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Daredevil

I was housesitting this weekend for a friend who has Netflix, so I was able to marathon the last six episodes of Daredevil Season 1.

It's a good show!

Before I go into it though, I should say that I have never read the Daredevil comics and don't know that much about the character beyond the basics of "Daredevil is blind, has super senses, and works as a lawyer by day. His enemy is named Kingpin."

[I also watched that Ben Affleck movie back when it came out and thought it sucked (made worse by the fact that I watched a bootleg theatre-recording of it, so half of the fight scenes I couldn't see because it was too damn dark.) Anyway, needless to say, the movie didn't make much of an impression. Was Elektra in it? She was - I just looked it up. Like I said, not much of an impression.]

Anyway, let's talk about the new Daredevil Netflix show:

Things I liked:

- The acting/casting is amazing. Everyone knocked it out of the park.

- I really liked Rosario Dawson's character, Claire, and I was super worried that they were going to fridge her - I'm so glad they didn't.

- That fight scene, the one-take hallway fight scene, was some of the best damn work I've ever seen on both TV and in the movies. Actually, I really don't think I've ever seen anything like it before at all. It was so amazing.

- Someone on tumblr said this, but I'm going to echo it - I like that the men can cry on the show. You never know how unrealistically stoic every other guy in the media is until you see people actually acting normal. Normal people start ugly crying when they're fighting with their best friends.... normal people start weeping when they've gone on a drinking binge because someone they loved died. I just loved it. It made the characters seem real. It made me empathize with them more.

- Someone else said, and I agree - that Daredevil is basically the story of one man's fight against gentrification. I think it's pretty awesome for that reason too.  (I thought it was Aaron Diaz who said it on twitter, but I can't find it now, so who knows.)

- Now, listen, I'm an athiest and I actually kind of distrust/dislike organized religion - but I really enjoyed the fact that Matt's catholicism was part of the framework of the story, and I liked the fact that religion is important to Matt and is a guiding force behind his actions/moral-conflict.

- Similarly, I liked how bringing down the bad guys = bringing them to justice, rather than killing them. I know there's far more satisfaction in killng them, for me anyway, but I guess it's kinda part of the reason that I enjoy Captain America too... sometimes I want my heroes to be better people than I am. (I don't mean to imply that Captain America doesn't kill people, because he obviously does, but he's better than me in other ways.)

- I love that Daredevil as a story is SO LOCALIZED. It's not about New York, it's about a TINY PART of New York. And it actually manages to take the smal scale and make it epic... a lot of superhero stories go big to make it epic. They make the fate of the whole world hang in the balance. Ultron is going to wipe out all of humanity, Loki is going to subjugate all of humanity, Hydra is going to kill millions of people all over the world, etc... Daredevil is just like "Hey, stop kicking people out of their crappy apartments over on 53th St., or I'm going to fuck you up!" It's awesome! I mean, I realize they set up a lot of stuff that might make it bigger later - Stick and his "war" and such, but we'll cross that bridge if/when we come to it.

- Languages... I loved that they had people speaking their native-tongues. I loved that they didn't make everyone speak accented english, like that was the only option. I also loved how they didn't always translate it... basically, they'd only translate it when it was clear that everyone in the scene understood the language and no one needed it translated through another character. If there was another character translating, then they translated for the audience as well, and we didn't get to know what was truly said.

What I didn't like:

- This is more a personal prefence thing.... but I don't care about villains. I recognize that they did a beautiful job setting up the parallels between Matt and Fisk, about how they both claimed to be trying to save Hell's Kitchen - one through preservation and one through gentrification. And it WAS well done and it WAS a cool parallel. I'm not denying that.... I'm just saying that I sat through all of Fisk's storylines with my editing fingers itching to remove them, to give myself only the hero's story - to NOT KNOW MORE THAN THE HERO DID. It's a preference on my part, I figure, for mystery....

I'm reading a series of books right now, written for young adults, called Alpha Force, and they're really great fun books - basically classic Mission Impossible but with teenagers. Anyway, there's always a chapter where everything goes right and then a chapter where everything goes wrong, and then the rest of the chapters are them trying to fix the situation or escape it or what have you. At the end of the chapter where everything goes right though, there's always a sentence along the lines of "If they had known what was to come, they would have made a different decision" - and I hate that f*cking sentence. I don't want to know! I want to be just as shocked as the heroes are when everything goes to shit in the next chapter. I don't want to be anticipating it beyond knowing that things need to go to shit for there to be a story for the rest fo the book.

So, yeah, as much as Vincent D'onofrio is a good actor and did a great job. I didn't care about Wilson Fisk/Kingpin and I didn't want to know about his dating troubles or his backstory. ("cool motive, still murder.")

That being said, if I DID re-edit the show - I would be sad to lose that last Fisk/Wesley scene, because it was pretty gorgeous and heartbreaking.

- The violence was, at times, too brutal for me, especially when Fisk kills the Russian.... I couldn't watch the show for a couple more days after that.



To Sum Up: Good show! But brutal. And, due solely to a personality-quirk of mine, if I were to rewatch it - it would be an edited version.

