Daredevil: Season 1 & 2
Written by Kate Loneragan
Disclaimer: You can like and enjoy something and still be critical about the mistakes it makes.
Starring Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, Deborah Ann Woll, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung
Confession: I have not finished Season 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil. I fully intend to, there are just a lot of other things ahead of it on The List. But Luke Cage is premiering on September 30, so let’s talk about Matthew Murdock.
Season 1 of Daredevil was a breath of fresh air into the superhero, and Marvel, canons. It had a disabled young man at its centre and he was surrounding by people who all wanted to do the right thing. He wasn’t facing some world-ending threat; he was trying to protect his neighbourhood through use of the law and some illegal use of his fists.
There is a lot to discuss about Daredevil. It can be a character study of a man trying to help, a heart-warming story about people trying to save their neighbourhood, the story of a man imposing his philosophy on a group of people, damn the consequences. My favourite part of Season 1 is that those descriptions could be used for either Daredevil or his Big Bad. Season 1 was a great look at how a person can believe they are doing the right thing in their mind and not understand how to others they are actually the villain.
I think Daredevil is more than the sum of its part because some of those parts, frankly, are out-dated tropes are shown in a way that only reinforce them.
CONS OF DAREDEVIL:
1. Orientalism/Treatment of Asian Characters
I never totally understood why a certain group characters had or needed to have an impairment. The use of diverse characters doesn’t really count if you keep them marginalised and voiceless.
2. The increase of violence over the season break.
Season 1 has some spectacular fight scenes, and Daredevil is supposed to be a gritty vigilante show. There are a few ‘action’ scenes that are hard to watch but they show you more character than a 5-minute monologue ever could. But the use of over-violence takes away from the story and character more than it adds to the visual enjoyment.
3. Daredevil’s unadulterated use of violence.
You don’t get to preach that you don’t kill people when you throw someone over a four-storey balcony. Just because they didn’t die of the injuries you inflict doesn’t mean you didn’t cause irreparable damage to them. I actually thought about this a lot watching Season 2; do bad guys have health insurance? Do their gangster bosses help with their medical bills?
4. The sidelining of Women of Colour characters to make way for the White love interest.
This happens twice in two seasons and it doesn’t need to. The WOC are even portrayed in a way that seems to elevate the white love interest. I’m pretty sure if these women were real people they would all refuse to be romantically engaged with the mess that is Matthew Murdock.
PROS OF DAREDEVIL:
A physically impaired main character.
Sure Matt Murdock can leap from rooftop to rooftop and scale buildings without his sight but that doesn’t change the fact that he can’t read a book or tell the time without assistive technology. It’s always nice to see Matt use this technology to get his lawyering done. Or when other characters have to tell him what’s written on the piece of paper someone is waving in his face.
HEALTHY MALE FRIENDSHIPS
I’m a sucker for platonic relationships so to see Foggy and Matt support and work with one another is always nice to see. Their care and concern for each other (those sometimes misguided) is portrayed beautifully.
3. Important and valued secondary characters.
Foggy Nelson, be still my beating heart. Karen Page, you’re a little scary but I like it. Claire Temple, you deserve the world and also an uninterrupted sleep.
Daredevil is better than a lot of other things and will probably get better than a lot of other things but that doesn’t change that it’s done some kinda shitty stuff. I really did love Season 1, it brought new life to a character that hadn’t had the greatest adaptations and it gave a great introduction to the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. I just ran out of steam during the second season. I will finish it. Maybe.