Netflix Tag-Team Review: Daredevil is Awesome

You might have guessed that I enjoy to collaborate, and given the fun I had with Hannah on the Age of Ultron review, I’ve been dropping some major hints! So when our Instigator-In-Chief, Gene’O, suggested a collaboration on Daredevil, I jumped at the chance.

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First, we’ll start with our overall views before we break it down a little and end on a verdict!

Mel – As a television show, Daredevil works for a number of reasons. It has a dark, edgy comic book feel to the production; great characters you can enjoy even if you don’t know their history, and a hero who is fighting his own personal demons while taking out the trash! I’ve always been a fan of Matt Murdock and, although I was nervous about how the character would be represented, I had high hopes for the show. I wasn’t disappointed.

Gene’O – I’ve always had a soft spot for Daredevil myself, and I was not disappointed either. In fact one of the things I like about the show is its “dark-but-not-too-dark” tone. It manages to be a serious show without taking itself too seriously. I think that’s mostly in the acting, and I have to say, the casting is phenomenal. Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk is an especially inspired choice . . . but let me not get ahead of myself in the intro.

The Good

Mel – The differing points of view. It is especially powerful when the audience is allowed to see through Matt’s eyes; what he hears, feels, experiences.

The fight scenes – the choreography is wonderful; some of the best I’ve watched. An example of that would be the corridor scene from Episode 2 ‘Cut Man’. It reflected the character beautifully and, to me, was a personification of Matt’s fighting spirit.

Gene’O – I agree about the fight choreography. It’s beautifully done. The two I find most memorable are the final showdown and this one, which is absolutely epic. [WARNING: BIG-TIME SPOILER HERE.]

I also think the points of view work well, but the thing that stood out the most for me were the relationships. This is a well-scripted and superbly acted show. The characters are complex, and there are a lot of emotional moments in this series that just feel genuine. That’s not something I expected in a Netflix superhero series. It was a welcome surprise.daredevil_netflix_claire

MelI have to jump in here, Gene’o because I completely agree about the relationships. I particularly enjoyed the character-centric episodes, “Nelson v. Murdock” being my favourite. The acting in that episode was superb; raw and extremely moving. Matt and Foggy’s relationship is one of the highlights for me – their dynamic works so well. I also enjoyed Matt and Claire’s chemistry, especially when we got to see his vulnerable side.

Gene’O – And I have one more. I like the way they handled the Daredevil costume. You know it’s got to be coming from the beginning, but it’s very late in the season before it’s even developed, and it’s an important element of the plot. I thought the reveal, when we finally got there, was a huge payoff and worked well.

Mel – I agree. The build up to the reveal was particular well-timed. I was so excited that, by the time we saw the suit, the tension was killing me! So cool.

The Not-So-Good

Gene’O – I had a hard time coming up with any of these, but this is a review, so we must find something to criticize 😉 If the show has a weakness, it’s in some of the supporting cast. Even though Vincent D’Onofrio’s Fisk is so good, he could almost carry the show on his own, I thought some of the villains could have been better.

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I don’t think there are any poor performances or terrible casting choices here, I just thought a lot of the bad guys were . . . well . . . forgettable.

And I may take some heat for this one. Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson annoyed me at times. I thought he overplayed some of the more serious dramatic moments, but that may be as much about direction as about Nelson’s technique. And he does get props for doing well with the occasional comedic bits.

Mel – You won’t get any heat from me about Foggy, though I loved his character I will admit. If I have a criticism it’s that, after the emotional roller coaster of “Nelson v. Murdock,” his ultimate acceptance felt a little rushed.

As for Vincent, he was superb. My favourite scenes were when he lost control. I loved his sinister energy, and the fact he turned into a rage monster. It was bound to happen, given how much he suppressed. That said, there were times he reminded me of Goren from Criminal Intent.

In an effort to be constructive, because I’m also having a hard time finding fault with the show, I did feel the transitions were a little lacking at times. I also agree about the villains in general, which is why I’m really looking forward to the next season and keeping my fingers crossed we get to meet ninja cult, The Hand.

Gene’O: LOL. Criminal Intent. I didn’t pick up on the Goren vibe, but I agree about the transitions. A few times, as I was starting a new episode, I went and scanned through the last 10 minutes of the previous episode to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I’m also hoping we get to meet The Hand, and I like the supernatural undercurrent that seems to be developing.

The Verdict

Gene’O — If you like action/drama with plenty of grit and the martial arts turned up to 11, give Daredevil a look, even if you don’t typically go in for comics characters. On a five-point scale, I give it a solid 4.5. I’m tempted to rate it higher, but it’s not quite perfect, though it is one heck of an entertaining series.

Mel – I’ll concede to the rating for an overall score, though there are some episodes (such as “Stick”) I would give a 5. Matt Murdock is a compelling character, and it’s not only his tremendous skills, it’s his heart, the vulnerability that pulls you in. He’s a hero who is struggling with his own dark side which, granted, is not a unique trope, but the show handles character conflict exceptionally well. Add in the action, the dark comic-book feel to the show, and the strong relationships and it’s a hit in my book!daredevil_netflix_charlie

Gene’O – Yes, some of the individual episodes are 5’s all the way. I agree about “Stick,” and I’ll add “Cut Man” to the list. There was absolutely no chance of me not finishing this season after that episode. Did we just write an entire review of Daredevil without mentioning Charlie Cox??? I’m a bit of a Charlie Cox fanboy, but even if I weren’t, I’d still have to say. He is pitch-perfect in this.

