Last updated on March 10th, 2017 at 01:19 am

The Geek Without Fear Reviews the Daredevil Pilot Episode (S01E01) “Into the Ring”

Mar 3, 2017 | TV

The Hometown Geek becomes the Geek Without Fear ūüėĮ¬†

Within the Marvel universe there are thousands of heroes of all shapes and sizes, but the¬†Avengers¬†are here to save the universe and Daredevil is here to save the neighborhood …¬†

 
Lawyer-by-day Matt Murdock use his heightened senses from being blinded as a young boy to fight crime at night on the streets of¬†New York City’s¬†Hell‚Äôs Kitchen¬†neighborhood as¬†Daredevil, the Man Without Fear.
 
Netflix’s Original Series, Daredevil, takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And it‚Äôs all connected.

 

Daredevil 1.01
4.5 Hometown Geek Team
Pros
The first of Netflix's collaboration with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Cons
You lose sleep binging on Netflix.
Summary
Great foray into a more mature comic book TV show with a lot of style.
Daredevil Mask vs. Glasses Rating
Leave your own review at bottom of this post ‚Üď

 

Pirate © http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/cartoon(Avast! There be spoilers ahead, matey!)

The opening scene is heartbreaking and I found myself getting choked up.

Jack Murdock’s expression as he quickly realizes what is happening to his son and then¬†Skylar Gaertner¬†playing young Matt Murdock screaming that he can’t see is wrenching. ¬†It’s a great visual (yes, I went there) as this graphic SFX shows the last thing Matty sees his his father’s anguished face as his vision is burned from the outside in.
It’s a punch to the gut and I’m forced to remember a time when I myself was temporarily blind for the better part of a year. I thought the SFX did a very good job of conveying the closing darkness and I related it to the Diabetic Retinopathy that caused hemorrhages in my eyes that slowly obscured my vision to just swirling blackness within a matter of hours.¬† Like I said, I can relate.
 

Daredevil 2015 NYCC panel.jpg

Cast of Daredevil at the 2015 New York Comic Con. (L to R: Cox, Woll, Henson, Bernthal, Yung)
By Romer Jed Medinahttps://www.flickr.com/photos/jedhakuro/21493137533/, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

On a lighter note, it has been posited over the years that the chemicals that spilled and blinded Matt Murdock then spilled down the street into the sewer where they had a very different reaction with a rat and 4 young turtles. ¬†If you are fans of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, you’ll be familiar with Splinter the Rat who teaches The Turtles their fighting skills and how similar it might be to Stick, the man who teaches Daredevil how to fight.¬† Coincidence? I think not.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Kevin Eastman's art).jpg
By “Mirage Covers” at Kevin Eastman Studios. Retrieved December 27, 2016., Fair use, Link

 

Charlie Cox 02 (29327255635) (cropped).jpg

Charlie Cox

By GabboTCharlie Cox 02, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Now, we go straight to an adult Matt Murdock, played by Charlie Cox, in the Confessional of a Catholic Church where we see the usual Hollywood version of Confession – albeit done much better than most.

 

 
“He was always on his feet when he lost. ¬†Every now and then, though, uh… Every now and then he’d get hit and uh… something inside him just snapped.
 
Grandma Murdock would say: Be careful of the Murdock boys, they got the devil in them. ¬†And you’d see it sometimes… In the ring. ¬†My Dad he’d catch him and… Trap him in the corner. ¬†Let the devil out. ¬†What he was feeling, deep inside, I didn’t understand it. ¬†Not back then.”
-Matt Murdock in the Confessional.
 

And now we have the theme of the show, the title of the episode, and the Genesis of Matt’s superhero identity as Daredevil.

To clear up a few misconceptions with this scene:
  • No, you can’t see the Priest and he can’t see you in a Confessional. ¬†I know Hollywood has to portray it that way or it would be visually boring, though.
  • No, you don’t go to Confession to have a long conversation or to receive counseling – you can make a separate appointment for that. ¬†Confession would be to tell the Priest your sins, say you’re sorry, ask forgiveness, and receive it in the form of the Priest’s prayer over you of absolution.
  • No, you can’t ask for penance for what you haven’t yet done, either. ¬†You can’t say I’m going to go out and sin, cover me, bro! ¬†You got my back!
But, then again, Matt does say that it’s his Grandma who’s the real Catholic in the family.
 
I am extremely impressed with the portrayal of Matt’s Catholic Faith and the Church in this episode as Catholics have taken a beating in Hollywood Cinema since the Scandals began to be reported in 1994. ¬†We can never excuse the absolute horrors that were committed by some Priests, but any good done by any Priests have been totally obliterated from on screen depictions so this was a refreshing change.