Comments

hells_half_acre
May. 4th, 2015 03:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, even when I wrote "creeped out" I knew it wasn't accurate, but I wasn't sure how else to describe her initial trepidation. I think that Vanessa COULD have been interesting. Did she have an edge to her? Was she turned on by the power more than the man? Does she have a bloodlust herself? All these questions would have been good to have answered on the show - and would have also made for more interesting villain stories, in my opinion, than just concentrating on Fisk.

I think Matt did kind of explain why he does the stuff. But, like everything to do with Matt, it was perhaps too lightly touched on. But, he explains to both Foggy and the Priest that he started breaking kneecaps at night because he had a breaking point in how long he could be a bystander. If he hears all the evil that's going on, but doesn't make any sort of move to stop it, does that not make him complicit? He also explained to Foggy that he first tried acting through the law, but realized that there were instances where the law could do nothing, but one man in a mask could help.

So, it's not so much a hero complex, or a hunter upbringing, it's his super senses giving him information that he can't ignore without feeling like an asshole bystander.

I think some of the parallels between Fisk and Matt were a bit forced - especially since really, some of the things were... not at all the same, if you thought about them for two minutes. Which was probably why the Fisk stuff grated on me more and more the longer it went on. I really think what they were doing peaked at the radio conversation between the two, and after that, they should have concentrated solely on Matt, because it was Matt that was the more interesting character thereafter, and they'd already set up all the other players well enough.

I don't mean any of this to sound negative either of course. We're just having a conversation about what we liked least, rather than a conversation about all the stuff we absolutely loved... of which there was a bunch, or else we wouldn't have watched the show to the end.
claudiapriscus
May. 4th, 2015 03:47 am (UTC)
Oh, no, I mean, I understood the story about the breaking point, but I guess....I didn't feel it was effectively communicated why he went the extreme violence route, rather than something more lawyer-y. Especially considering the torturing and the near-murdering. As a lawyer, I'd think he'd be a lot less casual about "oh, I guess I haven't crossed the line because I haven't actually killed anyone, although I've certainly done enough injury and been careless enough that the fact that they survived was not guaranteed." I mean, jesus, when he tossed that guy off the building, dumpster or no, and the guy was in a coma?! And then he was like "I haven't gone all murdery?" What's the difference, Matt? Which might have been an interesting question to examine, but I don't think that was what we were supposed to be taking away.

There are superheroes who DO go the extreme violence route as their go-to solution to things (like the Punisher, it's right there in the name), but I just had trouble connecting the lines for Matt. Especially given his character. He's....oriented towards the law, towards order. he's smart, and a bit fond of his own cleverness. I've been watching Leverage recently, and I kind of feel that might have been a better fit for what I was expecting. Not the con job part, but the...oh, the bad guy is someone rich and powerful, and they system has failed, so there's matt, doing the breaking in, fighting off guards, finding the key piece of evidence and making it very public. (Which is essentially what he does to actually win! So clearly that dynamic is there). Not so much just beating a man half to death. I just couldn't connect to the two dots.

To a certain extent, I guess maybe I might say the conflict was between the representation of Matt, who has a fair amount in common with the 616 version in terms of characterization and the representation of Daredevil, which was much more Nolan Batman.

Edited at 2015-05-04 03:48 am (UTC)
hells_half_acre
May. 4th, 2015 04:03 am (UTC)
Ugh, I don't like Batman... so my initial reaction is to be super defensive about that, but I can see what you mean - just in terms of tone, it's similar to Nolan, I suppose. But yeah, I liked Daredevil, but I really don't enjoy the Batman movies, so similar or not, whatever they're doing differently is different enough for me.

Anyway, ah! I understand what you meant now by "doing all the stuff" - and yeah, you're right, it doesn't make sense. Especially the idea that Matt hasn't killed anyone, because he totally has - unless he has some how convinced himself that Nobu lit himself on fire and burned to death all on his own without any help from Matt.

And when he threw that dude off the building, he had to PAUSE to check that he was a live - which to me, in that scene, read like he really didn't care. Likewise, when he's helping Stick, he knocks one of Nobu's men in the head (smack in the temple) causing him to fall into the water... now, I've never personally been hit in the temple by something going at a great speed, but my sister has, and there is absolutely no way she would have survived if someone had immediately thrown her into a river. She couldn't even stand. So, Matt must have this weird line in his head that is all about intent - like, people dying of the wounds he inflicts is fine, just so long as Matt didn't set out that night specifically to murder them.

And yeah, it would have been good for that to be explored a little more. But, I was willing to overlook it, because I liked the whole conflict with whether his end game should be murder or the law... mainly, I guess, because it was a conflict about which identity was the stronger of the two - the Devil or Matt. And I liked exploring that, even if I had to overlook the fact that obviously the Devil wins in terms of "accidental" manslaughter or second degree murder or whatever the heck the law calls it when you assault someone and they happen to die, but you didn't necessarily want them to.
claudiapriscus
May. 4th, 2015 04:34 am (UTC)
When they do a second season, a lot of this might get cleared up. It was just something I couldn't quite reconcile- what I understood about Matt's character and motivation, and the way he acted as "the man in the mask". I think they were trying to do a story with him wrestling with the darkness that rules Fisk, but I just really had trouble seeing that particular darkness in him (outside of him trying to beat people to death). I felt kind of like Foggy in that respect! Does not compute! Is it all a lie?
hells_half_acre
May. 4th, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
Agreed. And yeah, I'm sure they'll dive more into it in S2.