Mel – I could wax lyrical about Charlie Cox all day! You’re right. He’s perfect for the role, so colour me a fangirl for Charlie and Matt both!

Gene’O – Thanks, Melissa! This is so much fun!

Mel – It’s my pleasure. I think it might just be my favourite way to review! Fair warning though, I’m hoping to convince you to make it a feature. With all the great contributors here on Sourcerer, it should be a blast. I appreciate the chance to work with you on it.

But now we’ve had our say, it’s over to you. How would you rate Daredevil? What are your highlights from the show? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Top 10 Marvel Characters, part 1

by Jeremy DeFatta

Good day, everyone! Today, I want to offer all of you the first half of my top ten favorite Marvel characters. Let’s jump right in with numbers 1-5!

1. Captain America – What can I say? It’s just not the Avengers without him. He is good and kind and those are Capshieldhis greatest strengths, even beyond being a super soldier. There have been a lot of rough patches in his characterization over the years (he’s a few years shy of being as old as Superman and Batman, after all), but recent writers have made him a compassionate advocate for civil rights and all forms of justice. Regardless of your feelings about the character or even the United States in real life, Steve Rogers is now used to demonstrate what is best about us rather than focusing on negative things.

2. Thor – I’ll admit I have a soft spot for Norse myths, but there is more to it than that. It is reasonable to say that Jack Kirby likely decided to include an established pagan god in the Avengers in order to lend weight to his construction of superheroes as a modern American body of mythology. In this interconnected way, Marvel superheroes and Thor sort of endlessly make each other interesting to me. I strongly recommend checking out the current run of Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron. It is well worth it.

3. Daredevil – I’m a big fan of Matt Murdock and have read a lot of different versions of him. Frank Miller, Kevin Smith, David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, and Mark Waid have all left very different marks on the character but each succeeds in making him interesting and compelling. Check out my Top Marvel Stories Since 2000 post to see more of my thoughts on the character.

4. Luke Cage – Luke Cage is a fairly straightforward, but anomalous, character. His origins seem tossed together and LukeCagehis early adventures in the 70s are painfully corny. That said, Brian Michael Bendis made him a stand-out character to root for during his run on New Avengers. Bendis has a bit of a knack for making C-list characters great, and Luke Cage is now a beloved and recognizable superhero.

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5. Dr. Strange – Stephen Strange was a mild-mannered, middle-aged surgeon until tragedy befell him and a career-ending injury sent him in search of new ways to heal himself. Now, Dr. Strange is the most powerful magic-using character in the Marvel Universe and has been involved in every major event of the past decade. He is currently one of the main characters in Jonathan Hickman’s run on New Avengers, which I highly recommend.

And that’s the first half of my list. What do you guys think so far? Who are some of your favorite characters from Marvel? Let me know your thoughts below. Don’t forget to support your local comic shops. I guarantee you can find a lot of stories featuring these characters and many, many others in those sacred spaces. Tweet me @quaintjeremy.

Images: Captain America Shield via Wikimedia (public domain); Luke Cage portrait by Leinil Francis Yu via Wikipedia; Doctor Strange image from the 1994 Spider Man animated series via Wikipedia.

All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1996 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Comics News: Daredevil, Batman, Forever People and More!

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by Jeremy DeFatta

Good day, everyone! Today, I have a comics and comics-related news roundup. Much like the last one I put together, this is by no means comprehensive. Rather, I am simply listing and commenting on those things that have stood out to me in my online voyaging in recent weeks. Let’s dive right in.

Marvel

It looks like all of the upcoming Netflix series (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and the Defenders) will be filmed in New York City. Daredevil, the first of the new series, will begin filming this July. Apparently, rumors have surfaced that Michael C. Hall (of Dexter fame) is being sought to portray Matt Murdock/Daredevil. I’m pretty cool with this.

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5 Classic Marvel runs since 2000

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By Jeremy DeFatta

(These are in No Particular Order)

Daredevil – Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, and various other artists

I have to say, I love it when the perfect character, writer, and penciler are united on a title. A great example of that is the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil. Say what you will about Bendis’s recent work; this may have actually been his prime. This also has some wonderful thematic crossovers with the other titles he was working on for Marvel at the time, namely New Avengers, Alias, and The Pulse. If you’re a big Matt Murdock fan like me, this is a must-read period in the character’s history. While I love Waid and Samnee’s current run on the character, this is a much darker and grittier version of Daredevil whose darkness and grittiness won’t make you roll your eyes in disgust.

Astonishing X-Men – Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Not long after the idiotic cancellation of Firefly but years before Marvel entrusted the fate of their entire Cinematic Universe to him, Whedon had a roughly four year run on an X-Men title. I have to say, if you haven’t read it, you should. It is a work of genius with great character moments, the usual smattering of witty Whedon dialog, and great casting choices. With a team including Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Emma Frost, Kitty Pride, and Colossus, how can you go wrong? This is definitely worth a read and will make you wonder what else Whedon could do with the characters Marvel no longer has movie rights to.

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