and dealing with such issues places demands that test the inviolable morality of the heroic stereotype. So we can expect some of the post code era, angst driven bouts of self doubt and questioning can't we? Er no not really, here Matt Murdoch/Daredevil takes his cues from a different iteration of popular literature, that of the pulp detective/vigilante genre, as practised my Hammett and Spillane. That is, if literature is the source of such influence, it could be it comes from television dramas like, The Sopranos and True Detective.

The comparison between Mike Hammer and Murdoch/Daredevil is compelling, he uses the same indicators to delineate his morality. Everyone is metered with same brutal treatment, unless they happen to be a female or child and this aspect is alluded to quite self consciously at a few points in the script. So we're not subjected to some naive fictional construct where the boundaries of good and evil are coincident with our hero's prejudice. The moral ambiguity goes further though, Murdoch isn't just a diamond in the rough, he's pretty much a complete, fully rounded psychopath, only just outdone in the atrocities he commits, by his nemesis Wilson Fisk.

The Fisk/Murdoch dichotomy is the meat of the drama that Daredevil concerns itself with. It's where it both excels and where its weaknesses lie. I quite like Wilson, in fact it's hard not get behind him and cheer him on, in a few places. There is one particular instance, close to the end of the series where there is an encounter with one the sympathetic characters, that leaves him with a certain justification, albeit contrasted with his overreaction and its consequences. This is where the drama fails to an extent, Murdoch gets away pretty much unscathed from any examination of the consequences of his behaviour, whereas Fisk is continually put under the glare of exposition.

There are occasions where the pace of the drama gets a bit slow in the series and there are a couple of episodes where it seems nothing much gets done except for a few plot points. The fight scenes have come in for some praise and while they're quite good and it starts off well, it gets to a point where it seems a bit predicable and there were a few moments where it seemed it was a case of: cut to punch up. I want to conclude on positive note because it was a pretty good watch but if you haven't seen it yet and you decide to give it a spin, you might want to go through a few episodes back to back, where a particular episode drags a bit.


  1. I've only seen the first episode, so can't really judge whether you assessment is accurate, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it is. Isn't that big of me? (No, having more than one wife is bigamy. Boom-boom.)

    1. Do you think you'll be watching the rest of the series? It would be interesting to have your thoughts on it, I get the feeling they would be quite strident.

    2. I can only watch it in a friend's house because he's got the channel it's broadcast on and I don't. If I see any more, I'll let you know what I think. A couple of people I know prefer it by far to Gotham, which I quite enjoy (although I haven't seen them all).

    3. I haven't seen anything of Gotham besides a few clips, they didn't really draw me in. In fact I forgot about it otherwise I would've watched some and made a comparison.