Now that we’ve talked about Daredevil as a television show, let’s talk about Daredevil as a person. Or rather, let’s talk about Matt Murdock, because over the course of the show we see that Matt and his vigilante alter ego are one and the same. Matt Murdock is inspired to don a mask and become a vigilante because he sees injustice and fear oppressing the good people in Hell’s Kitchen, but when he is “in character” as Daredevil, he’s no less Matt Murdock than he is when he’s arguing for justice in a court of law. Throughout the show we see Matt struggle with his conviction not to kill, and ultimately he upholds his morals, turning Wilson Fisk over to the police. Matt’s morality, and his Catholic faith, are important parts of his identity which he does not subsume in order to fight crime.
Last Friday was the long-awaited premiere of Daredevil, the first of Marvel’s Netflix series which will ultimately culminate in a Defenders miniseries along about 2017. The first of the “street-level” superheroes, Daredevil is charged with essentially being the Iron Man of the Defenders, responsible for setting the tone and style for the whole team. And man, did Daredevil ever deliver. Taking advantage of Netflix’s native binge-watching environment, series creator Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods) and showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus) offer a tightly plotted, highly serialized season meant to be consumed in large chunks. With all 13 episodes available at once I wondered how best to review Daredevil, and ultimately decided to tackle it in three parts, with this first review concentrating on the overall tone of the show itself. If you’d like episodic recaps, here’s a good set.
Perpetual motion has been discovered and it’s this franchise that will never stop never end never go away.
Neill Blomkamp remakes Short Circuit in a movie critics like even less than Blackhat.
Bee Shaffer in Dolce & Gabbana is actually my best dressed of the night. I LOVE this floral gown and her styling, and I especially love that Anna Wintour’s face seems to have frozen in that expression. Marion Cotillard in Dior gets “best white of the night”, while Lady Gaga in Azzedine Alaïa is both appropriately weird and occasion-appropriate. Lupita Nyong’o’s purloined Calvin Klein pearl dress is worth discussing, at least, and Meryl Streep in Lanvin and Tegan & Sara all had great menswear-inspired looks.
Marvel’s Agent Carter ended last night, without confirmation of a second series, so for now this is it for Peggy Carter and the SSR. In many respects, it was a satisfactory ending. Peggy comes to terms with the loss of Steve Rogers, Howard Stark deals with his own destructive nature and legacy, and the SSR accepts Peggy as one of their own—though the accolades for the resolution of the Howard Stark situation goes to Agent Thompson, not Peggy. But as Peggy says, she doesn’t need public recognition—she knows her value. All she’s wanted is to be allowed to do the work, and that is what she gained during her first year with the post-war SSR: The ability to be an effective member of a team.
It’s the penultimate episode and things are starting to play out to their final conclusion, which means we’re getting into some spoilery territory. Consider yourself warned.
With Peggy’s semi-betrayal of the SSR out in the open, this episode finally lets Peggy air her frustrations with her male co-workers that is very satisfying. It’s something we’ve wanted to see from the very beginning, Peggy delivering a comeuppance to her chauvinistic fellow agents, but what really makes it kick is that Peggy does it while she, herself, has been brought low. She’s finally getting somewhere in her furtive investigation, having connected the pieces of the Red Room, Dottie Underwood, and Leviathan, but she’s also lost the trust and, at least temporarily, the respect of the other agents. It actually makes her indictment of the SSR—“Unless I have your lunch, your coffee, or your reports, I’m invisible to you”—all the more damning because it doesn’t come while she’s on a high horse.