Daredevil: Justice is blind in Hell’s Kitchen

In 2003, 20th Century Fox released a movie about the Daredevil, and it was just that: a movie about a comic book character that offered a lot of action, some big names — Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Garner — and very little character development. The current TV show that started on Netflix on April 10 does bring a lot of action, but it brings much more character development, a deep and rich origin story, and little-known names to play the characters. These characters, like some other comic book characters, are very complex and nuanced, which is why the serial format — comic book or television show — is very useful.

The origin story is about a boy who loses his sight, but in the process acquires superhuman hearing. The hearing is so enhanced that he is able to see using a radar sense. Unlike the movie, the TV show focuses on how the boy becomes the vigilante and how the vigilante becomes the hero. In other words, the show focuses on the character development that the movie missed. Of course we must consider the fact that the movie has at most 2 hours to provide enough context and backstory so that people can care about the characters in question, and they do have to hit some people and make it exciting enough to be a blockbuster. It is a lot to pack into a two hour film, and 20th Century Fox at that time did not have the best track record with doing this — take X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand as examples. This is the main reason why the serial format is much better for development.

Daredevil, however, brings something new to the game. While many TV shows about superheroes start at the point where the hero has his unrealistic costume already made and a back-up team already formed, this program starts off when Matt Murdock is simply a blind lawyer by day and a masked vigilante at night, without weapons or any actual practice with vigilante justice. We see him get beat up a lot, we see him lose, we see him learn, and we see him become the hero that he must become. This, paired with some flashbacks of his childhood, provide a lot of information about the character and why Matt is the way that he is. The show doesn’t only focus on him, it also brings forth his old trainer, Stick (another blind man with radar sense who hasn’t aged in 20 years — hint: This might indicate he has all the superpowers from the comic version). The Stick’s presence could also indicate future work with The Hand and The Chaste, organizations in the Marvel universe that Daredevil has been involved in. Some foreshadowing in the show has also indicated that more characters are set to become part of the storyline and that it will link with many of the other Marvel Cinematic Universe elements.

The show also brings the law aspect into play; since Matt is a lawyer by day, he is also seen forming his office and working with his partner to solve cases and help others in Hell’s Kitchen. Finally, one of the more interesting aspects of the show is that even with all of the focus on character development and complex storytelling, it brings high action elements and highlights the artistry behind a really good fight scene. The program has some of the best fight scenes I have ever seen. Compared to other superhero shows — and even big-budget movies — they are ealistic and intense, as well as gripping and non-cliché. Since the program shows you the story from the time when Matt wasn’t very experienced with fighting, you do see him struggle against thugs and criminals, but also you see him showcase his martial arts training.