So, yeah, I was pretty disappointed in Daredevil. Here's a quick (spoiler-including) breakdown of why:
It's basically "Christopher Nolan's Arrow"
Daredevil is basically what Arrow would be like if it were 10x as pretentious and the main character were Roy the Worst Poor instead of Oliver, which is to say even worse, as hard as that is to imagine.
I've long complained about the simplistic and problematic takes that Arrow and Nolan's Batman have had regarding class and Daredevil pretty much doubles down on those. Its vision of social justice is two frat boy lawyers and basically their unpaid intern that they want to bang. Blech.
It looks a little bit too much like The Spirit.
Which, hey, would be fine by me, except at no point in Daredevil does Sam Jackson beat anybody with a toilet.
Speaking more broadly: it doesn't feel like it's actually somewhere, let alone a specific part of a real city. They talk constantly about where they are, and yet there is almost no sense of place.
Also, the sets didn't really do it for me. Everything's not so much grubby as prettily idealized grubbiness. It's a vacuous image of urban poverty.
It's got one of the worst love triangles on television
The Matt-Foggy-Karen relationship is basically unwatchable.
Is this what we are now? Three people who don't even talk to each other?
is a thing that Karen actually says. What she means, of course is:
oh no our weird awkward three-way sexual tension without any chemistry work marriage is on the rocks waaaaah
It's terrible. It's some of the worst whitepeoplefeels tv at a time when television is conspicuously awash in whitepeoplefeels. (cf. Sleepy Hollow's recent abysmal season.)
It's not really established, no time is taken for any sort of character development to support it, it doesn't drive anything in the plot, and yet the show spends so much fucking time on it. ::barf::
All the asian characters are cookie-cutter villains
I mean, even Arrow does a better job with this shit.
They fridge their only major character of color
Vondie Curtis-Hall's Ben Urich is amazing. He completely sells the character, and he elevates every scene he's in. In particular, his scenes with Deborah Ann Woll's Karen are fantastic. (She's great any time she can get away from Matt and Foggy, but the times that she and Ben are alone are the only time the show really works.) They have basically the only relationship on the show with any kind of complexity--what could have been a simplistic mentor-mentee thing, given nuance and tension by the push and pull of their ethics, their experiences, and their differently reserved personalities.
And then of course they fridge Ben--and not even really to any purpose, because it doesn't really change Karen's arc substantially, and it doesn't have a reason to change Matt's arc, because he barely interacted with Ben at all. So what the hell?
If it hadn't happened so close to the finale, I would probably have declined to finish out the season, it was so stupid. And from there on out, it's nothing more than Marvel's TV-MA Whitepeoplefeels Hour.
And no, Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple does not count as a major character
She barely gets to do anything in the show. She's hardly on it. Which is dumb and a waste.
So, what does this mean for the other Marvel-Netflix shows?
Dunno. But I'm not counting AKA Jessica Jones or Luke Cage out yet, for a two reasons
- Different writers and showrunners
- Lead characters that aren't frat boys
- Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter
Simply put, it would be harder to make as boring a show as Daredevil about either Jessica Jones or Luke Cage, so I hold out hope that they won't.
I have no clue about (or particular investment in) Iron Fist, so ::shrug::