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Daredevil – Rabbit in a Snowstorm (Review)

To celebrate the launch of Marvel’s Daredevil and the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we are reviewing all thirteen episodes of the first season of Marvel and Netflix’s Daredevil. Check back daily for the latest review.

One of the more interesting aspects of Daredevil is the way that it wears its influences so confidently on its sleeve. As if aware that the stock comparison for the show will be Batman Begins, the series goes out of its way to hit a number of key points from that particular film – introducing its masked vigilante during an atmospheric attack at a dockland smuggling operation, stopping the import of superweapon into the city by a secret society of ninjas. The show returns to the work of Frank Miller time and time again, knowing that he is the defining Daredevil writer.

In terms of televisual influences, it feels like producer Steven DeKnight was heavily influenced by a lot of prestigious contemporary drama. In particular, Rabbit in a Snowstorm features sequences that feel like they might have been lifted from Breaking Bad and The Wire. This makes a certain amount of sense; those are two very well-respected shows that lend themselves to “binge” watching of (relatively) short seasons. Netflix has even found great success as a distributor of Breaking Bad in Europe. There are worse influences for Daredevil.


To be fair to Daredevil, the show never loses sight of itself. This is a superhero story about a masked vigilante who cleans up Hell’s Kitchen and comes face-to-face with honest-to-goodness ninjas and other possibly supernatural events. Nuance and subtlety have their place, but Daredevil arguably works best when it revels in its theatricality – grand sweeping statements, bold imagery, heightened drama. For all that Rabbit in a Snowstorm tries to expand and ground the world of Daredevil, it is marked by two acts of over-the-top violence at the open and close of the hour.

At the same time, this underscores the biggest problem with Rabbit in a Snowstorm. Daredevil is not a show that lends itself to the same sort of aesthetic as The Wire, and some of the attempts to ground the show feel clumsy and awkward; the show works best when it is big and bold and operatic, stumbling a bit when it tries to present a grounded real-world setting.


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