Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Daredevil: Into the Ring

I'm "I'm seeking forgiveness for what I am about to do..."

Daredevil was never a title I followed much as n my comics reading days, although I followed Ann Nocenti'scrun for a bit in the early '90s. I have, though, read Frank Miller's iconic work on the title and, much as Miller's star may have since fallen with his increasingly apparent right-wing obsessions and his inability to move beyond what Alan Moore has called "hard-boiled", his run on Daredevil is truly great and possibly the highlight of his career.

It's good, then, to see that Drew Goddard's 13 episode season, released all at once on Netflix, haas retained the mood and approach of Miller's work. This episode is a perfect introduction to a very likeable Matt Murdoch and Foggy through the eyes of a desperate Karen Page, but also an introduction to a world of incredible darkness. Hell's Kitchen is a realm of crime, despair and entropy where hope and goodness are stamped out by cruel, amoral cynicism. Corruption and conspiracy conspire against the innocent and the good. And yet, amazing just all this, like Philip Marlowe, stands Matt Murdoch, starting out as a vigilante but not quite Daredevil yet.

(Intetsstingly, dialogue shows him to have a more robust attitude to crime and the law than Foggy. Is this setting something up?)

We're introduced, significantly, to Matt's father Battlin' Jack, a huge influence in his life and no doubt to appear in many more flashbacks. There's only a slight reference to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe,  as it's inferred that the destruction of New York in The Avengers afforded the opportunities now available to organised crime.

The pivotal scenes, I think, are of Karen staying with Matt. On the one hand it illustrates Matt's blindness- he never uses the light switches- and on the other it helps the two of them to bond. We are also introduced to Matt's ability to tell if someone is lying by their heartbeat. And towards the end we see him as a mysterious hero in black, fighting the bad guys in the dark and the pouring rain. 

We end with Karen being hired by Matt and Foggy, and the corruption behind her persecution is out in the open. Yet only the foot soldiers are punished; those truly behind it are untouched. We end with a boy being kidnapped by a gang; crime and cruelty go on, and Matt has a Sisyphean task.

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