10 more favorite things about Marvel’s Daredevil

Apr 14, 2015

10 more favorite things about Marvel’s Daredevil

Apr 14, 2015

This is a follow-up from yesterday’s post. Once again, the post contains full spoilers for all thirteen episodes. And, just like in my last post, the items below are listed in no particular order.

Father Lantom

This may be a surprise coming from me, but I really loved the relationship between Matt and his priest in this show. I’ve always felt that Matt’s Catholicism has been exaggerated when the character has been discussed outside of the comics. Going just by the publication record, you can easily plow through a stretch of twenty-thirty issues and see no overt references to religion at all. Being an agnostic myself, I’ve also never really had much invested in this aspect of the character.

However, the way religion is used in this show feels very appropriate, fits the character well, and is not over the top. Father Lantom, played by Peter McRobbie, provides sagely advice and allows Matt to reason his way through his own conflicted emotions, which is vital to Matt Murdock’s character arc in this show. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him, which is really saying something coming from me.

The senses

Here’s another shocker for those who may have followed my initial reactions to the show. The first time through, I ended up getting really hung up on four-five different scenes where I felt that Matt’s senses where portrayed in that magical and nearly transcendental way I remember so well from the Bendis/Maleev run (and was basically the only thing I didn’t like about that run). Those scenes – which include Matt “remote-sensing” a little too much while preparing to provide first aid to Vladimir in “Condemned”, and sensing the silencers on the guns at the dock in “Stick” – still annoy me when I see them. And, “the world on fire” is perhaps the least intuitive rendition of Matt’s perceptions I’ve ever seen (considering many people’s inability to differentiate the literal from the figurative, I would have preferred that the creators had simply left that out).

However, the second time around, I realized that not only did almost every other scene depicting Matt sensing something not rub me the wrong way, but were actually really good, and very much in line with how I would want to see the things translated to a live action medium. All taken together, when you average things out, this series probably provides the most satisfactory interpretation of Daredevil’s senses ever, compared to any individual run on the comic. Go figure.

I’ll have reason to return to this in a separate post – if you’re new to this blog, analyzing Daredevil’s senses through the lens of biophysics and neuroscience has been a pet research project of mine for years – but all I can say right now is: My bad. I take it back. 98% of it anyway. 😉

The bad guys going down set to Puccini

It’s true that the would-be Daredevil of this show operates on a small scale, but the scene in the final episode that sees the rotten pillars of the community tumbling down to the sound of Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot (as performed by none other than Pavarotti), hints at the larger stage his adversaries call home. From small-time crooks, like Turk Barret (played by the inimitable Rob Morgan), to politicians and executives. It’s also a nice nod to the last scene in the first episode where we see the many dead left in the wake of Fisk’s killing spree to tuck away some loose ends.

The costume

Much has been said about the black costume, but I have to say that, when you see it in action, it’s pretty spot on. The static images we were first presented with didn’t do it justice. The in-story joke about it being a work in process also helps put things in a humorous light. Considering this is what a blind guy bought off the Internet, literally sight unseen, it’s not bad. Not bad at all.

What about the final costume? I think that works pretty well too. There is no way you could make the comic book version of the red suit look good on an actual person, so it was a logical decision to try to avoid that, and it makes sense to try to go for something more armored.

My only concern going forward, is that going “full superhero” might lead to a less grounded fighting style and a more lax relationship with the laws of gravity. We’re already seeing signs of this in the way Daredevil jumps from a building at the end in a way he wouldn’t have wearing the previous costume. Be wary of this, all you lovely people in charge.

The courtroom speech

My dad used to teach public speaking and classical rhetoric and has a big collection of old speeches from movies, many of them from courtroom scenes. As I was listening to Matt’s closing argument in the court case from “Rabbit in a Snow Storm,” I was thinking that this would be a great addition to the collection. The way Matt tries to balance legal correctness to defend his client, as he knows he must, with a silent plea for the jury to go against him is brilliantly executed and speaks volumes about the character.

This entire episode is great, if incredibly gory, and the shot of Matt’s face when he takes off his glasses, realizing that his efforts to “untamper” with a tampered jury were for naught, is what dreams are made of. Seriously.

The buddy system

Thus far, I’ve had little to say about Claire Temple and her role as Matt’s nurse, confidante and love interest, but there’s no denying that she has a very important role in Matt’s journey, and Rosario Dawson is fantastic in the role. She’s a great example of an everyday hero, and the decision to include her – or someone like her – was absolutely necessary with the kind of “grounded” appeal that the creators are going for.

