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Why Daredevil Works

March 27, 2016

 

Daredevil is once again captivating fans on Netflix. The Man Without Fear is doing what he does best in season two of the highly successful series and this time, he's doing it next to fan favorites Elektra and The Punisher.

 

This is what great comic book storytelling is all about, and it's only getting better.

 

Daredevil is not supposed to be fun and flashy. It's not supposed to be light-hearted and optimistic. It's supposed to be dark and gritty, with a real world feel to it. That is exactly what's being delivered in this new season.

 

From a distance, it may look like another hero versus hero story, in the same vein as Civil War or Batman v Superman, but it's much more than that. This is not about two misunderstood characters on the same page yet fighting the wrong fight.

 

This is about two characters with fundamentally different viewpoints, clashing in a tale of vengeance and morality.

 

It's very clear and simple for The Punisher; criminals must pay. Jon Bernthal does a fantastic job of portraying Frank Castle here, and is arguably much better than the actors that came before him. Bernthal's Punisher is scary merciless, but sympathetic at the same time. He has New York torn on the issue of right versus wrong, as he does whatever is necessary to wage his war.

 

By all rights, he should be the villain. But the more he speaks, the more it becomes obvious that he's in such incredible pain. That pain has led him to do what he does on the show, and though he does not punish the innocent, he is keenly aware that his actions are directly impacting the innocent.

 

But he has a blood thirst and a need for justice that the legal system simply cannot satisfy.

 

Punisher's desire to make the guilty answer for their crimes is one that has always existed. It's the common cry for decency among the people, the need to be safe from the terrible elements in the world that seek to harm those that just want peace. Castle faces the horrors of crime that others fear everyday, and he extinguishes them one by one.

 

He is doing the work that the police cannot do, and he is doing it as only he can.

 

But while his actions may be effective in terms of eliminating the threat, they're actually adding to the problem. This is where Matt Murdock is coming from, and it's a point of view that only a tragic hero with a forgiving heart can have.

 

Charlie Cox is once again in his element here, as the very convincing attorney that wants to see criminals brought to justice. But he wants it done the right way, through due process. For Matt, there is no easy way out, no judgement that should be carried out by those of his own vigilante calling.

 

Daredevil acts to protect innocents from harm, however he does not seek to play God against those that want to inflict that harm. This plays directly into the idea of law enforcement; to serve and protect.

 

DD acts outside the law to to uphold the law. He is a contradiction in terms, yet he exists as an added force of good. He believes he's helping and that his city needs him. It's impossible for him to see just how useless his actions appear to The Punisher, who would much rather put the criminal down than rehabilitate him.

 

It's good versus evil, yet with a moral twist and that's why it works.

 

This is what makes Daredevil so compelling in the comics, and it's what has made this show must-see TV. Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez are bringing the themes that have captivated fans in print to the small screen, and they're creating stories that are working on every level.

 

Batman v Superman is not going to happen in the real world. But the basic stories being told in Daredevil could definitely happen, and that is the most important part of it all. Daredevil is a hit because real people face the real problems of criminals versus society everyday. This show is a window into that debate with the back-drop of a comic book world behind it.

 

This is why Daredevil continues to be perhaps the best Marvel adaptation ever, and why fans just can't get enough.

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