“Daredevil”: the Marvel gem you might have missed

The Netflix series may be one of Marvel’s best

Photo+courtesy+of+the+official+Daredevil+IMDb+page.

Photo courtesy of the official “Daredevil” IMDb page.

By Shannon Moore, Staff Writer

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Spiderman: No Way Home”

 

“Spiderman: No Way Home” is a movie filled to the brim with fan service. From Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire’s appearances in the movie to all three collective Spiderman original villains, the movie was one for the masses. Despite the multitude of incredible moments, there is one cameo in particular that stands out. Within the first thirty minutes of the movie, Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, made his first official appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel fans may have been perplexed by his appearance, watching the seemingly blind lawyer catch a brick thrown behind his back. He hadn’t been referenced in any Marvel movie before and didn’t have any clear connections to any of the characters. The cameo left audiences with more questions than answers; even the most dedicated MCU fans were left confused. Fortunately, “Daredevil” had a three-season run on Netflix, resulting in some of the best content Marvel has ever produced.

In 2013, Marvel and Netflix made a deal for Netflix to produce multiple interconnected series with a slightly darker tone than the average Marvel movie. Unlike Disney’s version of Marvel –which we’ve come to know and love – the Netflix shows don’t shy away from violence, sex, religion or moral debates. The first of these productions, “Daredevil,” starring Charlie Cox in the lead role, premiered in 2015 to rave reviews. The series follows Matt Murdock: blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night, as he tries to protect Hell’s Kitchen and the city he loves. Murdock was blinded as a child by a chemical spill; the same spill also heightened his four other senses. These enhanced abilities, combined with intense fight training, lead to the Daredevil we adore from the comics. Driven by his intense need for justice and masochistic tendencies, Murdock takes the fate of New York into his hands, alone. This proves to be a problem as he faces off with the ruthless Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. The character recently made an appearance in the Disney Plus series, “Hawkeye,” confirming his own future in the MCU.

I firmly believe that “Daredevil” is one of the best Marvel productions to date, and I don’t use that word lightly. Not only are the performances incredible, Cox and D’Onofrio are standouts. Despite not having his signature red hair, Charlie nails the role, capturing the damaged vigilante perfectly. A driving point of the plot is Murdock’s desire to maintain his double life status, keeping his identity as the devil of Hell’s Kitchen a secret to all. This of course brings a multitude of problems his way, as it does for Peter Parker and any other masked hero, but Cox portrays the struggle with ease. He also balances Murdock’s darker half and desire for justice, with his incessant Catholic guilt, holding him back from killing. The show is chock-full of religious symbolism, drawing Christ comparisons throughout the three seasons multiple times. All these factors lead Murdock to be an incredibly complex character – something Disney’s Marvel often struggles with. While watching, I found myself both frustrated and enamored with the character, wanting him to make the right decisions, but still supporting him through the wrong ones. Murdock’s moral compass leads for an interesting vigilante dynamic and keeps the viewers invested through the occasional slow points.

The show’s main villain, Kingpin aka Wilson Fisk, is my favorite Marvel villain by far. D’Onofrio brings comic Kingpin to life, establishing the crime boss as one of the most powerful and terrifying villains to date. With clear motivations, a past enveloped in secrecy and power beyond comprehension, Fisk is a complex but truly ruthless villain. Disney’s Marvel often struggles with villain development, but not Netflix’s Marvel. Episodes are split between telling Daredevil’s story as well as Kingpin’s, ensuring the audience understands the characters and their motivations. This raises the stakes for both characters and allows the audience to be invested when they face off. Kingpin is a driving force behind the show’s success, and with his recent “Hawkeye” cameo, could be a driving force in the MCU.

“Daredevil” is one of the best comic adaptations to date, not only because of the great performances and characterizations of the show’s lead hero and villain, yet due to the multitude of memorable fight scenes. Fans of the show rave about the action sequences, Daredevil’s abilities and unique fighting style leading to some intense moments. Since Netflix doesn’t need to cater to a larger audience as Disney does with its adaptations, this leads fights to be gritty, bloody and all too real. Netflix brings comic book characters into the real world, with real fights and real consequences. It makes the comics feel real, and that’s what every fan wants.

If my review isn’t enough to make you watch the show, perhaps the possibilities for Matt Murdock in the future will be. With his cameo in “Spiderman: No Way Home,” and Kingpin’s appearance in “Hawkeye,” Daredevil is sure to have a future in the MCU. He could appear as a lawyer in the upcoming series “Moon Knight,” a character who he’s friends with in the comics, and is also heavily rumored to make an appearance in “She-Hulk,” as She-Hulk herself is a lawyer as well. And lastly, he is rumored to have a supporting role in “Echo,” as she’s a love interest of Murdock in the comics.

Daredevil is an incredible character with an already great show and very bright future in the MCU. While his cameo in “Spiderman: No Way Home” may not have stolen the show, I guarantee his future appearances will. Who knows, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen may become your new favorite superhero.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].