Is 'Marvel's Daredevil' a worthy version of the superhero's story?

The 2003 film version of 'Daredevil' wasn't a success – is a Netflix TV series a better venue for the superhero's tale? The show stars Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, and Vincent D'Onofrio.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
'Marvel's Daredevil' stars Vincent D'Onofrio.

Viewers are now able to see the adventures of another Marvel superhero, but these ones will be on the small screen rather than at movie theaters.

“Marvel’s Daredevil,” based on the comic book superhero of the same name, premiered on Netflix on April 10 as a 13-episode first season. The superhero Daredevil is also known as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer whose other senses are increased and who decides to fight crime. 

“Daredevil” was previously adapted as a 2003 film starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and Colin Farrell, but the movie was not a success. Monitor writer Lisa Leigh Connors wrote of the film, “Ten minutes into it, you won't need superhuman senses to realize it won't be a great movie… Sure, there's plenty of action – almost too much – but the characters aren't likable, it's thin on plot, and the acting is robotic… the bloody violence is exhausting and grotesque.”

The new TV adaptation stars “Stardust” actor Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, while Deborah Ann Woll of “Ruby Sparks” plays Karen Page, a love interest for Matt, and Elden Henson of “Jobs” portrays Matt’s friend and professional partner Foggy Nelson. Meanwhile, actor Vincent D’Onofrio is portraying the villain known as the Kingpin. 

“I just brought in this kind of character who in one sentence could easily go from being a child to a monster, depending on where his emotions take him,” D’Onofrio, who starred on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," told USA Today.

In an early review of the show, Brian Lowry of Variety called it “dark, brooding, and violent.”

“This is a pretty faithful retelling of the comics, while embracing a tone similar to Frank Miller’s invigoration of the character in the 1980s,” Lowry wrote. “The pulpy style and brutality (torture is one of Daredevil’s tools) clearly seek a higher sense of realism, which must be balanced against the notion of a blind superhero who can shimmy up walls and whose spectacular hearing lets him function, among other things, as a human lie detector. Helpfully, Cox brings the necessary mix of grit and Marvel-esque self-doubts to the dual role… operating in Netflix’s pay-to-view world is clearly liberating, in much the way animated direct-to-DVD titles enable the comics companies to cater to knowledgeable fans without needing to worry too much about luring the uninitiated into the tent. And the binge prospect should be helpful in getting people hooked on the overarching adventure.”

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