DAREDEVIL review roundup: "A creative bulls-eye" that's "bloody fantastic"

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While there’s no doubt that Marvel rule the big screen, things are not as clear cut over in TV-land. Sure Agents of SHIELD has turned into on hell of a show ever since the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier shook up its entire dynamic, but it had a start that was rockier than Ben Grimm in the morning. Yes, Agent Carter came flying out of the gates and never let up during its brief 8-episode run, but some (not me!) may think that merely a lucky confluence of Hayley Atwell’s considerable charms and the period piece aesthetic.

According to early reviews for Daredevil though, it would appear that Marvel’s latest TV venture is no fluke at all. In fact, its arguable that, based on these reviews, this new Daredevil may just be one of, if not the best movie that Marvel has ever made… it just happens to be a 13-episode drama on Netflix.

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Daredevil‘s full first season will officially be debuting this coming Friday on the streaming service, but a number of publications were able to score an early access to the show’s initial run (some got to see the full season while others got the access to the first 5 episodes) and they have been posting their reviews up since the weekend. Here’s a sampling of some of them.

i09: Marvel’s New Daredevil Series Is Bloody Fantastic

“We’re awash in live-action adaptations of comic books lately, including several TV shows. But Netflix’s new Daredevil series still feels like something special. It pulls no punches, never winks at the audience, and perfectly captures the feel of the best Daredevil comics.”

“And one thing about this show that really makes it stand out — the fight scenes feel more like brawls. When Daredevil is fighting one, or frequently several, guys, it feels like people are just swinging wildly. The fight scenes are beautiful and athletic, but don’t always feel “choreographed,” or at least there’s a messiness to them. And when the show gets seriously bloody, which it does from time to time, that feels like an extension of how kludgey the fight scenes are in general. ”

“And that’s the final thing about this show — the characters are fantastic. The writing is sharp and funny in a way that doesn’t clash with the noirish, pulp-hero tone. (The writing staff includes three Buffy the Vampire Slayer veterans, and it shows.) And the cast is pretty much spot-on, especially Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple… and Vincent D’Onofrio, pretty much embodying the Wilson Fisk you always pictured in your head from the comics.”

SuperHeroHype:

“The opening ten minutes are a perfect encapsulation of the character as they showcase his origin, his commitment to his faith, his disturbance with the crime around him, and his abilities as a fighter. Not to mention the opening credits (with a brief teaser of his eventual red suit) are just perfect. Those opening minutes of the series feel like how any Marvel movie would function, establishing the character, his motives, and his style that makes him special, but once the roller coaster takes off from the station it’s like no ride Marvel has created yet.”

“On the villain side of things, a whole cast of ne’er-do-wells can be found with Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk as the shining bright center. Fisk is the most terrifying villain to come out of the MCU, bar none. He’s ruthless, cunning, and deranged to a level that no villain within a two-hour movie can achieve. Like all good villains, his heart is in the right place but his motives are flawed, he’s not just evil for the sake of being evil.”

“I cannot applaud “Marvel’s Daredevil” enough. From its succinct telling of the origin, to the dynamic character drama, to the stellar fluid action, and the underlying through narrative, the show is another home run for Marvel. Drew Goddard’s script for the first two episodes is flawlessly put together with the same melding of reverence and new flavors that make the other Marvel products work.”

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Forbes: Great For Marvel, Even Better For Netflix

“It would be wrong to say it’s surprising Daredevil is as good as it is because it isn’t. Going “dark” is something Marvel has wanted to do for a while now, but in the world of big budget PG-13 cinema there’s only so far you can push the envelope. You can’t get super violent or “mature.” You really can’t do it on broadcast television either. To an extent, you must remain somewhat family friendly. The reason Daredevil’s so enjoyable in its “lack of jokes” domineer is because it feels like a necessary departure from Marvel in order for it to expand its ever growing universe.”

“No one’s going to give Dardevil a major Emmy award for what it delivers, and that’s okay, no one’s going to give Age of Ultron a major Oscar either. Daredevil is precisely as excellent as everyone hoped it would be, but that doesn’t mean all the good it does will only affect the kind of projects Marvel can do in the future. Thanks to Daredevil, its network will benefit as well, and that alone is reason to celebrate its existence.”

Screencrush: Unlike anything Marvel has ever done before

“To put it mildly, at least several dramatic visuals afforded by Netflix’s relaxed standards would never, ever make it into Marvel’s Disney-fied PG-13 cash cows. Daredevil marks a much darker corner of the Marvel cinematic universe, that while entirely its own entity as a crime drama, still works in enough odd references to familiar events (and with far less thud than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) to feel comfortably familiar in a superhero’s world.”

