Iremember “Daredevil” (2003) being a solid – and even serious — superhero movie when I saw it in the theater. But after “Batman Begins” (2005) set a new standard for serious genre films, and after Netflix’s recent “Daredevil” series did justice to the Man Without Fear, the 2003 movie stands in stark contrast as a mediocre adaptation of the Marvel comic.
There’s something to be said about keeping good villains around, and “Daredevil” Season 3 (October 2018, Netflix) is a case in point. Although Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) was the Big Bad of Season 1, he again fits that bill here, in 13 episodes that explore how one ingenious sociopath can take control of the very systems – the FBI, the justice department – that should theoretically protect society from him.
The MCU’s first crossover TV series, “The Defenders” Season 1 (2017, Netflix), has all the fun of a superhero team-up, along with all the clunkiness. Despite being written by four veterans of “Daredevil” – Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Drew Goddard — it is a notable step down from that bar-setting series.
After I finished Season 1 of “Daredevil,” my buddy Shaune told me Season 2 (2016, Netflix) is even better. I scoffed at the notion. Now, after finishing Season 2, I have to admit he is right. The cinematography and Hell’s Kitchen locations are still amazing, but now we see even more striking rooftops, water towers and tunnels. Plus, the whole thing plays like an epic morality play about the struggles of noble vigilantes.
In retrospect, I was destined to be a huge “Daredevil” fan before finally getting around to watching Season 1 (2015, Netflix) of this Marvel Cinematic Universe series. Frank Miller’s 1980s comics that redefined Daredevil into a grim vigilante heavily influenced Eastman & Laird’s invention of one of my favorite comics: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Splinter comes from Stick, the Foot comes from the Hand, and the same ooze that gives Daredevil his heightened senses mutates the Turtles.