Seeing as everything within the Marvel Universe is now being made into either a blockbuster film or popular TV show, it was only a matter of time until the blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night, got another chance at a live action adaptation. Back in 2003, Daredevil had been brought to the big screen with Ben Affleck [Batman] playing the title role, and well, not many people were impressed. Me especially.
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Nope, still not impressed.
The film struggled with what many superhero movies did with at the time, a lack of balance. You see, in the early '00s, the superheroes from comics were still seen as being over-the-top in many respects. So the natural inclination for many movie adaptations was to either mirror that sense of ridiculousness, or try to re-imagine the hero as dark, gritty and complex. When the Daredevil film was released, it was strange, as it blended together a rather dark tone and downright laughable action. This combo left many in the audience scratching their collective heads because they didn't know if they should just be entertained by it or to take it seriously.

Unfortunately, not too long after Daredevil made its debut, filmmakers finally started to realize how to make these movies work by treating superheroes like real people who happened to have extraordinary abilities and live in extraordinary worlds. Suddenly, superheroes were relatable because they had personalities and flaws that both helped and hindered their desire to save the world. Daredevil, you sacrificed yourself for a greater good.
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What a concept!
Thankfully, the guardian devil of Hell's Kitchen wasn't forgotten by Marvel Studios and he now has a TV series produced by online outlet Netflix. When the series was released earlier this month, I immediately put it at the top of my queue and started watching them as fast as I could. Unfortunately, due to a mountain of homework, and mandatory overtime at work, my binging didn't reach 100 percent. But fear not TRUE BELIEVERS! I can assure you that I have finished  enough episodes to give you all a pretty good idea of what to expect. [Sidenote: becasue I haven't finished the series your guaranteed a spoiler free review!]
The first thing I have to say is that this show looks great. It's look is very different from what you'd see in other Marvel shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or Agent Carter. It's tone is more more reminiscent of crime dramas or TV thrillers but knows how to keep pace with the action it constantly provides. This approach might be thanks to a pair of the staff writers (also married) that spent three years as writers on Law & Order: SVU. Also, the fight scenes are amazing for a small screen format. One fight scenes at the end of episode two, is done with what I'm pretty sure was one take and lasted about 3 to 5 minutes. Fake fight aficionados will find great enjoyment in the type of care and forethought taken with each fight or action scene in every single episode.

In addition to what I appreciated about the series is that the audience doesn't get a big explanation as to what Murdock's abilities actually are. We know that he became blind as a kid by being exposed to chemicals in the first few seconds of the pilot, and then, over the course of the series, we gradually get to see the extent of his abilities as he uses them in great reveals both big and small. I always enjoy when a characters origin story isn't laid out for us it always seems like cheating. In this series the audience gets to know Murdock as a character first which makes watching his journey more rewarding as a viewer. And thank God, Daredevil doesn't feature a cheesy monologue given at the beginning of each episode or a phrase always said about justice whenever the hero defeats a bad guy.
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Cough, cough...
My only complaint so far is that the show hasn't quite found its footing as to what it wants to be. It's not really a superhero show, or a crime drama, or thriller for that manner. If the idea is for it to just be its own 'thing' then by all means I hope they attain whatever that 'thing' is, but right now it gives me the impression as a viewer that the show is a bit lost. Sure they are intent on taking you somewhere, and you're excited to get there, but you don't really trust their sense of direction.

Once again, I haven't finished the season yet, so more than likely it will just get better and my complaint will mean nothing. If it doesn't, the show has at least earned enough respect for me to come back for more in a season two [which was just given the green light yesterday].  Plus, a rocky season one just may be a trait of Marvel's TV division. After all, season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been much better than its freshman season.  

All in all, Daredevil is worth checking out. Whether you want to get into the next big superhero show, be compelled by a new crime drama with a twist, or just want to see Daredevil in a more flattering light than he's been in the past. You should totally check out this new season as soon as possible.

Oh! One more important thing I forgot to mention.
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HOLY CRAP!!! FOGGY NELSON IS FULTON REED FROM THE MIGHTY DUCKS!!!!!11!!!!!
What are your thoughts on Daredevil? Share them below.
 
 
Last week ABC premiered, "Agent Carter," yet another Marvel project on the not-so-big screen. Presumably, because the executives think that we'll start riots in the streets if our Marvel quota isn't constantly being met. "Agent Carter" is a six-episode long mini-series that follows, Margaret 'Peggy' Carter of "Captain America" fame.  It's set during the mid-1940s, not long after Cap's crash in the Atlantic sea. When the series starts, the SSR has relegated her to secretarial duties because either: one, they had forgotten (or perhaps aren't aware?) about all the times that Peggy has proven herself to be more than capable of kicking ass, or two, in the 40s men were sexist and amnesiacs.

When an old friend, Howard Stark, asks her to prove his innocence after being accused of selling his own weapons on the black market, Carter's dull office life gets far more interesting. Since the SSR see Stark as a traitor to be apprehended, she effectively becomes a double agent, and uses her skills and resources to find out who's really responsible for Starks' weapons falling into the wrong hands.

In all honesty, "Captain America: The First Avenger'" is one of my least favorite Marvel films. The characters in it were either not likeable, or had little depth. I also found the pacing strange and the plot was all too familiar.
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Nazis using mystical MacGuffins in order to gain power and world domination?! What'll they think of next?

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!

At first, the pilot episode was slow, and right out of the gate, they hit you with a continuing barrage of sexism until we get to Carter's first 'mission' for Stark. I found this set up to be reminiscent of a vintage, more boring version of "Alias."  Early on, my hopes were starting to drop, until she brings one of Starks' dangerous inventions home. After one intense deactivation scene, sudden roommate death, and engaging fight later, the show managed to give Carter some much-needed dimension and (more importantly) got me hooked. Yes, the whole "everyone around me gets hurt" is a bit tired and usually comes off as whiny, but Carter has literally just lost Captain America and now her friend is dead because of her, albeit unintentionally. You start to realize the pressure and frustration Carter must feel in striving to be an exceptional agent, while also dealing with the emotional strain of constantly being unappreciated and losing all the people she cares about.

END OF SPOILERS!

While the first episode wasn't exactly mind-blowing, it did manage to give Peggy Carter's character a little more life and will provide you with an engaging 40s era spy story if nothing else. And if you're a Marvel fan you'll definitely appreciate how much the story is steeped in Marvel lore.
PictureJennifer Walters, She-Hulk & Lawyer
For example: The cab service, "Lucky Star Cab Company" that was prominently featured in "Captain America: The First Avenger's" chase sequence, is frequently used by characters in the series. Also, Roxxon Motor Oil is once again part of shady goings on, as it has been in both "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and in the comics.  In addition, I caught an offhand remark about a neighbor who is a secretary at Goodman, Kurtzman, and Holliway for all of you fellow She-Hulk fans you'll know that's where Jennifer Walters works. Finally, there's a certain butler for the Starks that becomes a main character, named Edwin Jarvis.


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Pictured: Marvel's version of Alfred Pennyworth.
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I'm really hoping that this series doesn't peter out by the end of its run but am not too worried as it is only slated for seven episodes. I hope they keep adding dimension to Carter's character and I'm excided to see how much modern-era Marvel can be set up in the 1940s. So if the creators and writers are as good as they've proven to be so far, then I'll be riding this one out until Daredevil begins on Netflix in April.

You can stay caught up on Agent Carter by visiting Amazon Instant Video and if you get a TV Season Pass you save 7% off the price of each episode aired!

You can find out more about the show on Amazon. Use either link.