“Marvel fans espousing Loki as the movie empire’s sole successful villain will eat an Infinity Stone at the unveiling of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, every bit the timid child and terrible monster D’Onofrio says in interviews.”

“The criminal elements we meet that drive the story against Matt’s vigilantism all feel unique and fully-formed in their own right, but D’Onofrio’s Fisk on his own nearly steals the series out from under its titular hero.”

Daredevil was well-worth the wait, and breaks the Marvel movie mold with bone-crunching delight. It’s everything Nolan’s Batman never had time to explore, everything Arrow wants to be without network boundaries, and exactly the street-level drama Marvel needs to complete its superhero world.”

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Collider: Damn fine television

“WithDaredevil, both Netflix and Marvel had the opportunity to do something different for each of their brands, and both succeeded. For Netflix, the show is its first real entry into genre storytelling, while for Marvel, Daredevil is a sleek, stylish, and distinct entry to its TV properties. Though the series kicks off in the middle of a tragic sequence regarding the origins of hero Matt Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) blindness, most of Daredevil (as of the 5 episodes available for review) is unhurried, though its languid pace is punctuated by brutal bursts of violence.”

“Murdock is a quietly brilliant, confident badass just going about his business. And in between, there are extended conversations between other characters, many of them lulling along in dulcet tones (with the occasional hint of menace). But when the otherwise chaste Daredevil chooses to get bloody — which is often — it does so in spectacularly brutal fashion.”

Daredevil is also, perhaps because of its pointed, clear storytelling, easily accessible to those who haven’t read the comics. As one from that set, it was still easy to become engrossed and intrigued by Murdock’s world, even without deeper context. “

Esquire: Brutal action and the everyman Charlie Cox make the comic series a must-watch

“Daredevil is Marvel After Dark, violent, morally hazy, and peppered with cusses—closer to HBO’s animated Spawn series than anything that’s come before it. The show forsakes the Walt Disney Pictures logo for a reason.”

Daredevil owes a great deal to Asian crime cinema’s threaded narratives and violent crescendos, turning the show into more of a comic book version of The Departed than a fight-of-the-week drama like ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

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Variety:

“Dark, brooding and violent, the slickly produced series casts the blind hero as Marvel’s version of Batman, a masked vigilante as apt to get roughed up himself as pummel the bad guys.”

“The luxury of a series allows the producers to add pathos to the plight of Murdock’s father, the pug of a boxer who wanted better for his son, while indulging in side trips like a romantic subplot for the Kingpin. At its core, though, this is a pretty faithful retelling of the comics, while embracing a tone similar to Frank Miller’s invigoration of the character in the 1980s.”

“Compared to Marvel’s experience with “Agents of SHIELD” for ABC, operating in Netflix’s pay-to-view world is clearly liberating, in much the way animated direct-to-DVD titles enable the comics companies to cater to knowledgeable fans without needing to worry too much about luring the uninitiated into the tent.”

Washington Post: Marvel/Netflix’s kickoff series is a creative bull’s-eye

“If ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and “Agent Carter” were solid singles that stretched into doubles as they moved along, “Daredevil” is a first-pitch home run. Yet “Daredevil” shouldn’t be overly compared to what Marvel has aired on TV, because the Netflix show smartly exploits being free of broadcast limits.”

“From the moment he first seeks forgiveness during a confessional – to forgive not for what he’s done, but for what he’s about to do — to when he goes out and “does it,” Charlie Cox utterly embodies the role.”

“But every now and then — as he confesses, while drawing comparisons to his boxer-father — Murdock has to “let the devil out.” And when the devil is on display, the actor especially shines. From the outset as a crimefighter, Cox is almost ninja-like. He’s not Daredevil yet — just a black-clad vigilante trying to bring his own justice to Hells Kitchen – but his defensive blocks quickly turn into hard-fisted counters. When he flips out of danger or delivers a spin-kick, he looks like someone who has has mastered martial arts.”

“All the elements come together deftly to produce something we haven’t quite seen from Marvel – apart from TV and the big screen, “Daredevil” stands on its own in the Marvel screen universe. By all rights, he’ll soon be a Man With an Audience.”

Well, damn. That all sounds incredible and now has me even more stoked to see Daredevil this Friday. And if somehow, after all that praise, you’re still not psyched to see the show (I’m not saying you’re a robot, but you may be a robot) then hopefully these two new trailers will do the trick.

As mentioned before, Daredevil‘s full 13-episode first season will debut at 12:01 in all regions on Netflix this coming Friday, April 10, 2015. It will be followed-up later in the year by another series, Jessica Jones (starring Kristen Ritter in the title role), and then 2016’s Luke Cage (starring Mike Coulter) and Iron Fist. These four series will then crossover Avengers-style for a mini-series titled Marvel’s The Defenders some time in 2017.

 

Last Updated: April 8, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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