Matt Murdock suits up in the first episode of Daredevil… as the blind lawyer takes tentative steps towards cleaning up New York City.
Everything has changed since The Avengers. The alien threat that wiped out half of Hell’s Kitchen has been fended off… but it’s left nothing but turmoil in its wake. Giving rise to the mobs, a new crime wave has taken hold. And it’s insidious grip threatens to claw away at the city Matt Murdock holds dear.
But then, it seems he intends to put a stop to it.
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It’s an utterly impressive first episode for Daredevil as Charlie Cox suits up as Marvel‘s Man Without Fear for the first time. But with his humble charm and kick-ass martial arts moves, it’s almost as though he was born for this role.
Surprisingly, it’s a bit of a slow start as we find Matt Murdock confessing his sins to a local priest… or rather, confessing for what he’s about to do. But while the introduction isn’t at all action-packed, it sets the scene for Murdock’s humble beginning. And we find out an awful lot about our hero in the opening few minutes.
Soon enough, we’re thrust backwards into Murdock’s childhood, peeking in at the event which blinded him – a roadside chemical spill – as well as giving us a deeper understanding of his home life.
But if you’re concerned it’s all getting a bit heavy, don’t worry – there’s plenty of action too.
After being shown the life and times of our eponymous hero, we’re shot right back up to date with Murdock’s first case as an attorney. That’s right, we find Murdock, along with his friend and colleague Foggy Nelson (played by Elden Henson) as they’re about to setup practice together.
And their first case is a bit of a blinder…
A young woman named Karen Page (played by Deborah Ann Woll) is found alone in her apartment… next to the body of her co-worker. Of course, with blood all over her and the murder weapon in her hands, the police assume she’s guilty. And as the sole suspect in an open and shut case, things aren’t looking too good.
Thankfully, Murdock and Nelson (Attorneys At Law) are on the case.
After a tip off from a local police officer and long-time friend of Foggy’s, the not-so-dynamic duo turn up at the police station to defend poor Karen… even though she has no idea why the new attorneys would want to get involved.
Of course, it soon comes to light that there’s a conspiracy at play here and Karen is right in the thick of it. After receiving a file that was meant for her boss, it turns out that her former employer United Allied Construction is pushing a lot more money through the firm’s pension scheme than they should. A hell of a lot more.
Raising the alarm, it seems she’s soon the target of the same mob syndicate that is currently rising to power in Hell’s Kitchen. And the only reason she’s still alive is because she tucked away that incriminating file – and the mob wants it back.
Thankfully, her new attorney is a lot more than meets the eye… and it’s not just her criminal case that he’s willing to take on.
Of course, before all this we’re shown a glimpse of what Murdock is capable of, as he takes on a group of sex traffickers attempting to ship a number of girls away in freight containers. And after taking on four heavily armed goons with his bare hands, it seems he’s piqued the mob’s interest.
But back to Karen Page…
After an attempt on her life causes the police to release her, Murdock insists that she should stay with him. After all, it’s for her own protection. Obviously, fans of the comic books will know that Karen serves as a long-term love interest for Murdock, and you can already see it begin to blossom here. But it’s subtle and understated… and there are more pressing issues at hand.
When Karen goes to retrieve that incriminating file, it seems she’s being followed. And with another attempt on her life, it looks as though Daredevil is forced to step in.
Already, we’re getting a fantastic sense of what Daredevil himself is all about.
He’s a fist-fighter with a clear martial arts background. He trains hard and he’s clearly more than meets the eye. But where other heroes have a supernatural or technological edge, it’s his keen senses that give Matt Murdock a bit of prowess when it comes to fisticuffs.
Much like the comic books, the absence of Murdock’s sight has overdeveloped his other senses… which he puts to great use in a fight. He can hear where the action is with pinpoint accuracy, and his reaction times are flawless.
But it’s also entirely believable.
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In fact, everything about Daredevil so far rests entirely within the realms of possibility. There are no Norse gods or arc reactors, or super soldier serums. And the villains are of a far more believable origin. It’s a grim and gritty look at the post-Avengers landscape… but he’s certainly no Dark Knight.
Hell’s Kitchen may be cloaked in darkness, but Daredevil is a far more subtle hero – showing depth and emotion and even a little vulnerability when he’s around Miss Page.
This is only the first episode, but I have to admit – it’s a vast improvement on the Daredevil of movie fame. In fact, this is the Daredevil we’ve all been waiting for. Let’s just hope the rest of the series is just as good.
What did you think of the Daredevil season premiere? Was it as awesome as you hoped? Let us know what you think in the comments below…