“Daredevil”: The Final Analysis

Overall grade: No letter or number grades from me, they end up looking way too weird (I have the urge to give “Justified’s” seasons 1 and 5 a B when in fact I found 5 better…but not good enough for a B+. Stuff like that)

So, a thumbs up. I’ll try this:

Worse than:

  • Sherlock
  • Justified
  • Firefly

As good as:

  • Roughly, “Better Call Saul”, though I probably would give the second show the edge at gunpoint, thanks to superior dialogue mostly.

Better than:

  • House (fairly close, though)
  • Castle (blowout)
  • Bones (blowout)
  • [What I’ve seen of] Supernatural

…Annnnnnnd everything else I watch is sports or sitcoms (or occasionally certain very, very good cartoons), so bad comparisons.

I’ll also do this:

Great Episodes:

  • “Cut Man”, Episode 2
  • “Condemned”, Episode 6
  • “Speak of the Devil”, Episode 9

Very Good Episodes:

  • “Into the Ring”, Episode 1
  • “Daredevil”, episode 13
  • “The Path of the Righteous”, Episode 11 (This very nearly went onto the great list, by the way – awesome twist ending)
  • “Stick”

The rest weren’t particularly memorable to me, and ranged from “Okay” to “Good”.

A word on the finale [spoilers, obviously]: Apparently, it got mixed reviews. Well, screw that, okay? The finale was awesome. YEAH, all right, Fisk’s whole operation probably wouldn’t have gone down THAT quickly just because a single guy ratted on them, but hey, they wanted things to move at a brisk pace, so I’m okay with that. The Daredevil/Kingpin fight was awesome, and a fitting climax for a show that excelled in fight scenes.

Stray Thoughts:

  • The fight scenes really were outstanding – like, out of this world, crazy good. I’m still floored by, not only how good they were, but how consistently good they were. The single take hallway fight scene in episode 2 is quite possibly my favorite fight scene in anything, ever. It was that good. The Nobu fight was pretty great as well.
  • The acting generally was excellent (I could never fully buy into the performance of the actress playing Karen, though), but Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin and Charlie Cox as Daredevil were both outstanding. Interesting how so many of my favorite shows have that terrific one-two punch like that…
  • I’ve been saying it all along, but I really, really do like Foggy. I didn’t think I would, but the character is fun and the actor portraying him puts on a good performance. Color me pleasantly surprised that he’s more entertaining than annoying.
  • If I could fix one thing, it would be to add more action. This is one of very few series where I actually want LESS scene-setting and background detail and more action and fighting. It actually feels weird even writing that out because it’s so counter-intuitive to how I think about writing and superhero media in general (“Age of Ultron” in particular could have benefited from the opposite advice), but there you go. The pacing got a bit slow in the middle and the show is so good at fight scenes more would have been welcome.

And Finally:

How AWESOME does this Jessica Jones trailer look?

Seriously! It looks absolutely terrifying. They made a mistake not releasing this by Halloween. I haven’t been this excited about a trailer since the trailer for season six of “Justified”.

…Which wasn’t that long ago, actually.

Whatever. The show looks awesome.

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6 Responses to “Daredevil”: The Final Analysis

  1. Syllabus says:

    What did you think of the characterization of Father Lantom?

    • I liked him quite a bit. His monologue about belief in the devil was somewhat predictable, but made interesting because of his earlier claim that he DISbelieved in the devil.

      I liked that he actually took on the whole “devil as challenger” crap, and rejected it. Cool scene.

  2. Kevin Stuart Lee says:

    Given my particular culture war concerns, my favorite scenes were those developing Matt’s faith via increasingly fruitful interactions with his priest. They provide well-written depictions of a religious-layman relationship.

    I was also struck by how forcefully the show presented the dark underbelly of the Marvel cinematic universe. Since “Iron Man” and Nolan’s Batman trilogy, respectively, Marvel has for the most part specialized in more innocent superhero outings, while DC has aimed more to service the side of the market that demands edgier fare. Then the first episode of “Daredevil”, with its scenes of human trafficking and bloody murder, kicks you very immediately into the realization that the MCU’s lighter and brighter feel is in large part a product of where the camera is pointing. While the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy have their riotous adventures, both fighting supervillains relatively bloodlessly, viscerally evil acts are being committed in the shadows. At first it was hard for me to square the tones. I recently realized, thanks to John C. Wright’s recent post on the hellish books assigned to his highschoolers and the comments that followed it, that it’s not a question of reconciling the different tenors. The MCU, like the world of Greek mythology, like that of the Old and New Testaments, like that of today, is a full-blooded universe in which the sunny and shadowy play out in these times before the angels separate the wheat from the chaff. The contrast between Daredevil in his gritty quest for justice beating bloody a father for raping his own daughter, and Scott Lang sharing dinner with his beloved daughter, family, and their giant pet ant after an overall hilarious adventure at the end of “Ant-Man” shows well how rich with the human drama the MCU is.

    • What’s great about “Daredevil” is how it gets so much darker AND keeps that trademark MCU optimism. Daredevil may get the crap beat out of him on a regular basis, he might live in a world of human traffickers and child molesters, he might be forced into the role of violent vigilante in his quest for justice, but dammit, Daredevil WINS. And not only does he win, it’s an unambiguous and complete victory. I really like how “Daredevil” manages to have their cake and eat it in that way.

  3. GRA says:

    I saw a review of the first six episodes of Daredevil by a few Catholics. They liked it. You then came to mind since I knew you did this sort of stuff as well – review tv series and whatnot. I’ll take your word and others, and dive into Daredevil this upcoming week.

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