Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Daredevil Series: S1E01

So, first impressions, yeah?

It wasn't bad. It wasn't cheesy. It was a competent entry in the parade of comic book adaptations for the small screen. When the episode ended, I did not feel compelled to see another episode. Because of the format, I will watch at least the first four episodes. Likely the whole thing.

Also because there's nothing wrong with it. They made choices in structure and storytelling that have been made many times before, employed archetypes and tropes employed before, and executed it all in a fashion that's fashionable. You could do worse...much worse.

I have seen the earnest but troubled do-gooder guy. I have met his wisecracking fast-talking buddy. I know the beautiful, weepy, wrongfully accused blonde on their doorstep. I've been to this rain-soaked crime-ridden city. I have even witnessed that badguy get strung up on a chain he didn't know the goodguy knew was there. Why am I revisiting such a familiar story? What is new and different about it?

The performances should be one answer, the way the actors reinterpret a role and give it new life, and yet I found they were all too by-the-book and lacked engaging personalities. Earnest as they were in their portrayals. I am holding out hope for D'Onofrio and Dawson.

Novelty is another reason, seeing a live-action Daredevil and how his unique abilities are showcased, how fight sequences are choreographed, modern twists on old stories. Save for the reference to recent events in the Avengers movie, this plot felt like it could've taken place in the nineties. There were two fight sequences in this episode, meat and potatoes hand-to-hand for the most part, both times in poor lighting with darkly dressed participants at dark and uninteresting locations. When Murdock uses his abilities, it's subtle. Which is one way to do it, but it never struck me as crucial--a thing that gave him a real edge over other action heroes.

As for seeing a live-action Daredevil, we have before. Here, he is already into crime-fighting but has not yet attained the crime-fighter title or costume, that awkward stage where he doesn't act like a novice but he doesn't look like a pro. (I don't believe Murdock made a single mistake or miscalculation in this episode. Always seemed to know what was really up.) So, I felt no sense of danger and no sense of fun.

I am being critical, I know, and perhaps overly so given it is just the first episode. Like I said, it's fine. I just am not yet impressed.

Eps 2 - 4

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