Now we go to the first criminals that Matt will be taking on as Daredevil (or should I say Proto-Daredevil?). Turk and his friends are rounding up some screaming girls.  Only $1000 for girls on the White Slave Market? Really? Human life has become incredibly cheap.
Proto-Daredevil looks a bit like a modern Dread Pirate Roberts from the classic movie, The Princess Bride. ¬†He’s got some mad moves in a fight with his enhanced sensed from his blindness coupled with some kind of sonar ability? ¬†Extra, extra enhanced sense of hearing?
As the fight ends with Matt relentlessly punching Turk in the face, we can see that he has definitely “let the devil out.”

Can I just say how hauntingly beautiful the opening credits scene is?  Images of the city, the Church, Daredevil all intertwined and bathed in red set to an evocative musical score is perfection for this series.

We get to meet Foggy (played by Elden Henson) now and he’s both Matt’s best friend and the levity for the show.

Loved the line he said on the phone about, “Kidding! NSA, if you’re listening!” ¬†In this day and age, both relevant and funny like something I would say. :). His character is ringing pretty true to the comics for me. ¬†Now, I usually don’t like to comment on actors’ appearances, but I’m afraid Foggy’s hair is going to be an issue for me.
 
As Matt and Foggy get started with their new office, we can see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the MCU for all you fans out there) is interwoven even on the small screen. ¬†They’re getting the office for cheap because Hell’s Kitchen is still in the process of rebuilding from “The Incident” almost 2 years ago… A little something we like to call the Freaking, Scary, Big, Ol’ Battle Over the Skies of New York with the Avengers fighting off the alien invaders The Chitauri (AKA The Skrulls) in the first Avengers movie. ¬†How shall we say… It did a little damage to the area.
Daredevil's Foggy Nelson vs. Elden Henson

Compare & Contrast: Comic Book Foggy vs. TV Foggy

DeborahAnnWollSDComicConJuly2014.jpg

Deborah Ann Woll
By Nehrams2020Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

 

Now on to the next crime scene with the amazing Deborah Ann Woll, last seen on True Blood as Baby Vamp Jessica, and now portraying Karen Page. ¬†Perfect casting! ¬†Great interpretation and knowing what storylines the comics had for Karen, I’m looking forward to future episodes with Deborah in the role.

Great way to drum up business when you’re first starting out, Nelson & Murdock! ¬†That is some bold confidence demonstrated when you’re basically telling someone facing a capital crime that they’re lucky to be your first client – I’ll have to borrow some of that boldness in my own line of work.iPad with Daredevil
Also, how handy would it be to be a human lie detector?  Especially in the legal profession.  Great skill set there, Matt.
 
You can tell they’re bad guys because they’re using a Microsoft Surface tablet instead of an iPad ūüėČ to blackmail their victim. ¬†The moral of the story is: Never a borrower or a lender be. ¬†Thank you, Will Shakespeare.

We’re starting down the path of the Big Bad – the bad guy in a TV series that is the interwoven plot throughout each episode of a season, mixed in with some story-of-the-week stuff. ¬†Karen works for Union Allied Construction. She’s framed for the murder of a co-worker. ¬†Big Bad’s Minion blackmails a guy to go kill her while she’s in her cell and make it look like a suicide. ¬†Hmmmm… Karen’s gotten herself into some bad stuff and now Foggy and Matt (and Daredevil) are along for the ride.
 
 Karen reflected in Matt Murdock's glasses in Daredevil
There are a couple of times where Karen is reflected in Matt’s sunglasses during some tense moments and it is a great effect to heighten the drama.
 
 
 
 
 
¬†During the International Meeting of Bad Guys, we find out from the Minion that we do not say the name of the Big Bad – that definitely lends an air of the mysterious to He Who Must Not Be Named. ¬†We also find out that the craziness over at Union Allied that Karen is involved with is intertwined with the. ¬† white slave traders that were Daredevil’s first go-round on the streets as a crimefighter.
 
PS I really feel for Deborah Woll during all these rain scenes.
Deborah Ann Woll in Daredevil, Karen Page in the rain

Deborah Ann Woll in the freezing cold rain.

