Summary: I loved it!
Please skip this review if you don’t want spoilers. I personally hate spoilers because I enjoy being in the moment of a good series or movie. I don’t even like little spoilers. In fact, I know people who don’t even know how to differentiate what’s a spoiler and what’s not. I have serious trust issues when it comes to spoilers. So I rambled just long enough for you to note that this review will contain some level of spoilers without accidentally spoiling anything for you. Last chance! Look away now!
I loved DareDevil on Netflix. Sure, there are little things that weren’t perfect, but in the grand scheme of things, it was great! I just wish DC could get their act together. I’m a Batgirl, but Marvel has been on a role! I’m now a bit of an Iron Girl and Captain America fangirl!
First of all, I’m very impressed with Charlie Cox’s acting skills. When Claire fixes Matt Murdock’s collapsed lung situation, he was gasping for air and it was believable to me. I cringed in sympathetic agony. The fight scenes weren’t the pristine Cpt. America / Iron Man scripted scenes. It was gritty, in your face, up close and personal… and bloody. He took out groups of bad guys by himself, yet he took a beating. You could see the exhaustion. You could see his legs trembling. He was constantly a hot mess. There was a certain believability to the scenes and the character. Clearly, he was not the superman type of hero, but he obviously wasn’t just an ordinary man. I felt like they conveyed exactly what kind of superhero he was and established his mortality well.
Something else I’m happy with, is that it wasn’t heavily focused on the origin story but that you did get adequate pieces of it. This season was right in the middle, between origin and putting on the suit (which he does at the very end). It’s the man with no fear. In certain scenes, they do a flash back from his childhood but it’s short and related to the scene he’s currently in. It helps shed a light on why he does what he does. I think it’s a well balanced compromise to the “origin story” conundrum (I may right about that some time). He also explains his “world on fire” vision a few times and luckily they didn’t over do this one either. You aren’t seeing a world on fire effect through out the series, which I feel was a good choice!
Another thing I’m really happy with, is Kingpin and the dynamic of good vs evil. Vincent D’Onofrio was charming and very good at portraying a tortured soul. I really did feel like Fisk didn’t like hurting people and that he felt he was doing the right thing. I felt empathy for the character. I’ve said this before, a good villain isn’t about being “evil” as much as about believing they are right and making compromises. The ends justify the means. DareDevil said he enjoyed beating up people, but he doesn’t kill people. I believed that he enjoys it but let’s be perfectly honest, he has caused deaths as a result of his actions. Throwing someone off a building… setting someone on fire…. I think someone is in denial. Yet, DareDevil is the hero and Kingpin is the villain. I felt like they both genuinely love Hells Kitchen, both justify their violence, but have a different approach to “fixing” the city. They have both made ethically compromising decisions and have to face that question… “Am I the bad guy?”
The only criticisms I have, was the predictability of plot points and the stereotypical portrayal of women as weak, selfish, and irresponsible. I knew Ben would die because Karen is too important of a character to die and it was her fault for being stereotypically selfish and irresponsible (why is this so common for women characters?). I knew that Karen was going to keep secrets that she shouldn’t – which is now common (and baffling) in tv shows these days. I knew Nelson was going to be dramatically butt-hurt over Murdock’s DareDevil secret which is also now a common tactic in tv shows as well. I knew Elena would die to garner sympathy from the viewers and give you a reason to be angry with Kingpin. I knew right away that Leland and the old lady poisoned Vanessa because she was a distraction to Fisk. The only thing I was actually surprised about was Wesley’s death. By the end, I was attached to him and I’m still very curious about Wesley and Fisk’s background story. Otherwise, it was easy to guess what the resulting consequence of each characters’ mistakes would be.
Side comment, I was surprised that Claire was portrayed as a potential love interest for DareDevil while Karen Page was just pining over him like a schoolgirl crush. I believe Claire is the love interest for Luke Cage and Karen is supposed to be DareDevil’s girlfriend. I feel like that cleared up that bit of confusion by the end of the season. Although I love Debra Ann Woll as an actress, I didn’t connect with Karen as much as I connected with Claire.
Even with my criticisms, I enjoyed DareDevil quite a bit! I highly recommend watching it!