DAREDEVIL Series Review Part 2: A City On Fire

Patrick Delaney continues his series review of Marvel's Daredevil., this time focusing on episodes 4 to 6...

Read part one here.

With the first three episodes of the Daredevil series on Netflix we are introduced to our heroes and the plague of criminal ailments that has fallen upon Hell's Kitchen.  As Daredevil starts his war on the criminal underworld it is revealed that all of these criminal elements are working together under one man, and to even speak his name is to invite death on you and your loved ones.  That villain is none other than Wilson Fisk: aka The Kingpin.  Most people will remember the Kingpin from the Daredevil movie starring Ben Affleck, where the Kingpin played the main villain as well, but what many people may find interesting is that even though Kingpin has been tied to Daredevil for over 30 years the character really started as a Spider-Man villain.  It was not until comic writer/artist Frank Miller took over the Daredevil series that he stole Wilson Fisk from the pages of Spider-Man and made the character his own, much like Daredevil. You see the Kingpin was a colorful, over the top character, much like the comics of the day, but this did not fit into the dark and gritty world that Frank Miller was re-creating for Daredevil.  By using his unique style, Frank Miller laid claim and re-created the Kingpin with the stroke of a pen.

By using lighting and shadows to create darker tones, Frank Miller changed this one note business man to a classic crime lord, and a fully realized character with ambitions and vulnerabilities. I say all of this because this version of the Kingpin is what we see in the Daredevil series, and we get almost two full episodes to spend with the character to really flesh out his story. So many Movies and TV series focus so much on the hero that more often than not we are left with a one note villain. So by taking the time to get to know Wilson Fisk, and by using flashbacks to his childhood, much like the ones used for Matt Murdock in the first few episodes, we get to see what makes Wilson tick.  We see what events have informed this man's development and even some of his vulnerabilities; such as the lovely Vanessa. I have to say, that I have never wanted a date to go so well for a villain before, and I was just as outraged as Wilson when it was interrupted by stupid Russian gangsters... Can't you see he's putting the moves on a beautiful women!? Seriously, do they not know what cock blocking is in Russia?  Coming out of these episodes, I for one, believe that Wilson Fisk is doing what he feels is best for the city, and that someone had to bash that Russian guys skull in with a car door... so I ask you.. is Wilson Fisk really the bad guy?

It's going to be okay big guy

At this point in the series Daredevil has just begun his war on organized crime and is starting to put some of the pieces together, but right now he only has a name: Wilson Fisk. No one on the street will sell out their employer and the only way for Daredevil to get information on Wilson is to slowly beat his way up the Russian mob. During this time, we also get our first look at how the Daredevil series will tie into the other Marvel shows that will be coming to Netflix, and that first clue is for Iron Fist.  What's that? You missed it? During a routine kick the shit out of gangsters mission, Matt discovers that not only are the Russians in the human trafficking businesses, but they are also moving drugs with the use of blind Chinese immigrants... the perfect plan. On these drugs is a symbol that will be recognizable for fans of the comic world. 

The symbol found on Madame Gao's Heroin is also the symbol of a classic Iron Fist villain: The Steel Serpent.  Normally I would say this is just an easter egg, but since we know Marvel has plans for an Iron Fist Netflix series and a cross-over with the Defenders, I would say that this will defiantly come back to play a big part in future events, and I for one am super excited to see Iron Fist square off against the Steel Serpent.  Judging by the level of action we have seen from Daredevil so far, that face off will be something to look forward to. Episodes 4-6 have really focused on our villains and Daredevil working to fight his way to the top, but let us not forget our support cast. Foggy has been working on a case where various property owners are trying to force people from their homes and it seems to be connected to the same company that attempted to have Karen Page killed: Union Allied.  With the help of reporter Ben Urich, Karen begins to dig into Union Allied to bring those responsible to justice. However with recent attempts on Karen's life, Ben Urich fears for her safety, but agrees to investigate this corruption scandal as long as they do it smart. We get some heavy foreshadowing in these scenes between Karen and Ben, and with them not knowing just how high this thing goes, it's only a matter of time before one or both of them ends up in deep trouble.

We are half way through the series at this point and Daredevil continues to be fantastic. In this second act, we spend some much needed time with the villains to understand their hopes and dreams... and what drives them into a murderous rampage. In setting up the villains in this way, it makes it very fun for the viewer to follow Matt Murdock as he tries to make the connections all the while knowing just how high up this thing goes, and just how much trouble our heroes are really in. The sub-plots with Foggy and Karen really do feel secondary, but I do see where they are going and how they may tie in so I will give them a pass for seeming a little weak in the beginning; for now. My one complaint at this point, is that Matt Murdock and Foggy have not really had a lot of screen time together. I know this is because we are focusing on the villains at this point, and you can't have a Daredevil show without some ass kicking fight scenes, so that kind of drives a wedge between our hero and his supporting cast. When Matt and Foggy are together it's great, they have chemistry and I just want them to make out. So hopefully over the next few episodes we get to see more of that relationship.  Like I said this is a minor gripe and I am very happy to see a few episodes dedicated to the villain because it just builds the tension in such a way that you can't do with only a few scenes. It's like watching an unstoppable force barrel toward an unmovable object... there is going to be blood, and we all can't wait to see it!

See you next week!

Patrick Delaney - A nerd baptized in the flames of Dungeons and Dragons, who would grow up reading comic books, and watching Star Wars like it was the only three movies ever made.. this nerd would one day share his opinions .. on the internet. God save us all ... and follow up on twitter .. @x_fenderx
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