Daredevil (TV series)
|Created by||Drew Goddard|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Production location(s)||New York City|
|Running time||48–61 minutes|
|Distributor||Netflix Streaming Services|
|Original release||April 10, 2015 –|
October 19, 2018
|Followed by||Jessica Jones|
Marvel's Daredevil, or simply Daredevil, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Drew Goddard, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the first in a series of shows that lead to The Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with DeKnight Productions for the first season and Goddard Textiles for the first and second seasons. Steven S. DeKnight served as showrunner on the first season, with Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez taking over for the second season, and Erik Oleson joining the series as its showrunner for its third season; Goddard served as a consultant for the series.
Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, a blind lawyer-by-day who fights crime as a masked vigilante by night. Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent D'Onofrio also star, with Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, and Ayelet Zurer joining them for season one, Jon Bernthal, Élodie Yung, and Stephen Rider joining the cast for season two, and Wilson Bethel and Jay Ali joining in season three. Daredevil entered development in late 2013, a year after the film rights to the character reverted to Marvel, with Goddard initially hired in December 2013. DeKnight replaced him as showrunner and Cox was hired to star in May 2014. Filming took place in New York City, in areas that still looked like the old Hell's Kitchen.
All episodes of the first season were released on Netflix on April 10, 2015, while the second season was released in its entirety on March 18, 2016. They were met with positive reviews. In July 2016, the series was renewed for a third season, which was released on October 19, 2018. A spin-off series, centered on Bernthal's character Frank Castle / Punisher and titled The Punisher, was ordered by Netflix in April 2016. On November 29, 2018, Netflix canceled Daredevil.
One of the main underlying themes of this series is Matt Murdock's spiritual journey based on his Catholic faith. A recurring theme in the series is Matt's conflict of conscience in truly fighting evil without participating himself in evil actions. His moral compass tells him that he must not murder another human being in order to bring about justice. He sees that the only way to stop certain villains is with force, but he is conflicted about being himself the devil when forced to respond to violence with violence. And here the title of the series comes into play, between Matt's being a daredevil coming to a fine line with his being a devil.
Another significant theme is that of Matt's physical blindness: Matt lives in a world of darkness, afraid that he himself might succumb to the darkness. While his physical blindness gives him superior physical abilities, he is however afraid of interior blindness in not seeing the way of righteousness, similar to Jesus' reproach of the Pharisees:
12 Then his disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13 He said in reply, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides (of the blind). If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.”—
Season 1 Episode 1 "Into the Ring" confession scene
One of the interesting things about the show is that it takes Matt’s faith seriously, which allows his worldview to weave around those of his more secular friends. In Matt’s worldview, he was blinded and gained superpowers so that he would be able to fight injustice for God. In his worldview, his spiritual state is more important than his physical, hence why he doesn’t mind getting kicked around and beaten up in the course of making New York a better place. When we met him in season one Matt sat in a confessional, speaking to Father Paul Lantom, asking forgiveness for violence he hadn’t committed yet. ... it would seem that Matt has given into “the devil” within him, betrayed his father’s deepest wish for him, and begun using violence for the greater good, and realized that he needs a moral core so he doesn’t lose himself. So, he turns to the church — specifically his old childhood church, which turns out to have even more ties to his life than he realizes.
Matt: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been... it's been too long since my last confession. My dad, he used to come to this church back when I was a kid. He was a fighter. Old school. Boxer. Lost more than he won. Had a 24-31 record before he, ... But he could take a punch. Jesus, he could take a punch."
Father Lantom: "Language."
Matt: "Sorry, Father. Yeah, guys he went up against used to say it was like hitting oak. And nights when he was outmatched, my dad's strategy was to let 'em hit him till they broke their hands. He never got knocked out, my dad. Knocked down, sure. But he always got back up. He was always on his feet when he lost. Every now and then, though, every now and then, he'd get hit and something inside of him would snap. My grandmother, she was the real Catholic. Fear of God ran deep. You'd have liked her. She used to say, "Be careful of the Murdock boys. They got the devil in 'em." And you'd see it sometimes in the ring. His eyes would go dead and he'd start walking forward real slow hands at his sides, like he wasn't afraid of anything. And the other guy, he'd see that look, and he'd try to get away from him. Nah. My dad, he'd catch him and trap him in the corner. Let the devil out. Yeah. Now, I didn't understand it. What he was feeling deep inside, I didn't understand it. Not back then."
Father Lantom: "But you understand it now? Perhaps this would be easier if you tell me what you've done."
Matt: "I'm not seeking penance for what I've done, Father. I'm asking forgiveness for what I'm about to do."
Father Lantom: "That's not how this works. What exactly are you going to do?"
Season 1 Episode 2 "Cut man"
After Daredevil took out a covert russian operative who came searching for him at Claire's apartment, there is a scene of a dialogue between Daredevil and Claire in which he asks her explicitly, why she has decided to help him. The conversation touches on who Daredevil is, a little bit along the lines of the evangelical "Who do you say that I am?" (Marc 8:27-28).
