Daredevil: My Final Analysis (spoilers)
Context: Comicbook TV Series
Overall Excellence: 5
So you don’t think I completely hated this, I thought I’d start with what I actually liked about the show. I liked Matt and Foggy and I liked the girl at first, but she became annoying by the end of the series. I really liked the nurse character (granted, I have always had a soft spot for Rosario Dawson and she brings a lot of charm to the role). I also liked the priest guy. Ben was cool, too. Pretty much the good guys. I also thought Fisk when dreamed about by the girl seemed more frightening than he ever did ‘in the real world.’ He was noticeably better in the final two episodes, but not enough to make up for the rest of the season.
The fight scenes are well choreographed, though they start to feel the same after awhile. I liked the lawyering of Matt when they actually did the lawyering.
I have to ask myself… why did this story take 13 episodes to tell? Was it a complicated story? No. Did it have a lot of plot twists? No. Did it have a lot of varying characters that we got to know intimately? No.
I can recount like 3 key episodes that would be fairly integral. The Stick Episode. Matt’s father featured episode. And Fisk’s background episode. I cannot think of anything else that was all that necessary. Mostly, Matt attacks a Bad Guy, thumb twiddling, and then the girl kept insisting on pushing for the story, insistent on exposing Fisk by revealing something from his childhood (that any rational person could clearly see every reason why someone would bury that, especially given that Fisk’s mother helped to cover it up. He’s certainly not going to do something to expose her.) And yet, she kept pushing for this story that wouldn’t get at the corruption or anything, really, and could easily be written off… Hell, BEN told her as much, and yet he eventually runs with it?
And I’m sorry, but if I had seen Fisk beat people partly to blame for the death of his friend or who merely interrupted his date, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to reveal that I’d poisoned his girlfriend anywhere near where Fisk could get his hands on me. That’s what the phone is for.
Ultimately, did they uncover anything through the first 11-12 episodes that actually helped to bring down Fisk? Not really. So, Foggy gets his ex to steal a bunch of records from her law-firm (who coincidentally represented Fisk, but that’s kind of whatever) and that is what brought Fisk down, as well as the testimonial of this ex cop. That all pretty much happened in the last episode. It wasn’t some complex narrative to get to this evidence… it was just… lazy writing. Let’s do whatever and then wrap it up neatly at the end by cramming the only stuff that really mattered in that final episode.
Now, if the show was more episodic, then yeah, I could see the slow development of a story like this and it wouldn’t have to be all that complex. The Flash is a good example of this. Most of the episodes are their own individual stories, some tying to previous episodes, some not, and then a throughline story builds slowly over the entire season.
Or, something like The Blacklist, again, episodic, and a mystery that slowly unfolds over the course of a season and then 2. Daredevil has none of that. No real mystery. Fisk is outed to Daredevil pretty quickly upon arriving in the show. The series is just primarily one long story, and then an obligatory fight sequence every other episode, and thumb twiddling time wasting elements, that don’t really advance the story at all or even reveal much character growth. Sometimes, time wasting is necessary, especially if it serves to unite a couple characters (such as Foggy and the girl getting drunk).
You know a scene that really showed potential. Matt Murdock actually doing the lawyer thing. It seemed like most of these episodes, half of the equation was missing. Hell, this presents a perfect episodic approach. Matt takes on a case, finds out bad stuff is happening tied to the case, and then he goes to take care of that as Daredevil. Or sometimes, he just takes on a case and has to balance that with his superheroing separate and apart. This might involve waking up late and rushing to court, for instance. And then it is a matter of balancing all of this. The show just didn’t even bother, with the ongoing joke being they had no clients.
How many times did we actually see him lawyer up? We saw more screen-time of him laying down injured than actually doing his lawyer thing. So a big chunk of what makes the character potentially interesting was thrown away for most of the 13 episodes.
And that is ultimately why I found myself disappointed. Completely putting aside the joke that is Fisk, they told what amounted to a 5-6 episode story stretched over 13. Lots of fat.
And the whole plot to do with the suit itself… didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The show basically told us Matt lost in the fight against Fisk because.. of a special made business suit? What? Did this suit give Fisk super strength? I don’t recall there ever a mention to explain that while Fisk looks big, it’s all muscle, not fat, and that was why he was so strong. Yes, they show him beating the crap out of people, but without that little extra tidbit, it just feels like there is something missing to explain why he was able to even take on Daredevil in a fight (maybe I missed a line mentioning this).
You see Michael Clarke Duncan and he looks big and imposing. I could totally believe he could take some hits and beat the shit out of Daredevil. The Fisk in the show, well, I just can’t believe he is as fast or even all that strong. The only hint at this was this guy who built a special suit, but again, that didn’t make any sense. The introduction of the suit was the laziest piece of writing in the whole show.
Check this. What if, sub bad guy gets sent to fight Daredevil, and wipes the floor with Daredevil with an obviously cool special suit… Maybe Matt has to come back later to defeat this bad guy, after tracking this bad guy to this special suit maker… and there, gets suit, and then, newly reinforced, is able to take on the bad guy. It was just silly to tie this to Fisk’s Suit.
The series has a lot of potential, with a strong sense of the hero, but the balance was very wrong for me. They did a great job showing Matt’s conflict within himself when talking to the priest, but they forgot to really add the dimensionality of him as lawyer vs him as vigilante. They do this a little but, but not enough. It is more an after thought.
Fisk revealed to Daredevil as the bad guy was way too soon. I would have liked to see more uncertainty there until finally, some evidence reveals who the real enemy is. The whole thing about people revealing Fisk’s name just became silly… It would have made more sense if there was a mystery surrounding some Kingpin who was controlling the streets. Who is this guy? That should have been the mystery of season 1. And yet, they spiilled their load waaay too soon and then really had nothing to do until the last episode, where they finally found something they could use.
A season 2 could fix all of this, now that the groundwork is done, but I just don’t have a good feeling that they will. The reception to the series was too positive, so most likely season 2 will be more of the same, with a similar mixture of Matt as vigilante and occasionally taking on a case. I hope I’m wrong. I hope there is much more story in season 2, not just a small story stretched over twice as many episodes as needed to tell that story. I can’t really see myself caring, though.
Arrow probably has a lot more issues in the writing, but it’s also a lot more fun and has a lot more going on. But hey, at least Daredevil was better than Gotham.