In its latest move toward taking over all movies and television shows, Marvel’s horned hero Daredevil is coming to Netflix Friday with a 13-episode season, the first of five Marvel shows hitting the streaming service.
“Marvel’s Daredevil” is a brutal show, hard-hitting and aggressive, and primed for the inevitable binge-watching. It tells the story of lawyer Matt Murdock, the son of a boxer, who is blinded as a child by toxic chemicals. Despite losing his eyesight, his other senses are greatly enhanced, and he uses his extraordinary powers to fight crime under the name Daredevil: The Man Without Fear.
That tagline, however, is a point of contention for British actor Charlie Cox, the man playing Daredevil/Matt Murdock.
“I was concerned that was taken too literally,” he says. “I’m not sure that it’s very interesting to watch someone who is incapable of feeling fear. It also removes one of my favorite qualities in a human being. If you have no fear, you have no courage. And so I was quite worried about that.
“And then I kind of ended up deciding that Man Without Fear is a label given to Daredevil by the public because of what he does because of how he acts, rather than he feels himself,” he continues. “I like to think of Matt Murdock and Daredevil as a man with great fear. The only difference is, he makes the decision every day to punch through that fear, to act anyway, to do what he has to do.”
And if you were facing off against the imposing Vincent D’Onofrio, you’d have a lot of fear too.
“His physical presence is enough to intimidate most men,” Cox says.
Brooklyn-born actor D’Onofrio plays Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, who is all broad shoulders, has a shaved head and a serious mean streak.
“I think there’s a righteousness in this character, in the way that [executive producer] Steven S. DeKnight wrote it, and there’s a moral base that’s always questioning what’s right, what’s wrong in this origin story between Daredevil and Fisk,” D’Onofrio says.
Mark Waid, who currently writes the “Daredevil” comic, sees the Kingpin as a “brilliant chess master who sees 10, 20, 100 moves ahead of his opponent.”
“Wilson Fisk really is the hero of his own story, convinced that he and he alone can bring order and redemption to New York,” Waid says. “So long as it’s on his terms.”
“Daredevil” was created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett and has been published consistently since then, with stories from some of comics most lauded creators, including Marvel Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, who drew the book in the late 1990s.
“Matt Murdock’s story remains fresh and interesting because it touches on so many things that we can either relate to or root for — a neighborhood kid, raised by a single dad, who has to hit the books instead of bullies to try to improve his lot in life,” Quesada says. “Later, he graduates from college with honors and a legal degree and comes back to his old neighborhood to try to make it a better place than when he left. What makes Matt’s mission even more compelling is the contradiction — lawyer by day, vigilante by night and a devout Catholic who dresses like the devil to get that job done. That’s juicy stuff. Throw in the fact that he’s blind into the mix and you have a character for the ages.”