There’s always been something about me and underdogs. I love rooting for the underdogs. Even as a kid who loved comic books, while my friends were buying Punisher, Wolverine, and Batman, I was spending my time on Darkhawk, War Machine, Night Thrasher and Superman. The last character is iconic and a household name, sure, but he wasn’t in regular circulation in my circle of friends that collected comic books. It’s been hell being a fan of “Daredevil” for many years without proper justice paid to him. Surely, Frank Miller did an amazing job with him for a few years, but watching other characters get big screen treatments while Daredevil literally got short handed was irritating.
Daredevil is such an amazing and dynamic superhero who uses his disabilities as an advantage in his world, and for many years nothing was happening with the character. I guess you could count his appearance in “Trial of the Incredible Hulk” if you’re really desperate. And if you have no other option the Affleck adaptation is fine for a time killer, but it’s gratifying that someone finally adapted Daredevil, my favorite Marvel superhero of all time, in to the gritty hard boiled crime fighter I always knew he could be. Netflix’s “Daredevil” series is “Law and Order” meets “Batman,” where our hero is a flawed and complex man prone to getting the crap kicked out of him time and time again.
When hero Matt Murdock goes out at night dressed in black as Daredevil, he is almost always likely to get hurt very badly, and almost always comes out of it by the skin of his teeth. In one episode he nearly dies, and is discovered by kindly nurse Claire Temple, as played by Rosario Dawson. It’s only because of her good heart that he’s able to pull through without being turned over to the Kingpin’s forces. “Daredevil” and its first season are an uphill battle for Matt Murdock, who is a blind lawyer working out of a dilapidated office struggling to battle Wilson Fisk. At night he goes out as an avenger trying to stop the demolishing of a poor neighborhood in Hell’s Kitchen New York.
What we view is the opening of a world we never knew existed, and slowly Matt realizes that the world he’s witness is cruel, disgusting, and merciless. “Daredevil” is a ballsy adaptation of the comics that matches the violence and grit from the series beat for beat. Matt as Daredevil is a merciless and skilled warrior who is fueled by the need for justice and throttles criminals left and right with his martial arts abilities. Season one is filled to the brim with top notch talent and production quality, including wonderful choreography, excellent performances, brilliant references to the Marvel universe, and an unnerving pace that keeps the narrative barreling down on our audience. Suffice it to say, season one was a huge success for this Daredevil buff, and as a reflection on what Netflix has given to fans, here are five of my favorite moments of “Daredevil” season one.
I am without a doubt returning for season two. What are some of your favorite moments of season one?
5. Karen Kills Wesley
I did not see the death of Wesley coming. I figured that Wilson Fisk’s BFF would have been around at least until season five, but lo and behold. When we met Karen Page in the beginning of the series, we knew she would do anything to survive. Not only is she quick witted and clever, but she’s also ruthless when she wants to be. When she begins spear heading a campaign to smear Wilson Fisk, his right hand man Wesley takes it upon himself to set Karen straight. He kidnaps her and uses the art of intimidation with the help of a gun to insist she begin cheering on Wilson, or else her life is ruined. Karen snatches the gun and aims it and before he can scoff off her courage, she proceeds to shoot him multiple times in the chest. The look of shock in his eyes before he dies reflects the audiences, that’s for sure. Karen’s act of survival sets off a chain of events leading to the blood soaked finale and helps us gain insight in to how far she’ll go to stay alive and protect her friends.
4. The Final Showdown
It is pretty excellent to see Daredevil get his costume in the finale of the first season and he’s able to take on Wilson Fisk one last time before he goes to jail. After barely surviving the battle against Nobu, Matt battles Wilson Fisk, who charges like a rhino and also happens to have armor all over his body. Tracking down the same armor maker Wilson does, the persona of Daredevil is born, with red digs and horns all in one neat bow, allowing Matt to take Wilson on once again, and evenly matched. It’s a fantastic last stand between two foes on opposite sides of the war, both of whom are battling for the fate of New York City. To boot, Matt finally has a costume that can strike fear in to the hearts of criminals everywhere.
3. The Death of Ben Urich
Ben Urich is a consummate figure in the background of the comics watching while events unfold and chronicling the rise of Daredevil. Which is why it’s a humongous shock that his character dies in season one. The comics don’t make a big fuss of turning Urich in to an example of Fisk’s power, but lo and behold, here he’s a man fighting against a rising tide who falls victim to a man of immense being. Played wonderfully by Vondi Curtis Hall, Urich is the classic hard nosed reporter fighting against a media conglomerate that is being consumed by Fisk. He makes the big mistake of investigating Fisk by interviewing his elderly mother alongside Karen. When Urich is confronted by Fisk, he insists he worked alone in interviewing his mother, but this proves fatal when Fisk brutally strangles him in cold blood. With this act, Karen now knows the lengths Fisk will go to to protect himself, and she now has more blood on her hands than ever. This shocking death promises to haunt Karen well in to her time on the show.
2. The Man Called Stick
Scott Glenn can play any character he wants, because he’s Scott Glenn. And as Stick he’s another in a line of brilliant casting decisions. In the comics, Stick is a blind warrior who helps train Matt Murdock to understand his powers and center himself as a future martial arts warrior. Glenn is wonderful as Stick, an unlikable son of a bitch who has his own motivations. Surely, he loves Matt, but he’s much too stuck to his own personal code of the warrior to ever bother to do what’s right. Stick is the epitome of the anti-hero who makes Daredevil look like a saint by comparison. As Stick he’s just slimy and underhanded, but he’s also very charismatic, and a pretty excellent enigma. We don’t know much about him, we just know that he has differing views from Matt that constantly keeps them batting at one another. Glenn is excellent as Stick, and I hope to see more of him in season two.
1. The Hallway Fight
It’s so obvious that the producers of the series channeled “Oldboy” while concocting one of the most visually stunning and emotional battles of the series. In season two, Matt attempts to rescue a kidnapped child from the Russian mafia. Still very injured and incredibly hobbled, he takes it upon himself to storm the underground lair of the mob and take on every single gangster single handedly. The scene is filmed in one continuous take that is utterly mesmerizing and sucked me right in to the emotional turmoil Matt was experiencing. This isn’t just a job for Matt, this is literally about life and death, and good and evil, and he’s willing to go through an army, singlehandedly, to save an innocent soul from being tarnished in the mob war gripping his city. The direction, paired with the choreography really helps elevate the scene in to pure raw heights of tension and anger as Matt jumps from room to room, unarmed, and bringing down whatever gangster he can. It is easily one of the best moments of television in 2015, and one that made me smile wide and for at least five minutes. This was when I finally realized that Netflix was taking Daredevil very seriously, just like he deserved.