Matt needs someone to patch him up, if he’s going to be hurt as badly as he is, and he needs someone to talk to. And, it also helps to have someone who can check the messages on the cell phones he picks off the bad guys.

Claire is mostly a no-show in the later half of the series, but I get the sense that if we get a second season, Foggy will be able to fill the role of confidante and cell phone checker. Despite the new costume, he’ll probably still need someone to patch him up though. Hopefully, Claire will still be around for that.

Madam Gao

Madame Gao is easily one of the creepiest characters of the entire show. She’s like a psycho Chinese grandmother who dispenses wisdom when she’s not busy pushing heroin with the help of her blind minions.

I’m pretty much convinced that we’re going to see her pop up again in Iron Fist, if not before that, since she clearly ties into that world. And I’d bet that her real home is none other than K’un-Lun.

The city

This show is set in New York and actually filmed on location. This makes a huge difference to the authenticity and feel of the show. We also see a city populated with real people, and the diverse cast of characters help add to that real New York feel. Did I mention I love New York? Because I do, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. Even when it’s steeped in violence the way it is in Marvel’s Daredevil.

All the Easter eggs

Many others have already made lists of all the little Easter eggs in the show, and I won’t do a full investigation myself. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed all the ones I noticed, from obvious shout-outs to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to the subtle ones you have to be a hardcore Daredevil fan to notice.

I loved the way Claire comes up with the name “Mike” for Matt (Michael is Matt’s middle name, which is probably why he thought of the name Mike when he had to invent a fiction twin on the spot, way back in Daredevil #25), and I’ve seen way too many Easter egg posts leave out the name Farnum.

In this show, Mr. Farnum is the prison guard who owes a debt to the old mob boss Rigolette and is then tasked with killing Karen in her cell. In the comics, he is the building manager of the office building that housed Nelson & Murdock’s first office. Oh, and he’s also the villain Masked Maruder. Because, why not.

That fight scene (and others like it)

Much has been said about the fight scene a the end of “Cut Man,” usually by people who are considerably better than I am at gauging the quality of fight scenes. All I can say is that I agree that it’s brilliant. And there are other fight scenes as well that really break the mold, such as the 360 degree shot of Matt fighting outside a cab.

What I love about the fight scenes is how physical they are. They’re elegant, but never appear overly choreographed, and they really take a toll on the main character. How often do you see the hero wait to take a few breaths before continuing with the punches? Rarely. Then again, this is a rare gem of a show.


  1. A Clone's Rose

    Love this post, so much. I’m still a little bit iffy on the costume, but I think it’ll grow on me.

    Do you think we’ll see him swinging around at all? I feel we didn’t really get the acrobat aspect of Daredevil just yet.

    Also, I believe Madam Gao is Crane Mother from the city Ku’n-Zi.

  2. Mike Murdock

    I thought the Catholic stuff (in addition to being thematically important) was fitting. You get the idea that Matt is someone who might consider himself Catholic and may believe most of their teachings (although probably not everything) but you could easily know him for months without ever realizing he’s Catholic. You get the impression he hadn’t been to mass in a long time and was basically only seeking out the Priest because of this moral crisis he was having. Frankly, that’s true for many Catholics, which is why I felt it fitting (I also choose to interpret Guardian Devil this way to make it more consistent).

  3. Rose

    Thank you for bringing such great material to us, as always! <3
    While watching I was really happy to see the things you pointed out here. I was really impressed to see you changed your mind on the senses stuff, though.
    Looking forward hearing from you <3

  4. Dhiman

    Hello Christine

    Big fan of your website, thank you for all the hard work you put in it.

    Loved the show and now eagerly waiting for your episodic analysis. Speaking of easter eggs, did anyone notice, the red cellophane like material placed prominently in the trash in the extreme right foreground of the last scene between Matt and Karen? It looks like the “DD” logo from the comics. Is that a subtle nod to the fact that the red suit (at least version 1) will not be having the logo?

  5. castlebanner

    The writing was terrible at times. Charlie Cox was a good casting for Matt Murdock. His acting was spot on until they had him act out the bromance cying scenes over Foggy. Both actors for Foggy and Karen where really bad. Ben Ulrich was good. They never really let the Owsley actor break out until the end. Vincent was great as Kingpin but the same they didn’t let his character loose till near the end of the show. The 13 episode model for this show really didn’t work. It need at least a 22 episode run. There was to much slow burn storytelling for a 13 episode series. The whole time the show was announced I keep hoping that Frank Castle would make a cameo on the show. While watching I was praying that he wouldn’t and I’m glad. Last the costume was terrible. It looks awful. I was shocked at how bad it looked. The black costume just red would have looked ten times better than what they gave us. Overall I would give the series a 6 out of 10. Really not looking forward to the other shows now.

