For anyone who’s been hiding under a rock since 2008, cinema has been dominated by Marvel superhero films. It started with Robert Downey Jr. donning the Ironman suit and we’ve never looked back. However, since the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, a film that I enjoyed, I’ve been thinking to myself that perhaps the TV medium of Daredevil is the route that the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) should take.
Don’t get me wrong I adore the Marvel films. I follow the hype, wait for the trailer and constantly talk about the film until its cinematic release. This said I was less enthusiastic about Daredevil when it was announced. I unfortunately did not bond with Marvels: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D even though I felt it could be something amazing. After watching a few episodes I realised that the characters were not explored enough fully to form an attachment (something I hear they have worked on in the second season) and I only jumped in after I heard the announcement of the tie in to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, this was the last few episodes of the first season and was too little too late to make me want to hang around for the second.
Then along came Daredevil.
Daredevil is the first in a group of shows about superheroes (Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage) that will ultimately crossover to form a superhero team known as The Defenders. What completely took everyone by surprise after the misfire of Marvels: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D is that the cast and storyline for Daredevil was superb. Character development and relationships were at the forefront and with 13 episodes released on Netflix, it was easy to absorb almost 13 hours of rich, comic lore driven storylines all at once.
Where Marvel has struck gold with this series lies in the simplicity that we are given 13 episodes to understand Matt Murdock, and why he is fighting to save Hell’s Kitchen in NY. Opposite him is a man determined to change the city for the better no matter the cost, and although never mentioned by his supervillain name, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is a perfect enemy in a more grounded world that the audience can relate to. It’s not about an army of invading aliens or robots fighting a God, billionaire playboy and gamma radiated monster; but everyday criminals and heroes who can get very hurt.
Age Of Ultron was a good film, but at times felt lost as to what it was trying to convey. With so many heroes featured and others popping in and out (The lack of War Machine is just atrocious); it became a film that had no emotional attachment to the characters as we had no emotional moments to cling to. At no point did I think that the Avengers would lose or that they wouldn’t be able to stop Ultron’s robot army. This is the sad part of the MCU that has been planned out over the next 10 years, as if you know the schedule you will know what characters will make it to the end.
On the opposite side of this, Daredevil spent the time getting hurt, meeting the characters that would shape his crusade and even being beaten half to death by the villain mid-way through the series. If the small screen can show off heroes for a fragment of the budget of the Avengers, wouldn’t it be smarter to stick to this format?
With the other series on their way it will be interesting how well they are accepted by fans. After the Defenders the small screen heroes will join Captain America: Civil War where the cinema screen will be flooded by heroes from every film, battling out on the pro or anti registration sides. I suppose when that happens we will see if the MCU really can survive with so many characters on screen or if it’s time to make some more amazing Netflix original series.