Daredevil: (Cool) Fighting with the Same Old Tropes
I have never really been a super fan of Daredevil, other than for the occasional team-up and part of his rogue's gallery. But I decided to give the Netflix Marvel's Daredevil a shot mostly because it will lead into the Defenders (wishful thinking) and not Heroes for Hire in a few years.
We finally finished the 13 episode run the other night.
The show has everything I love in my comics: gritty, street-level "super" heroes battling against all odds, finding a way around the police to dispense justice, draped in my one of my favorite genre's: noir. The action is visceral and brutal, and wounds do not heal overnight. The show has some of the best superhero TV show writing today, which is saying quite a bit given how Agent Carter, Arrow and The Flash have raised the bar. (See how I did not mention Smallville, Gotham or Agents of Shield? Future rant.)
Let's start with Matt Murdock, The Daredevil himself, who is fully fleshed out with flashbacks of his father that are perfect. Those scenes fully aid in seeing why he is such a damaged character and why he does what he does. That model also works incredibly well with Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin...almost too well. The show begins to feel more like a Kingpin show that features Daredevil. I remember turning to my wife halfway through and noting, "That is how you do a Kingpin story." Wilson Fisk is one of the best villains; while not on par with the likes of Doctor Doom, he is incredibly efficient and driven. Overall it is a solid first season that built great groundwork for Season 2 and a universe that could easily be expanded in the future.
SPOILERS AHEAD!!! Turn back now...
While I was surprised about the casting of Vondie Curtis Hall as Ben Urich, it quickly became obvious that Marvel was going with the old movie trope of the mystical black man: the man that would empower the white protagonist to complete their mission and die doing so. It quickly became a game of figuring out in which episode they would kill Ben off so the others could carry on the good fight.
Daredevil was a good show that follows the same Marvel (Hollywood) model: a mostly troubled/damaged white male protagonist with a funny but loyal male (usually white) friend that supports him, an attractive female future love interest (frequently white), and a side character that may be a PoC. In a world of unlimited powers, heroes and more it is disappointing that one of the main cast could not be a PoC. Hell, what about a Black Daredevil?
As a diehard comic fan, I live in hope that Marvel will embrace the strategy of the Fast and the Furious franchise. They have embraced the concept of having a diverse cast of characters from all races and genders, and have become the most successful movie franchise to-date. It is crazy that a young boy can be bitten by a radioactive spider, live with his single aunt in Brooklyn, but in many people's minds, can't be black. I mean, that would just be crazy.