  6. raprillico

    First thing, thank you Christine: I’ve been a regular reader of your great blog for years but I rarely – maybe never, can’t quite remember – commented. My bad, not so good at sharing things. But your posts have always been interesting even when issues were not so good.
    I was at first very skeptical about this show, maybe because of the poor portrayals of Daredevil on screen during the years, maybe because I’m not a huge fan of the super-hero movies we have seen so far.
    I wasn’t convinced of Charlie Cox as Matt, either. I was wrong: I loved him as Matt and as Daredevil, I loved the tears and the charming smiles, the physical presence and the intense and barely suppressed rage during the fights.
    Among my preferred moments there are the scenes with Father Lantom: their interaction felt real and well connected with the story. I’m a Jew living in a country where most people are Catholic, so I‘m not exactly an expert, but I find quite peculiar in this religion the strongly division between the absolute goodness (often reached through self-sacrifice, from Jesus death to saints and martyrs) and that sort of personification of great evil that is the devil. I think that all this clearness makes a lot more difficult to navigate the gray areas like the one where Matt so painfully lives. In fact Father Lantom doesn’t give any solution for Matt’s dilemmas because probably he can’t; he can only try to maintain a bond with him so he can’t get completely lost. “I know my soul is damned” could sound like a bookish turn of phrase, something related to a hypothetical paradise or hell but, as Foggy so clearly points out, for Matt is something as real as the risk of losing his own life.
    I always liked the reference to Matt’s religious belief in the comics, because it makes sense: some of us are religious and our faith helps – or not, it depends – us to make choices, it is part of the way we see the world. In this show I think they handled this aspect well: we have two people reasoning over a very difficult matter (to kill or not to kill the bad man?) with the help of the intellectual tools that their shared religion gives them and this dialogues are brilliant.
    One little thing: the Proverbs verse quoted by Father Lantom is 25:26, if we take a look at the verse 25:28 we read: “Like a city that is broken down and without walls is a man whose spirit is without restraint”. One catholic italian bible here translates the word spirit with anger and both Matt and Fisk seem to be sometimes pretty broken down and defenseless but more because of their own rage than of the surrounding events. And I also think that rage is one of the most interesting feeling-themes shared by the various characters.
    Again, thank you Christine for your work.

  7. Henry_Francis

    I enjoyed the show as a whole. It was done very well, much better (of course) than the awful Ben Affleck movie. Some points that stand out to me –

    1) Leland Owlsley is (presumably) dead? It looked like the Kingpin killed him in the final episode during one of his rages. If so, will he never become The Owl? The Owl has always been pictured in the comics as rather younger and more muscular.

    2) I thought they would have kept Ben Urich alive a little longer. At least long enough to figure out Matt’s identity, as he does in the comics.

    3) The fight in episode 9 with Nobo (?). Nobo seemed to mirror Hand assassin Kirigi in the comics, and met a similar fate (burning alive).

    4) The storyline in episode 6 with DD being holed-up in the warehouse being hunted by police with the building catching fire is pretty much swiped from Miller’s Batman: Year One (Batman issue 406).

    5) I wasn’t sure about the characterisation of Fisk. He seemed a bit more timid to me than Fisk might. I never imagined the Kingpin as stuttering etc. He needed to be more in command.

    6) I didn’t really like the red suit at the end. I realize they couldn’t do spandex like in the comics, but the thing seemed very layered or something.

    7) the final fight with the Kingpin reminded me of the Last Rites storyline from DD #300 where DD battles in the Kingpin in an alley.

  8. G

    I’m so excited to have found this site! Great post xx
    i’m very new to daredevil–still catching up on the netflix second season and currently reading a couple of comic runs on the marvel app. i’m liking it very much, though i’m disappointed after seeing how close he is to black widow in the comics that black widow doesn’t appear in the netflix version. I think she’d do so well with a netflix run of her own and/or working with daredevil a few times.

