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Daredevil: Into the Ring (2015)
Awesome start to an awesome show!
Let's start with the most important factor: (at least in my opinion) the writing. I was incredibly surprised that this show had the guts to actually trust its own storytelling and not rely on the fight/action scenes. When I first heard about this show, I thought that the show wouldn't necessarily have a "good" story or plot, but I'm pleased to say that this episode in particular had a solid story to tell, sure it's nothing groundbreaking, but for such a simple premise the writers did a solid job of making an episode that told a good and satisfying story that made sense, established the characters and set up the rest of the season to a fine degree.
The second most important factor in this show is most likely going to be the characters and the dialogue. Let's start with the characters first: The main character of Daredevil is Matthew Murdock, who is a blind lawyer who works together with his best friend Foggy Nelson, and together they're trying their absolute best to open up their own firm called Nelson and Murdock. Both Matthew and Foggy are very likable in my opinion. Sure, you could say that Foggy is considered to be the "Comic Relief" of Daredevil, but I disagree on that, whilst being a comical guy Foggy is also a pretty intellectual and clever guy who helps the main character to a high degree. Speaking of the main character, I was also surprised as to how much I liked Matthew. I liked that fact that even though he is an incredible talented fighter he is always at a certain disadvantage thanks to his blindness. The chemistry between Matthew and Foggy was also handled in a great way, I felt as though they were actually close friends, and their relationship felt very real and genuine, which is the cause of some good writing and superb acting from both Charlie Cox and Elden Henson.
The dialogue is also very good. I felt as though the people actually talked like real people which again, is most likely thanks to some good writing. I won't spoil anything, but one of my personal favorite dialogue/conversation of this episode (and the entire show) is a conversation between Matthew and Father Lantom in the beginning of the episode. The writing in that scene is so simple and clean yet unique and beautifully told.
I was also amazingly surprised as to how well-choreographed the fight scenes were. Daredevil is an R-rated show, and the producers take full use in that. People in this show don't just get punched and knocked out, most of them: get their bones shattered/broken, head smashed in, strangled, shot, kidnapped, murdered, tortured, sold, decapitated, scratched, bitten, amputated and more graphic stuff. I was not expecting that from a studio such as Marvel, and I'm very happy that they later went even further with The Punisher.
So overall: Into the Ring is a very enjoyable first episode that establishes the characters in a great way, tells a solid story that sets up the rest of the season, gives us some awesome fight scenes and great dialogue, some slow moments but not enough to feel dragged out, this and some very likable characters make this episode one of (if not the) best first episodes of any superhero show.
Daredevil: Condemned (2015)
"The Lone Man Who Thinks He Can Make A Difference"
After the fire has settled from the wrath of Wilson Fisk, Matt finds himself in the crossfire of the criminals of Hell's Kitchen and the police force. Knowing that a wounded Vladimir may have information on Fisk, Daredevil takes desperate measures to save him at all cost.
What this episode does incredible well, is making the viewer feel a sense of unease and anxiety, almost like someone is always watching. Which goes well with the theme of Wilson Fisk and how he has been portrayed during these last couple episodes.
Right from the get go, Condemned is off by an action-packed start. Daredevil realizing that Fisk has most of the police force on his side makes for some very thrilling and suspenseful moments. And it gave me a feeling as if there was no one you could trust.
Knowing that Matt has one goal, and that goal is to keep Vladimir alive, makes for some entertaining and hilarious yet climatic and intense interactions between the two characters. Especially thanks to the vendetta that Vladimir has toward Daredevil.
Although most of this episode takes place during one night and in one place. I figured not much would be accomplished or changed during this episode. But fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised as to how much happened and how much the plot progressed, even if there were some slow moments.
The highpoint of Condemned was by far the conversation between Daredevil and Wilson Fisk. Both Vincent D'Onofrio and Charlie Cox give impeccable performances without even being in the same room. So much hatred and enmity yet respect and deference can be heard from both characters, and seeing both of their ideologies clash was incredibly compelling and thought-provoking to see. As Fisk continues on with his statements and his facts, the viewer almost start to question Daredevil's agendas and ways of doing things. Sure, I was still on Daredevil's side, but I thought it was interesting how Wilson wasn't just a regular black-and-white character. He has motives and reasons behind the things he does, and deep down he wants the same thing as Daredevil does; a better Hell's Kitchen.
Whilst I do believe that the conversation between Daredevil and Fisk is the best part of the episode, I must admit that the ending is by far the most suspenseful and thrilling. So much happens. And by the end of it, the viewer is left with a feeling of helplessness, and I was left questioning how Daredevil is going to able to defeat Fisk, which only compelled me to keep watching the show.
So overall: This episode was intense, thrilling suspenseful, action-filled, well-written and compelling. Some slow moments, yet some rewarding and satisfying interactions between some already established characters makes Condemned one of the strongest Daredevil episodes.
Daredevil: Cut Man (2015)
An emotional roller coaster with some great dialogue, interesting characters and incredible action.
After a surprisingly great premiere, Daredevil does not shy away from letting the viewers use their own imagination to put the pieces together from where the episode prior had ended.
One thing that this episode surprised me on, was the fact as to how much it made me care for not only the main character, but also the other side characters as well. Thanks to some fun and compelling dialogue between the different characters, it gives this otherwise dark and gritty episode a chance for some well-needed light heartedness.
Speaking of the characters, I want to talk about the character of Matt Murdock, and I just want to say one thing. WOW; what a freaking hero. After being ambushed and severely wounded by the Russians, Matt is rescued by a nurse named Claire, and as the episode continues and Matt's condition worsens, we, (the viewers) get to see the aftermath of when Matt lost his sight as a kid.
Whilst many might criticize this episode for being "The Flashback Episode". I must strongly disagree. While this episode did show flashbacks of Matthew's past and the history he shared with his dad. I must say that if it's told, acted and written in a good and believable way, then I don't care if it's a flashback or not.
Speaking of the flashbacks, I must say that the chemistry that Matthew shared with his father was very heartwarming, you could literally feel how much they both cared for one another, which only makes the ending of "Battling Jack Murdock" just that much more heartbreaking. And I won't lie, at the end of the episode, it really tugged at my heart strings quite a bit.
The low point of this episode was by far the Karen and Foggy parts, yet... I didn't hate it. I feel as though it was a nice moment to calm down from all the conflict and tragedy that was currently unfolding, and both actors give fairly good performances, and because of that, their relationship comes across as very genuine and real.
But how can I talk about this episode without mentioning... The Hallway Fight... Holy Crap!. After being brutally beaten and physically exhausted, Matt finds himself in a Hallway filled to the brim with armed Russians. Knowing that the little boy that he has the intention of saving is on the other side of the hall, Matt must give his absolute all to save the young boy.
What unfolds is one of the best fight scenes I have ever seen, not only on television, but in movies as well. So much is done well in this single fight scene. No shaky cam, fantastic choreography by the actors and stuntmen. Great lighting and camerawork. Realistic scenarios and actions (Enemies doesn't get knocked out easily and our hero gets occasionally hit and exhausted) Once the fight is over, you (the viewer) just feel as tired and exhausted as Daredevil does, which makes Daredevil's victory all the more satisfying.
So overall: I must admit that this episode shocked me. I thought for sure that Daredevil would shortly go downhill, but this episode was awesome. Filled with some great character moments. Great dialogue. Emotional flashbacks and Dark Themes.
All of this and an incredible fight scene on top of it, makes Cut Man a must watch for people who wants a more realistic and gritty superhero show.