Daredevil. Or, “Not the one Ben Afleck was in”.

maxresdefault1.jpgThese are some thoughts I had about Daredevil. It was going to be a Facebook post but it got too long.

The thing about Daredevil is that it possessed the most “gritty” and “realistic” tone out of all the Marvel live action properties and I make a distinction between the television and cinematic universes because of rumors that they are not so simpatico. Then again you may acknowledge that Netflix shows are not quite like regular tv shows. They are presented in episodic form but they are designed for binge-watching, presented as something of a whole story rather than being forced to restrict every segment to being available only once a week.

Back to the thing about Daredevil, though, it started of dark not just in tone but in the visual style itself. Think of that famous fight scene in episode two, so clearly inspired by Old Boy (The original not the Spike Lee version since I haven’t seen that). As awesome as it was watching the beat down that went down in the hallway, being left to wonder what was happing in the side rooms when you could only hear the fight. It also forces the viewer to acknowledge, that really, fighting is exhausting. Even boxers have to take breaks. Even the darkness of Matt’s Catholicism rears its head. He is haunted when he asks, given that God has some grand plan, “why’d he put the devil in me?” Our hero believes he has an evil source fighting to control his behavior and that he really could become as bad as the criminals he is fighting…

And then you have the man whose name “we don’t say.” Until we do say his name. Fisk. Wilson Fisk. He’s not the Kingpin, not yet. He’s just a maybe psychopath who has amassed quite a bit of wealth about the town as well as influence with members from all walks of life. He’s in partnership with Mafia’s and a crooked accountant. Yet, he really seems to want ultimate make his city better.

But the show transforms. It begins a transition which has yet to be fully realized. This transition would be fairly considered a dark to light metamorphosis. It becomes more “comic-bookey” and with that comes the ultimate judgment that comic book movies are not considered art, at least not to some in the Artistic community (I’m looking at you Inrarritu).

it is also fair to say that Daredevil loses something towards the end of the of the season. The story becomes, not only unnecessarily long but also a little too predictable. This can be seen in the uniform change. I think that was a bad idea. He was so cool in his ninja costume! Then there’s the “cowl” that covers the whole half of his face. If I were a criminal I’d be a little freaked out by the vigilante who doesn’t need to see to fight.

The thing about Daredevil is that it also represents a shift in Marvel’s live action story-telling. Contrary to what Marvel’s movies might be, in the comics world Marvel characters do not spend all their time crossing over. Even SHIELD has it own storyline that is affected by the movies yet has no effect over the movies. (SHIELD. Oh SHIELD. There is a comic book show that had a hard time finding its mediocre legs. It taught me not to have high hopes.). But the movies have spread the notion that these larger than life characters, these icons that have been constantly reinvented into new storylines, can, in fact, show up in other movie “universes”. Heck, even E.T. cameoed in Star Wars (ha! +2 to geek cred).
The thing about Daredevil is, I don’t think he belongs in the MCU. AThe movies have a very particular and frankly, very family-friendly, style to them. They appeal to most generations. Avengers: Age of Ultron is so appealing it’s almost certain to break the record for biggest opening weekend. You know who currently holds the record for biggest opening weekend? The Avengers.. Daredevil is not this happy go lucky, not at all. The Avengers are super soldiers, aliens so goddamn weird they have the names and personalities of there Norse mythological counterparts on Midgard, and genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropists. They are not generally blind orphans. And there are no hyper-real 10 minute long fight scenes. There is a lot of blood and I kept my eyes closed for several gory moments.

For the most part, in terms of entertainment and story value, I think Daredevil satisfies my requirements. I love what the tone says about the archetype of this character. But I like it where it is. Certain stories need to be restricted to a long form method like Television. Breaking bad for example. A clever someone cut it into a two hour movie but I think it was perfect as a several year-long transformation archetype switch.

And I like where The Avengers are as movies. I am exited to see if/how Avengers: Age of Ultron affects the coming Infinity War. I hope that it passes the Bechdel test. That’s another place Daredevil failed miserably. As my friend Dick Powis remarked with not a little sarcasm, “I like this Daredevil show. It’s about time someone portrayed women in roles as nurse and secretaries.” IBut the fact is that it doesn’t mesh with Daredevil’s bone-crunching bleakness. And Daredevils conflicted view of the good vs/ evil battle does mesh with the pretty clear lines about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Maybe that’s what it comes down to. The struggle between fantastical, larger than life characters in one and the other focuses on how personal demons shape one’s identity. One has Superheroes and Super Humans doing battle with Alens and A.I.s and the other has a vigilante who has kind of a hard time figuring out how to compete with gentrification.

The thing about this show is the difference between the man in the black mask, the devil of Hell’s Ktichen, and Daredevil.

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