Friday, April 24, 2015

My (Late) Daredevil (Sort Of) Review

I'm sure anyone with a Netflix account is aware by now that Marvel Studios' Daredevil was huge success (and any fans without one are grinding their teeth with frustration), so I'll try to avoid retreading all the praise that's been rightfully raining down on the show. Hollywood doesn't have the greatest track record for treating actors and characters with disabilities with true respect. For every academy award winner, there a dozen performances that come off as cliched or fall completely flat. Either they bury people under piles of unnecessary melodramatic emotion in a misguided attempt to pull the heartstrings of the audience or the subject is ignored entirely creating flat 2 dimensional characters. Daredevil is a breath of fresh air here. Channeling one of the best (and often overlooked) aspects of its source material's storylines, the show deftly avoids heavy cliches while, acknowledging that Matt Murdock's (Charlie Cox) blindness is still very much a part of who he has become as an adult. His successes as a lawyer (and a superhero) are never 'in spite of' his disability and his failures are never 'because of' it. He's a successful man who happens to be blind. In the show's quiet moments, audiences meet a man who still wonders what his life would be like if things had turned out differently, but there's never the sense that he feels sorry for himself all day. There's no self pity anywhere. Much of that authenticity comes from Charlie Cox. His body language mimicking the part of an ordinary blind man, turning his head to listen, his eyes staring blankly when he's not wearing sunglasses. Cox even learned how to walk blind folded with only a cane and read using braille (seen occasionally throughout the show). That may seen unimportant, but I was impressed how seriously he was taking the role, even though Murdock's sensitivity to sound allows him to echo locate, making the cane redundant and mostly an act. Some complaints I've regard the fact that he rarely speaks above a whisper during the show. It's never addressed, but if you realize that his hearing is so sensitive to sound that the volume of his own voice is painfully loud, it makes more sense. In the end, the way disability is addressed throughout the series is an another, understandably overlooked, brilliantly executed part of the show. I can't wait to see where things go from here. Grade: A+