As a vigilante, Daredevil seeks to bring justice to those who are in need of justice, resorting to the use of force to counter those who perpetrate injustice in the city. He is in someway a messiah figure, though quite different from Jesus Christ in his approach to bringing about justice. Claire Temple admires Daredevil but is also a little bit afraid of him and his ways. When she mentions the people that have been helped by Daredevil, and Daredevil invites her to be not afraid, it sounds almost a bit like Jesus answering the doubts of the disciples of John the Baptist:
2 When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him 3 with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 4 Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. 6 And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”—
When Claire shows her admiration for Daredevil's ability to take a beating and stay dignified, Daredevil attributes this to his Catholic upbringing. Perhaps he is referring in some way to Jesus' teaching about turning the other cheek in the context of the Sermon on the Mount, even though he himself is willing to use force to stop the injustice of wrongdoers.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on [your] right cheek, turn the other one to him as well.—
Claire Temple: "This is way past what I signed up for."
Daredevil: "What exactly do you think that was?"
Claire Temple: "I found a man who needed help, so I helped him."
Daredevil: "Oh yeah? That simple?"
[ Claire glances at unconscious Russian ]
Claire Temple: "Do you really want to get into this in front of him?"
Daredevil: "He's out."
Claire Temple: "Maybe he's faking."
[ Matt listens carefully ]
Daredevil: "He's not."
Claire Temple: "Okay, that right there? That's what I'm talking about. Okay, I find a guy in a dumpster who turns out to be some kind of blind vigilante who can do all of this really weird shit like smell cologne through walls and sense whether someone's unconscious or faking it. Slap on top of that, he can take an unbelievable amount of punishment without one damn complaint."
Daredevil: "Well the last part's the Catholicism."
Claire Temple: "So what, I'm supposed to take it on faith I'm on the right side of this?"
Daredevil: "You don't carry a masked man bleeding to death into your apartment on faith. You knew which side you were on the moment you found me. Why'd you help me Claire?"
[ Claire goes on listing a number of people she has met as a nurse, who have been helped by Daredevil. ]
Claire Temple: "Yeah, word's getting around. So I want to believe in what you're doing. I really do. But this?"
Daredevil: "I know you're afraid. You can't give into the fear. If you do, men like this win."
Season 1 Episode 9 "Speak of the Devil" latte scene
Confessing a sin you haven’t committed yet is bad-ass, yes, but it also isn’t doctrinally sound. You can’t pre-pent. Even a severely lapsed Catholic would know that, which means that Matt has not come to confession in good faith. But the basement latte conversation that he and Father Lantom share a few weeks later is in good faith. Lantom knows who Matt is, he respects him, and as the season goes on he doesn’t chastise him for being Daredevil, he just tries to nudge him away from murder. From this point forward we can assume that Lantom is his literal Father Confessor, and that Matt, who takes his Catholicism seriously, is keeping himself as morally upright as possible, and probably giving confessions and receiving communion as regularly as he can. Especially given that any night of Daredeviling could be his last.— Daredevil Succeeds When Matt Murdock Gets His Catholic Mojo Back, https://www.tor.com/2018/10/25/daredevil-season-three-recommits-to-matt-murdocks-catholicism-with-great-results/,
Father Lantom: "Started to wonder if you'd ever turn up again."
Matt: "Yeah, I've, uh - been busy."
Father Lantom: "Hmm. Well, I'll be inside, you wanna take confession."
Matt: "Uh, Father? I was wondering if I could take you up on that latte?"
Father Lantom: "Sugar?"
Father Lantom: "So, what's on your mind, Matthew? Wasn't that hard to find out. People still remember "Battlin' Jack" Murdock around these parts and what happened to his son. Seal of confession still applies, even over lattes. That what you're worried about."
Matt: "Do you believe in the Devil, Father?"
Father Lantom: "You mean as a concept?"
Matt: "No. Do you believe he exists? In this world, among us."
Father Lantom: "You want the short answer or the long one?"
Matt: "Just the truth."
Father Lantom: "When I was in seminary I was more studious than pious, more skeptical than most of my peers. I had this notion which I was more than willing to speak about, at length, to whoever I could corner that the Devil was inconsequential. Minor figure in the grand scheme."
Matt: "Not very Catholic of you."
Father Lantom: "Uh-huh, yeah. In my defense, in the scriptures, the Hebrew word "Satan" actually means "adversary". It's applied to any antagonist. Angels and humans, serpents and kings. Medieval theologians reinterpreted those passages to be about a single monstrous enemy. And, in my youthful zeal, I was certain I knew why: propaganda. Played up to drive people into the church."
Matt: "So you don't believe he exists."
Father Lantom: "Am I done talking?"
