NEW SEASON EXCLUSIVE
One of the most impressive things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its patchwork of genres. Political thrillers, period pieces, pulp sci- fi – it’s a world that can seemingly tell any story, so long as they’re stitched together with a tone that’s fun, bright and bloodless. So yeah, you could argue that it was Guardians Of The Galaxy, or even
Ant- Man, but Marvel’s greatest gamble was probably last year’s Daredevil, the dark and gritty Netflix series that featured a man being beaten to death with a car door.
“I remember reading that bit [ in the script] and thinking, ‘ This is like Lock, Stock And Two
Smoking Barrels!” says Charlie Cox, the English actor tasked with bringing the Man Without Fear to life. “It was a surprise. It just read differently, very mature, very sophisticated. Even off the page it shocked me, it shocked me to read it. But then I don’t think you can do this with other comic characters. I think if you did it with Spider- Man it’d be invalid. Whereas with Daredevil, with the Frank Miller ’ 80s stuff, the comics themselves are a very similar tone to the show.”
There’s no way to know how many people actually watched Daredevil ( Netflix doesn’t release its ratings data), but it’s fair to say that, critically, the gamble paid off. For although its tone was unusual for Marvel, its quality wasn’t. Series one established Daredevil as an intense, violent and Wire- esque study of organised crime – a hallmark of showrunner Steven S DeKnight, the Buffy/ Angel writing veteran previously responsible for the blood- soaked Spartacus.
senses working overtime
It also managed to do what Ben Affleck in 2003 could not: do justice to Matt Murdock – blind lawyer by day, vigilante by night. In case you missed season one, the story goes that Murdock was only a child when he was blinded by a toxic chemical spill, an accident that causes him to develop superhuman senses. He can hear the faintest heartbeat, feel the slightest movement and, well, you probably don’t want to know what he can smell. (“I imagine,” says Cox, “that when someone really lets one rip, he has to leave the room.”)
Although created by Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett in 1964, the Daredevil of Netflix is very much the son of a pre- Sin City Frank Miller, who reinvented Murdock as a lonely, tortured Catholic in the ’ 80s – one who weaponised his senses to protect his neighbourhood and avenge his father ( a boxer murdered by mobsters after refusing to throw a fight) but feels conflicted about doing so. Indeed,
Daredevil’s first series – a slow- burning,