Marvel’s first Netflix series, Daredevil, hits the web first thing tomorrow! Hypable’s Marvel expert Donya lays out everything you need to know about Matt Murdock.
Michal: So here is what I know about Daredevil: He’s blind, and there was a movie. What are the other major points I should know?
Donya: Movie? What movie?
In all seriousness, however, Daredevil is an incredibly nuanced character. And he is defined by more than just his blindness — which is, I think, why he resonates so well with so many people. Especially those who are visually impaired themselves. Stan Lee was famously worried about bringing Daredevil to the comics, as he didn’t want to make light of his handicap and lead people to believe he was a “parody.” Though, of course, it is still a large part of who he is — and has been continuously handled with sensitivity and care within the comic medium, which I hope translates well to the show.
By day, Matt Murdock fights for justice in the courtroom. By night, he seeks a different kind of justice as the vigilante, Daredevil. He trained for both throughout his childhood, following the accident that left him blind, and it’s incredibly interesting to see both forms of justice seeking juxtaposed with each other. It makes for a fascinating commentary about what justice really is.
Not only that, but he is a religiously flawed character. There’s been some hinting throughout the trailers that they may play upon those themes — how his Christianity may find himself at odds with his vigilante ways, but if they handle it as well as the comics, then this series may break some interesting ground.
Michal: I also remember something about a Kingpin…
Donya: Oh, without a doubt. You can’t have Daredevil without Kingpin. He is, unquestionably, Daredevil’s most fierce adversary.
Kingpin himself is a crime lord, and spent some time masquerading as an altruistic businessman to cover up his criminal activity. He’s certainly not a force to be reckoned with. Not only is he unbelievably smart, he’s not afraid to do his own dirty work and constantly stays one step ahead of the law — making certain that he’s never in the position for any crimes he’s committed to be pinned on him.
Funnily enough, he also has a connection with another recently reacquired Marvel property — Spider-Man.
Michal: Are there any other important characters I should know about? Where do they fall on the Good-or-Evil scale?
Donya: Oh boy. There are a handful of characters that are intrinsically important to Daredevil, but I’ll break it down to a few I believe will find themselves in the spotlight (though both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are closely linked to the Man without Fear.)
Franklin “Foggy” Nelson — Nelson is Matt Murdock’s best friend, and partner in law. While they often come to blows in a professional sense, as Nelson wants to focus more on corporate law, they continuously have each others backs. Nelson has, like Murdock, romantic feelings for Karen Page, which puts a strain on their friendship — though he accepts that Page only thinks of him as a friend.
Karen Page — Karen Page is the secretary of the law firm that Matt Murdock works at, and his longest running love interest. Their relationship has its ups and downs, especially after she learns of his alter-ego, Daredevil. She’s almost a mirror of Murdock himself, and refuses to sacrifice her own integrity. Well, except for one run in the comics that leads to their ultimate end — but we won’t spoil that for you.
Elektra — Yeah, you may recognize this name from the other movie that shall not be named. Elektra is an assassin, who was formally involved romantically with Daredevil during his college years. They often come into conflict, despite any lingering feelings, especially when Elektra becomes Kingpin’s chief assassin. You can just imagine how well that reunion goes…
Michal: From what I’ve heard, Daredevil is a pretty dark story. Do you think I should expect Christopher Nolan levels of doom and gloom?
Donya: Sure, Daredevil can get a bit dark at times — it’s hard for it not to, considering the material it has to tackle. But it does have its moments of humor. They’re typically well timed, which makes the hard-hitting stuff all the more devastating.
Michal: Do you think it’s going to make us laugh at all? What brings the humor in the comics?
Donya: Nelson, who I mentioned above, often finds himself in the role of “comic-relief” throughout the series, but not in a way that feels forced, or inauthentic. It fits with his more light-hearted, down-to-earth character and offers an interesting counterpoint for Murdock. So, I imagine we’ll find ourselves laughing along with him.
Michal: What makes you most excited to see this version of Daredevil?
Donya: Honestly? I’m excited to see Marvel tackle something a little more noir. I was certainly getting that sort of vibe from the trailers. We’ve seen them approach so many genres, so masterfully — from war movie, to political thriller — that it’ll be interesting to see how they handle some heavier material.
Donya: Daredevil is by no means an easy adaption. It has some difficult themes to portray, and portray well. Especially in the political landscape we find ourselves in, where debates about justice, and religion are rife, it could lead to some very interesting conversations off the back of it.
Michal: Does anything about the promotion or casting surprise you?
Donya: Well, I will admit that I got some… Arrow-esque vibes from the promotional material. Most especially the voice-over and “save this city” mantra (take a drink, guys) throughout the trailer. Which, in some ways, isn’t all that surprising. There are some similar themes between the two, but I don’t doubt that it’ll set itself apart quickly.
As for the casting, I think they have it pretty spot on. They’ve got some incredibly strong talent, and I can’t wait to see how they bring this to life.
Michal: If Netflix and Marvel do this show right, what do you think comic-less viewers will come out loving about Daredevil?
Donya: I think, maybe, that it isn’t as straightforward as it first appears. Like I’ve said previously, Daredevil has always tackled some difficult material, and if Marvel and Netflix get it right… it’ll add some incredibly interesting layers and discussions to the cinematic universe. Hell’s Kitchen is a community that is varied and plagued by criminal activity, but hopefully throughout the series it’ll show that the best of humanity can be found even in the darkest of places.
And, though Murdock will be taking center stage… there are some phenomenal women tangled up in his story, that I’m hoping are treated with the care and sensitivity that they deserve. Karen Page, especially, has some great moments through his history. It’s always great to see more women of the Marvel universe get their chance to shine.
Marvel’s Daredevil hits Netflix tomorrow at 12:00 am PST.