And then we have a Daredevil fight scene where he ends up falling out a window and lying on the rainy pavement below while he reminisces about his childhood.  Matt Murdock flashbacks are a hallmark of the comics, too.
“Come on, Matty, get to work.” ¬†As he remembers his father cajoling him to do his homework, Daredevil musters the strength to get up off the ground and fight.
These fight scenes are impressive, well-choreographed, and brutal.
By the end, the solution is apparent – put out the info that Karen has on Union Allied in the media for all to see and there is no longer a reason to eliminate her.

Daredevil's Foggy, Karen, and Matt at dinner table

Foggy, Karen, and Matt at the dinner table. A new family is born!

We get to see Foggy, Karen, and Matt enjoying a nice meal together in their new office, which is in serious need of some cleaning and decorating help with it’s hand drawn marker paper sign announcing Nelson and Murdock, Attorneys at Law. ¬†Out of gratitude and lack of any other job prospects at the moment, Karen offers her services as secretary and we now have our core, triune cast complete.

While Matt is working out his anger issues on a punching bag at the gym during the closing sequence, we cut to various scenes of the Big Bad’s handiwork of tying up loose ends. ¬†

  • Poor blackmailed guy has been made to look like a suicide and is found by his daughter whom he was trying to protect. ¬†
  • Other guy whom Daredevil beat up and left for the police is another murder made to look like a suicide in his jail cell. ¬†
  • Evil Mandarin Lady from the International Bad Guys meeting supervises slave labor of a sweat shop of blind people packaging up drugs for her. ¬†
  • Evil Japanese Man from the same Gang of Bad looks deviously over blueprints of Hell’s Kitchen rebuild with Japanese (or Chinese?) markings on strategic locations while Evil American Bad Guy gleefully embezzles money on his computer.
  • Turk is back out on the streets with Evil Russian Guys and brutally kidnaps a seemingly random little boy from his father. ¬†

At which point, Matt is now done with the punching of the bag and is high atop a roof listening to the city and hears the boy’s cries for help and lowers his Daredevil mask, ready for action and… Fade to black.

What a great start to this Netflix original series!  

I’m truly impressed with the acting, the writing, the production values, the choreography, the cinematography, and camera movement. ¬†The tone is definitely in keeping with the Frank Miller, David Mazzuchelli, Ed Brubaker era of Daredevil and I can tell already that Hell’s Kitchen will be just as much of a character as any other in this story.

The show is pretty dark, a complaint I’ve had about superhero-related TV, movies, and comics for the past several years now, but it’s really working for me with Daredevil – I think because of his inherent sense of justice and his battle with his conscience.
 
I’m looking forward to more and hope you are, too.¬† At the time I first thought about writing this review of the pilot episode, we all were getting ready for the premiere of Season 2.¬† I’m not sure how I feel about the new format of releasing a whole season at once. ¬†It’s different than regular binge-watching where you catch up with a show that’s already been released weekly on TV. ¬†Wth Netflix originals being released all at once, it’s much more difficult to have the communal experience and enjoy it in groups – whether those groups be online or with your IRL (In Real Life) friends. ¬†Some people will watch them all at once without any sleep even an 13 hours later, spoilers will be a-flyin’. ¬†It’s a new ball game and I think that for a show like this, for myself, I’d like to savor the experience more. ¬†I originally watched this first episode of Daredevil when it was first released and now have come back almost a year later to watch it again and review it. ¬†I have no problem with delayed gratification, but I want to be a part of the Daredevil fan culture going on right now.
 
What about you all?  How do you feel about this format for TV series?  Do podcasts and written reviews like this help in that you can come back here to read and/or listen after each episode you watch or is this binge format not right for the typical fancast and review that seems to do so well with the weekly format?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  They will play a big role in determining if I should keep up with this. :). Thank you for taking the time to read.  Please take another second to share this on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you socialize.

 

 

 

Directed by: Phil Abraham
 Written by: Drew Goddard
 Original Air Date: April 10, 2015

 

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Hometown Geek
Dashing Young Geek About Town at Making A Scene Productions, LLC
By day, your Hometown Geek is one of the partners at Making A Scene Productions, LLC and works hard at video production, web design, social media, and all things tech, but by night it's a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American Way.

Well-versed in the details of the never-to-be-forgotten and sadly never-to-be-repeated Bronze and Copper Age of Comic Books, but was an innocent bystander during the Chrome Age and accepts no responsibility for it, your Hometown Geek loves all things comic-book related from any era.

Although biased toward Apple products, your Hometown Geek doesn't feel like a Hipster. Fascinated by all the tech at hand in the world today and anxious to try out all different forms of new and old media, the Geek still has an incredible fondness for the old movies of the 1930s and 1940s and loves to fall asleep to TCM - Turner Classic Movies.

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