Subject: doctorlit reviews Netflix!Daredevil (spoiler warning)
Posted on: 2018-07-16 04:43:00 UTC
I think the first season of Daredevil was the last TV series I watched before I started reviewing everything on the Board, so I'll go over that here in addition to season two. Spoilers for both seasons follow. There's also some very vague, non-detailed allusion to some of the gore in the show.
So, not having watched any Netflix originals before DD 1, I really didn't know what I was getting into before this, and I did not like what I saw initially. I actually stopped watching for a long while—nearly a year, I think?—after the infamous car door scene. The violence in this series was just so over-the-top and unnecessary, and it was making me a little sick. I eventually got over it and finished for the sake of MCU completion, but I have little interest in ever watching again.
I first encountered Wilson Fisk in his animated adaption from the Spider-Man cartoon of the 1990s. That version of Fisk, or Kingpin, was rather soft-spoken. He was a threatening character, both physically and politically, but his was a quiet, confident menace, and that version of the character has stuck in my head as the baseline Fisk. The Fisk in this show is such a departure from that, I really can't find myself liking him at all. This Fisk is completely out of control of his emotions, easily insulted, and has a desperation to his success drive that make him rather a weak villain to me.
One thing season one did really well, though, was keeping the courtroom cases ongoing throughout the season, and making sure they had relevance and interest to the vigilantism side of Matt Murdock's life. Season two didn't do that so well, I think. That season mostly had Matt's law firm completely tied up in the Frank Castle case, and of course Nelson and Murdock disbanded towards the end, so we didn't really get much of the lawyer side of Matt's life.
I was very pleased that, with the focus switching from fist fights to guns and swords, the violence actually got toned down for this season. Somehow. Still a lot of fake blood, but bullet holes are cleaner than, uh. Eye self-impalement on nails. So.
In a vacuum, Castle is a character I should despise, by all rights. He fights with guns, and has every mark of a teen boy's edgy OC. But man, the performance that actor put out. Any scene where Castle is monologuing, I can just listen to forever. Even with that rasp in his voice, his words and his facial expressions can be so heart-wrenching when he's talking about his family. That's not to say I agree with his philosophy; I'm much more in Daredevil's camp. I do think some MCU villains did indeed need to be put down because of the threat they posed to the world, but not the street toughs and ninjas in Daredevil.
The whole ninja plotline, I'm kind of lukewarm on. They do make for an excellent physical challenge for Daredevil, since their silent movement makes them nearly undetectable to his senses until they're hitting him. But their whole weird plot, with the resurrection, and the brainwashed human chemical mixers, and whatever crazy demon thing I thought was going to be in the giant stone coffin thing . . . I just didn't find all that as compellingly real as the other plot of the season, discovering the truth behind Castle losing his family. I was much more curious about the identity of the Blacksmith than I was about the coffin, even though that plot got the finale climax. (Although I love the fact that after Castle resolves his side of things, that he shows up to help with Daredevil's. Like, "Okay, the more important plot is done now, I can go help with the B plot next.")
A very rare thing happened while I watched this: I actually guessed a twist long before it was revealed, namely that Elektra is a Black Sky. I'm usually terrible about guessing those sorts of details ahead of time, since I tend to just let a story unfold itself before me without trying to deconstruct it much. I very much enjoy those twist moments, too, so I'm not necessarily pleased with myself; ruined the reveal moment for myself. But there was just something about the way Stick would talk about Elektra that seemed to hint there was something actually wrong with her, and she seemed almost compelled to kill, rather than the matter-of-fact, business-like way Castle would gun criminals down. Mix in my curiosity about the moment in season one when Nobu revealed that other people could be Black Sky beyond the one that got killed, and it all seemed to line up.
Ultimately, season two felt a little too stretched between its two plots, and the writers clearly wanted the mystical ninja plot to be the focal one, even though the government cover-up aspect was far more intriguing. I'm sure the whole Hand plotline will continue on in the Defenders series, but I hope it gets more interesting from here.
—doctorlit kept spelling "Daredevil" as "Dardevil" and he's really frustrated with himself right now
"I'd say Frank Castle is a man who would gladly give his life to keep spoilers safe." "I'd say Frank Castle is a man who would gladly give his life to keep spoilers safe." "I'd say Frank Castle is a man who would gladly give his life to keep spoilers safe."