  9. geb

    wow.. did not realize how much thought, time n effort n all you put in these commentaries.. 1,felt a need to express as much gratitude as possible for you analyzing in depth and with accuracy or common sense an important subject as is such this character (to me 4 1) .. particularly posts regarding the senses.. (of which thru the lens of biophysics and neuroscience is immediate next read).

    senses: hm.. really entertaining.. (sometime we r funny w/out realizing)… matt walking in pharmacy, supermarket, tavern or watever.. in devil guise? and not asking for help with cereal, the menu or asprin.. you have that rare old comic sense of humor thats been missing… iluvit

    threads?: 1948 hudson stepdown designed by frank spring and styled by BETTY thatcher, 1st woman employed as designer by auto mnfctr. belive i read that a woman was also heavily involved in design of this suit.. given time believe that most will come around (doc hudson, the fab hornet?).. 1st “muscle” car?.. sumtime woman knows man best

    (pesonally feel armor unessescary for this major dude.. steven segal broke seany boy’s wrist, knocked out bussey’s tooth (accidentally ofcourse) cause is just too fast… if youre gonna race in stingray, remember its fiberglass, all the more incentive to keep your eye on top (over certain speed does it matter what its made of?)

    religious: raprillico touched on a (most) heavy point.. judaism (which solidified monotheism) did not recognize an equivalent anti-good central persona of evil.. other than as a deity, satan, the teaser, accuser.. it was understood that in the end it was the maker who did or undid.. hmm.. did sumbodies sumwhere sumhow go wrong?

    checked and that email is defunct from no use.. will install new 1 (personal family losses, cap control, no $ in country.. when it rains.. you know)

    crying: no explaination required if youve lived some times as this poor guy has

  10. C

    Re the “the world on fire” comment: i’ve read your comments on this scene a few times on this blog (discovered it yesterday, and immensely enjoying it! I’m mid-S2 in the show right now) and you know, I understood it very differently.
    To me, it had several possible meanings, but never what Matt actually “sees.”

    First one would be metaphorical, how he “perceives” the world (he regularly uses words like see, look to mean “perceive,” “appearance” etc and maybe also to make people more comfortable around him or relate more to what he’s saying?) around him, and an explanation of why he’s punching bad guys at night: the world is burning, because HEll’s Kitchen is in danger, there’s crime all around, people are killed, etc. So, he’s like a fireman, in a way 😉 He’s trying to help put out the fires Fisk and his criminal pals are lighting.

    I also wondered if it wasn’t a reference to the last thing he saw / felt as connected to his eyes/sight, as the chemical blinded him: the feeling his eyes were burning + seeing his father’s face fade out, conflating in one last thing his brain made up as being the last thing he “saw” and something always on his mind whenever he remembers / thinks about back when he was able to see. So, associating Claire’s face (which he doesn’t actually see, but is in fact the outline of a face) with fire as he’s talking about his sight made sense to me. I don’t know if I’m clear 😉

    Finally, maybe that’s how Claire interprets what he says – “oh, he can vaguely see my outline with fire everywhere, uh” – not necessarily what he *means.*

    So it didn’t jar me out 🙂

    • Christine Hanefalk

      @C: Welcome to the blog! I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to comment.

      I think the point where the “world on fire” fell apart for me was when they actually showed it on-screen. Considering that Claire can’t see what the audience is being shown, its only purpose must have been to aid the viewer in “seeing” what Matt supposedly sees. And herein lies the problem. If we had not been shown this footage, I wouldn’t have had an issue with it. I would have taken his “world on fire” statement as more of indication of the chaos and violence he perceives, not as what he is literally seeing.

      The only thing I approve of when it comes to the fire metaphor is that it suggests something fickle and ephemeral. The types of signals that “illuminate” his world (primarily sound) are much more variable than the numerous steady lightsources most of us rely on. The soundscape changes, and so the way this soundscape interacts with the physical world changes as well, hitting objects from various angles with varying sound quality and intensity. It’s extremely interesting to think about.

  11. C

    Oh, the visual effect was really weird and didn’t really work for me as what Matt actually “sees” either, hence my headcanoning into what his *mind* sees: a mix of what he remembers sight to be when he thinks about it (in that moment he knows there’s someone in front of him, even if he can’t tell what she looks like exactly) and what he remembers of his last sighted moments (he tells his father his eyes are burning, and the sensation may have been mixed up with what sight itself was)… as if the *idea* of fire had gone from the feeling to the (memory of) seeing?

    TBH, i entirely agree: it doesn’t work nor is interesting as an actual rendering of what & how he sees / perceives (probably why it doesn’t happen again in the show, thankfully) but it makes so much sense as how he understands the world around him and what pushes him to act as a lawyer and Daredevil.
    i just tend to go for in-universe headcanons that satisfy me more, as convoluted as they can be sometimes 😉

    <3 for your blog!


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