Thursday, April 30, 2015

Countdown to Avengers 2: Daredevil: Into the Ring

Avengers: Age of Ultron officially premieres tomorrow! Since January we've been counting down to the film's release with Nerd Lunch and Cavalcade of Awesome by looking at different aspects of "Phase 2" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).


We've looked at Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Now it's time for our final pre-Ultron post, and for that, we head to Hell's Kitchen for the pilot episode of Netflix's Daredevil!

Beware spoilers for Daredevil and other Marvel productions!

Daredevil: Into the Ring

I'll just come out and say it - Daredevil, a joint effort between Marvel and Netflix - is one of the best projects Marvel has ever done. It's well acted, well scripted, and competently produced.

And this was just Marvel testing the Netflix waters. Shows revolving around superheroes Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the Iron Fist are planned, before a team up ala The Avengers in a fifth show - The Defenders.

While I have seen the entire series, we're just covering the pilot episode. But what a pilot! We start out with a frantic and emotional scene that shows how Matt Murdock, the man who will become Daredevil, was blinded as a boy (saving an innocent of course). This is followed up by the adult Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) confessing to his priest. This scene fluctuates between charming, emotional and dark, and Cox just nails it. I can see showbiz hopefuls using it as a monologue in their acting classes in the future.

What we see next - and what Matt was asking forgiveness for in advance (that's cheating!) - is our hero saving a group of kidnapped young women from the sex trade. The fight scene is fierce and brutal, and shows you what you're in for in terms of the action and choreography of the show. 

Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, a woman Matt helps who goes on to be his employee, was effortless in the role. The only actor I didn't really like was Elden Henson who played Foggy Nelson, Matt's law partner. He did grow on me over time, but I'm confident they could have found someone with a little more talent.

As for references to the MCU, there weren't that many in the pilot. We get some references to alien attacks and destruction (the battle with the Chitauri from The Avengers). There were more as the show went on, but the pilot was pretty light, which I think was intentional.

There are already rumors that Daredevil and the rest of the Defenders will fit into a future Avengers film. I say bring it on. I'm looking forward to revisiting Hell's Kitchen.

Thoughts from CT at Nerd Lunch...

Robert asked me to contribute some thoughts about the first episode of Daredevil, but I wound up watching the whole thing. It is episodic, but plays as a 13-hour long movie in a lot of ways. Everyone applauded Guardians of the Galaxy for telling a different kind of story in the MCU and proving how versatile it can be. Granted, this is something that comic readers have already known. The comics' world contains super powers, advanced tech, magic, monsters, supernatural forces and just regular ol' street crime. With the Daredevil TV series, Marvel has done it again and told a story unlike anything they've done and set it in a world with magic hammers and iron suits. Strip a few things out, and this is a simple crime drama. But place it in the context of the MCU and it's so much more.


As a result, I think this is the start of something special and I applaud Marvel and the success they've had with this series. I hope the subsequent shows are as good and I look forward to more Daredevil in the future. Hopefully he'll get a movie appearance someday, too.

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