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Netflix and Marvel’s Daredevil – Season 1 (Review)

Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil owes as much to the work of Christopher Nolan as it does to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Taking advantage of the change in platform and format, the thirteen-episode season is a bit rougher and meaner than most of Marvel’s recent output. The show never reaches the excesses of The Punisher or Punisher: War Zone, but the show has a much rougher edge to it than many of its contemporaries. It is very much grounded in an urban noir storytelling style.

With thirteen episodes released to stream simultaneously, Daredevil is a unique venture for a studio that has been experiment in different media and different delivery methods. Daredevil is much more cohesive than either Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Peggy Carter, feeling much more like its own thing. While each of the thirteen episodes is structured as an episode in its own right, the whole season amounts to a single long-form story. Distilled to its essence, Daredevil is the story of the conflict between an emergent vigilante and an ascendant crime lord.


The series is not flawless; there are some pacing and structural issues that do haunt the series. However, it is a bold piece of work that stands unique among the prolific output from Marvel Studios. It is hard to imagine that either Avengers: Age of Ultron or Ant-Man will feel anything like this more grounded adventure, giving Daredevil a distinctive texture and demonstrating that Marvel is willing to experiment with the tone and style of some of its product. Given the volume of the studio’s output, this is inherently a good thing.

Daredevil is anchored in a set of terrific central performances and a clear sense of purpose. It might lose focus at points, or stumble into some plotting or pacing issues, but it marks a high point in Marvel’s television output.


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