Never mind your homework, Dare to binge-watch this devil

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Jeff Neukom, Managing Editor

 

On Friday, April 10, Marvel’s Daredevil will make its debut on Netflix.

Today. That’s today. Drop what you’re doing and get comfortable. As if word of its debut isn’t satisfactory enough, there’s more: Netflix will have 13 episodes immediately available for streaming.

Portrayed by Charlie Cox, whose most recent major role was in 2014’s The Theory of Everything, Daredevil has got me all hot and bothered for good reason.

With its Netflix debut, Daredevil joins impressive company, following DC Comics’ Arrow, Flash and Gotham. DC Comics’ forays have been extremely successful, countering Marvel’s recent box-office triumphs. Despite its box-office fortune, there are fans who have maligned Marvel Comics for the lack of realistic consequence in its movies.

Pick any Marvel film of late and you’re basically guaranteed a family-friendly, happy-go-lucky superhero bash where the rich SOB, the suave ladies’ man and the costumed-comedian end their caper over a hot cup of java. They’re entertaining, but life ain’t all sunshine and rainbows, kid.

Blowing up buildings and using your technologically-advanced suit to fly into space come with consequence (looking at you, Mr. Tony Stark). At times, it seems that Marvel has forgotten that, with its ultra-positive, almost grotesque, portrayals of the world.

Daredevil, called the man without fear, doesn’t live in Central City – home of The Flash – where it’s sunny all the time and his enemies get cute nicknames. Nay. Daredevil keeps watch over Hell’s Kitchen, a nasty neighborhood in Manhattan, New York.

Yes, it’s the very same neighborhood where he saw his dad, a former boxer known as Battlin’ Jack Murdock, murdered in cold blood after he’d refused to throw a fight. It’s the very same neighborhood that Kingpin, a savage crimelord, keeps under his pudgy thumb. The show doesn’t flinch from blood and gore, another indication that Daredevil will be a necessary foil to Marvel’s big-screen endeavors.

Matt Murdock, the true persona of our fearless crimefighter, is a lawyer by day. But he realizes that the law has its limitations, and sometimes, we have to go beyond the law for true justice. After exposure to radioactive waste, Murdock was left blind, but he quickly found that his other senses had become augmented, allowing him to generate a sonar-like image of the world.

It will be interesting to see how the show handles this ability, and judging by the trailer, we will not be disappointed.

As I’ve said, what makes Netflix’s version of Daredevil so important is its realism. While the show might ask for a slight suspension of disbelief, acknowledging that costumed crimefighters aren’t exactly abundant, the moral conflicts that Murdock experiences keep the show – and the hero – grounded.

“I’m not seeking forgiveness for what I’ve done, Father. I’m asking forgiveness for what I’m about to do.”

Daredevil is just trying to make his city a better place. He might be without fear, but he is not without conscience. His crimefighting often leaves him at a moral impasse, and this uncertainty leads him to the front pew of the neighborhood’s Catholic church.

He acknowledges that his actions might be controversial, but he does what he feels is best for his city. He realizes his actions come with an aftermath, which brings him to confession on multiple occasions. It is this gritty realism that is so important to this show.

As Daredevil tries to make his city a better place, he has achieved a secondary accomplishment: he is making Netflix a better place.