With shows such as Game of Thrones and True Detective television is getting extremely close to catching up and maybe even surpassing film. Television has always had more time to include room for character development but now it has shown it can have the scope, visuals and star power of film. Recently Marvel has tried to make its shows more cinematic by including such attempts as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter into their Marvel Cinematic Universe. While these shows can be good at times the use of connections to films doesn’t really help them become more cinematic. Luckily, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s third attempt into television actually tries to find a cinematic level of scope and visuals. Daredevil is easily Marvel’s most effective television show to date as the dark atmosphere and action sequences actually make it feel like a film. Sure, the plot could use some more complexities but by being visually well made this is a program that is hard not to enjoy.
Daredevil picks up with an adult Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) as he is working on his fledgling law partnership with his best friend Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). At night he prowls Hell’s Kitchen as a vigilante where his identity is allowed to remain unknown thanks to his diagnosed blindness. One night he saves a woman (Deborah Ann Woll), which puts him on the hunt of a criminal conspiracy led by the mysterious Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).
The plot of the first season is your typical good guy uncovers evil conspiracy and sets out to get to the bottom of it and destroy it. There are no twist and turns, and while that may seem too straightforward to make a good series (and there honestly are some clunkers for episodes due to this) it allows the visual style of the show to take center stage. The dark and stylistic visual style is somewhat reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s work on the The Dark Knight series while still feeling somewhat unique. However, it is the fight sequences that truly make this show unique. All of them seem realistic, intense and don’t take away from the plot at all. A fight that ends the second episode is probably the best piece of television filmmaking since the raid in the first season of True Detective.
It also helps that the casting is all around well done. Charlie Cox is a charming lead that handles the physicality of the role quite well and Vincent D’Onofrio gets a real scene stealing performance out of Fisk. He definitely makes for one of the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe villains. Meanwhile, Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson bring some authenticity to what could have been very stereotypical romantic lead and sidekick roles.
Daredevil is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s best venture into television yet.