Father Lantom: "Years later, I was in Rwanda trying to help local churches provide aid and sanctuary to refugees. I'd become close with the village elder, Gahiji. He and his family had the respect of everybody, Hutu and Tutsi alike. He'd helped them all through famines, disease. The militia liked to force Hutu villagers to murder their neighbors with machetes. But nobody would raise a hand against Gahiji. They said, "Well how can we kill such a holy man?" So the militia commander sent soldiers with orders to cut his head off in front of the entire village. Gahiji didn't try to put up a fight. Just asked for the chance to say goodbye to his family. By the time he was done, even the soldiers didn't wanna kill him. So they went to their commander and asked permission to shoot him. At least give him a quick death. The commander wanted to meet this man who had won the respect of so many. He went to Gahiji talked with him in his hut for many hours. Then he dragged him out in front of his village and hacked him to pieces along with his entire family. In that man who took Gahiji's life I saw the Devil. So yes, Matthew I believe he walks among us taking many forms."
Matt: "What if you could've stopped him from ever hurting anyone again?"
Father Lantom: "Stopped him how?"
Season 2 Episode 4 "Penny and Dime"
Matt: "It was a nice sermon."
Father Lantom: "Thank you."
Matt: "Most priests would have found something kind to say about the man himself, but..."
Father Lantom: "I said he came to church. Nothing shines up a halo faster than a death, Matthew. But funerals are for the living... and revising history... only dilutes the lessons we should learn from it."
Matt: "It wasn't my fault."
Father Lantom: "What wasn't?"
Matt: "Grotto's death."
Father Lantom: "No one said it was."
Matt: "Yeah. There's a new man in town, he's, uh... killing people in cold blood."
Father Lantom: "Yeah, I read about what happened with the Irish. Must have been a... busy couple nights."
Matt: "Yeah, I did everything I could to... uh, protect my client."
Father Lantom: "That work is done, Matthew."
Matt: "Because I failed."
Father Lantom: "At least you tried."
Matt: "Well, like you said, his life had value. A whole world's been lost and others are dying one after the other..."
Father Lantom: "Matthew, what are you looking for?"
Father Lantom: "For what?"
Matt: "Uh... not doing more?"
Father Lantom: "You just said you did everything you could. If you're the man I understand you to be, I'm sure that's true."
Matt: "Then why do I still feel guilty?"
Father Lantom: "Guilt can be a good thing. It's the soul's call to action. The indication that... something is wrong. The only way... to rid your heart of it... is to correct your mistakes and keep going... until amends are made. I don't know what you didn't do or what you should have done... but the guilt... the guilt... means your work is not yet finished."
Matt: "Thank you."
Season 3 Episode 1 "Resurrection"
During the course of Season 2, Matt's decisions seem to have taken him along a path in which he feels that he has lost himself and betrayed his relationship with God. His near death at the end of Season 2 was almost intended to be a suicide, an act of despair. In fact, in the opening scene of Season 3, Matt
is not grateful for his miraculous survival, and he doesn’t thank the nuns for saving his life—he’s too busy obsessing over Elektra. He knows that whatever arguments he made about wanting to bring Elektra “back to the light” he walked into Midland Circle with the other Defenders with no intention of walking back out. He knows he was committing suicide. He chose sexy death with Elektra over being God’s superhero. Father Lantom seems to intuit at least some of this, and immediately offers to hear his confession and give Matt Communion.
Because, again, in this worldview Matt is in a state of sin. He is out of joint with God, Catholicism, and his universe, and until he repents of his decision at Midland Circle and receives Communion he is, spiritually speaking, %!*#°$. He and Lantom both believe this.
And Matt literally turns his back and tells his Father Confessor to “give it a rest.”
Over the next four episodes Matt rails against his faith, speaking about God not as New Atheist or as a Recovering Catholic but as a betrayed lover. There’s no external romantic plotline for Matt in this season, because his real romance is with God, and they’ve had one hell of a falling out. And for all Matt’s attempts to hit Nihilism up as a rebound chick, he just can’t quit the Lord.
But, tellingly, he just keeps talking about God, not to God—he ignores Sister Maggie and Father Lantom’s invitations to Mass (hell, Karen attends Mass before Matt does) and he certainly doesn’t pray… except for one notable exception.
At the end of the first episode he goes out hero-ing for the first time (back in an all-black outfit that is at least partially constructed from a nun’s wimple) and while he rescues a girl and her father, he ultimately loses the fight. The goons try to leave him in the street but he calls them back, throws one of them a metal pipe, and offers his throat, saying “God forgive me.”
The goons are understandably confused and bolt when they hear sirens approaching.
So that’s two suicide attempts now.
But of course that happens out in the street, away from his church, and away from the priest and nun who he’s desperately trying to impress with his anger.
- Lowry, Brian (April 1, 2015). "TV Review: 'Marvel's Daredevil'". Variety. Archived from the original on April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Lowery, Brian (February 24, 2016). "TV Review: 'Marvel's Daredevil,' Season 2". Variety. Archived from the original on February 24, 2016. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
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