Home Entertainment “Daredevil”: The Show That Won’t Stay Down

“Daredevil”: The Show That Won’t Stay Down

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by Charissa Roberson 

    “Spider-Man: No Way Home” featured many cameos from other Marvel projects: including none other than Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil. The blind, masked defender of Hell’s Kitchen appeared on Netflix for three acclaimed seasons until the show was canceled in 2018. However, after Cox’s appearance in “No Way Home,” viewership exploded, putting “Daredevil” into the Top 10 Most Watched Original Streaming Programs (Screenrant). What makes this show so popular, even years after its cancellation?

    From its inception, “Daredevil” stood out from other Marvel content for its dark, gritty tone (earning a TV-MA rating on Netflix). The action is brutal, bloody and devoid of the glossiness often seen on the big screen. Matt Murdock, while gifted with heightened senses and trained in martial arts, is not superhuman; when he fights, he gets tired, and when he gets hurt, he takes time to recover. He is a hero simply because he refuses to stay down.

    Almost immediately, the impeccably executed fight sequences set “Daredevil” apart. In just the second episode, Daredevil takes down an entire group of men in the confines of a grungy corridor – all in one take. The iconic “hallway fight” quickly became a staple of the series. In season three, the cast and crew pulled off an unbelievable 11-minute one-shot fight sequence in which Matt battles his way out of a prison. Ironically, the sequence could not be nominated for an Emmy because it was too long.

    “Daredevil” ultimately succeeds, however, due to the layered characters and storytelling behind the action. Cox’s Matt Murdock is a tormented hero who wrestles with the morality of his actions, especially when balancing his day job as an attorney with his activities as Daredevil. He is also a faithful Catholic – further complicating his desire to beat bad guys to a pulp. He refuses to kill, believing that only God has the right to take a life; however, he is constantly forced to reevaluate the blurry line between right and wrong.

    This complexity extends far beyond the show’s lead. Supporting characters like Karen Page and Foggy Nelson, far from being token, have their own complicated arcs and integral influence on the plot. Villains are given unique and relatable motivations, making them understandable while no less chilling. (Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk, Daredevil’s archnemesis, has been lauded as one of the best Marvel villains ever brought to screen.) We frequently see characters at their most broken as they are forced to confront the darkest aspects of themselves. This painfully human quality of “Daredevil” is what makes the superhero show so compelling.

    With Cox’s Daredevil now officially introduced to the MCU, the future of the blind vigilante is under speculation. Could there be a Season 4 of Daredevil? Will Matt Murdock appear in other upcoming Marvel shows or films? In the meantime, be warned that the original series is leaving Netflix at the end of February. If you haven’t watched “Daredevil” yet, there’s no better time to get to know The Man Without Fear.