Daredevil’s first season does not turn a blind eye to justice

Colleen Kelly

“Daredevil” is Netflix’s latest hit TV series released on April 10 of this year. The series is based off one of Marvel’s most famous solo comic book titles. Unlike the 2004 abomination that was the Ben Affleck movie adaptation of the same name we don’t talk about for reasons, this adaptation is outstanding.

“Daredevil” follows Matt Murdock: fledgling attorney with big dreams for his crime-stricken neighborhood Hell’s Kitchen, New York by day, and badass vigilante standing up to drug rings and corrupt corporations by night. Yet, this isn’t your typical idealistic-average-Joe-slaps-on-a-suit origin story.

While saving an elderly man from being hit by a truck transporting hazardous chemical waste, Murdock was splashed in the eyes by its spilled cargo and blinded at nine years old. The accident left him blind, yes, but his other senses became supernaturally heightened to the point that he can smell someone a block away, discern whether you’re lying from listening to your heartbeat and can sense the contents within a room better than any sighted person could hope to. That coupled with his years of mostly self-trained martial arts make for a potent combination when fighting evil, legally or otherwise.

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock absolutely hits it out of the park. In an interview, he let slip that he hadn’t done any research for the role and had no idea the character was blind until a friend asked him the night before his audition how he would play that. I’m not sure how true to life that story is, but I hope like heck that it is.

Cox does a fantastic job of portraying a blind man without it ever getting unintentionally comical or heavy-handed. He has no trouble conveying the dry wit and humor of his character, or delivering those more emotionally charged chunks of dialogue (like when interrogating the head of the Russian mafia in a warehouse with police circling outside). A key element of this character is body language. I like Cox’s ability to be silent in a room, yet still have presence.

Other standout performances to note are Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Murdock’s best friend and business partner; Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, a no-nonsense, brilliant nurse who patches Daredevil up after fights; and Vincent D’Onofrio as our main villain Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk, who strikes a nuanced balance between sympathetic and downright evil.

The cinematography is stunning. Every shot is framed beautifully. The color palette, lighting, sound mixing and costuming (you really believe Murdock threw his suit together via eBay) are all evidence of show runner Steven S. DeKnight’s attention to detail and passion for the story.

The scene that sold me on the show from a technical standpoint was during a fight scene at the end of episode two in which an already wounded Murdock confronts a human trafficking ring to save a recently abducted child. The result? Three long, meticulous minutes of a single camera’s shot panning from one end of the hall to the other to catch the choreographed fight in its fluid entirety. It’s kind of amazing.

“Daredevil” had a great first season. The story is updated, cohesive, exciting, dark and full of heart. The series left itself a lot of room to grow thematically and in terms of characterization, and it’s that sort of focus and self-awareness that gives “Daredevil” such a solid first season to leave you wanting more.

There are thirteen one hour-long episodes all currently available on Netflix.

Verdict: 5/5 stars