Tom and Summer

 

Another low week where the title-count is concerned, but this time around, that’s because I dedicated ten or twelve hours to a certain Netflix show. Now that I’ve finished it, permit me a few spoiler-free thoughts on Marvel’s “Daredevil”.

To begin in broad terms; “Daredevil” is the best comic book show so far on television, and might be a contender for one of the best things Marvel Studios has done so far.

The medium allows it to do a lot of things that are inherent to a comic, but need to be sacrificed for film. For starters – length. When we’ve watched the evolution of characters like Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, or Bruce Banner, we’ve had to see their evolution crammed into a runtime of four-to-six hours. Granted Stark got the better part of eight, but that’s only because he’s one film ahead of the rest of the pack. Dedicating thirteen entire episodes to the growth of Matt Murdock allows us a chance to flesh out so much of who he is, and why he does what he thinks he needs to do. That time isn’t spent glossing over what power does what, or why each villain has a bone to pick with him. Instead, the time is spent developing his relationship with the people he cares about, and the community he believes in.

In short, we learn a lot about Matt Murdock the man…and learn only what we need to know about ‘Daredevil’ the hero. In doing so, we care more about him. When he bleeds, so do we.

Then there’s the cause of that bleeding – Wilson Fisk.

Marvel Studios have had a long-running problem with their films and TV shows in that outside of Loki, they are yet to give audiences a worthwhile villain. Every villain so far has seemed like a brooding nihilist to hang a plot on. Usually, their motive is mass destruction for the sake of mass destruction. I’d even suggest that even Loki only succeeds because he is played by Tom Hiddleston.

But wither Fisk?

Here – finally – is a villain who is complicated, human, somewhat empathetic, driven, and most of all – vicious. This show understands that a villain should do more than sit back and brood. It understands that when a master plan is tangible, it becomes that much more genuine…that much more dastardly. What’s more, when we see just how far Fisk is willing to go to get what he wants, we suddenly fear for everybody in the show.

Comic books – and by extension, comic book movies – usually have a “death problem” in that death so often seems both bloodless and temporary. Not in “Daredevil”. Here, we fear for the lives of everybody around Matt, and even some of the lives around Fisk. The fire in Hell’s Kitchen seems like it’s ready to consume everybody except our two heavyweights, and consume them for good. With that we feel shock and awe, in ways that we have never felt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before.

So when you take all of these things, drape them over an aesthetic that isn’t afraid to play with shadows, douse it with a level of violence that Marvel isn’t known for, and package it all in our world, you get something extraordinary…perhaps even something that can transcend into those who feel like comic book films/shows aren’t for them.

Sure THE AVENGERS was awe-inspiring…but it’s a trifle. It’s a CGI spectacle dotted with snappy dialogue. “Daredevil” is the story of a city crumbling – a city much like many of the ones we know and inhabit. We’ve long talked about how Marvel stories take place in our reality, but with ideas of low income households being muscled out, and a radically changing power of the press, suddenly our reality feels more real than anything Joss Whedon unleashed three summers ago.

Marvel has found a whole new gear with “Daredevil”, and it leaves me truly excited to get to more of their “Defenders” properties (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist – all of which are slated for the months ahead).

It likewise leaves me curious about how all of this can weave itself into the films, and perhaps affect it all for the better.

 

Here’s the week at hand – with a continued emphasis on a certain festival coming up…

 

Screenings
CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA – The spring of wonderful cinema continues. More on this tomorrow.

 

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Never Seen
CHUCK NORRIS vs. COMMUNISM – Hot Docs screener
MISSING PEOPLE – Hot Docs screener

 

Streaming/Blu-Rays/DVD’s I’ve Seen Before
ALI – Why hasn’t Will Smith done more films like this?
ALIEN – Yeah, I’m working through the “A”s in my DVD collection

 

Boxscore for The Year
78 First-Timers, 49 Re-Watched
23 Screenings
127 Movies in Total
How’s about you – seen anything good?