Jessica Jones Re-Watch part 3

Originally posted on Facebook on 7/29/17

I will talk more in depth about Kilgrave once I finish the series, but there is something I want to point out about both Jessica Jones and season 1 of Daredevil. (No major spoilers)

Episode 8

That’s how long each of these shows take before devoting an episode to the villain.

I’ve heard criticism of both of these shows (all the Netflix Marvel series’ actually), that say they have pacing problems. I couldn’t disagree more. I absolutely love how suspenseful each of these shows are as they never rush to reveal the villains hand. We know they are bad, we know how they are affecting the heroes. But it takes 7 hours of show before they finally reveal the *why*. Why are these characters the way they are.

And there is a very good reason for that wait. If they showed these characters’ back story any earlier, then we might sympathize with them too much. These are deep, complex characters. If they had equal screen time up front, a good chunk of the audience might be more forgiving of their actions. But it’s important to know that despite their histories, these are men who are performing evil deeds. What makes them scary is that once you know them better, you see how easy it would be to go down their path. The shows make you understand how a person gets to where they are. And that knowledge makes it much harder to condemn their actions.

But they should be condemned. A reason for being the way they are is not an excuse for being the way they are. These shows prey on the viewers’ empathy to get them to question how they feel about evil men, and that is an incredible accomplishment. Even if your opinion of them doesn’t change (as it probably shouldn’t), the fact that the writers can make you step back and question the beliefs you held is a remarkable feat.

Daredevil Season One Retrospective

Originally posted to Facebook on 7/27/17

Daredevil Season 1 spoiler free retrospective:

First off, I am very pleased with my decision to rewatch these Netflix Marvel shows leading up to next months The Defenders. It had been a while since watching Daredevil season 1, and while I remembered the basic story beats and the fact that I really enjoyed it, I had forgotten about all the little moments that elevate the series from “good” to “excellent”. Like other great modern TV shows like “Breaking Bad” or “Westworld”, what sets apart a show like Daredevil is that it shows excellence and care in all facets of the show. Engaging cinematography, sharp writing, pitch perfect acting from both the leads and the supporting cast. It’s this level of detail, and dare I say, love for filmmaking, that makes a show stand out in today’s plethora of viewing options.

Charlie Cox as Matt Murdoch (aka Daredevil) does a wonderful job as this conflicted hero. A man trying to do what he can to do the right thing, while pushing the boundaries of what he should be doing from both a legal perspective and a spiritual one. The show does a wonderful job tying in Matt’s Catholicism and giving weight to his deeds as a violent vigilante as he struggles with whether or not the ends justify his means. Between that and the slow burn backstory of antagonist Wilson Fisk (played beautifully by Vincent D’Onofrio), the show highlights its first season main theme of man trying to both discover and come to terms with his true nature.

On that topic, Wilson Fisk. Damn. At the time season 1 was released (and very arguably still to this day), Wilson Fisk was the best villain that Marvel has put on screen. It helps that due to the run-time of television he was given much more screen time to thoughtfully explore his character. We get to really dive into what makes Fisk tick. Between flashbacks, and scenes told from his perspective, his character is given weight and depth that feature films struggle to give their villains (notable exceptions are Tom Hiddleston’s Loki from Thor and Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toombs from this year’s Spider-Man Homecoming). We see how Fisk’s childhood and his father’s toxic masculinity (an understatement if there ever was one) shaped him into the man he is today. Even down to the voice that D’Onofrio uses for the role, one of fearful restraint, like a child trying not to raise his voice lest he become his father. This lets those moments where we see his rage and unrestrained power come out much more terrifying and impactful. It’s one of those character choices that I’d love to say I’d come up with as a performer, but likely wouldn’t even think to do it. Whether it was a choice by the actor or director, it was a great one.

The show also knows when to balance the tone. Elden Henson, as Matt’s friend and law partner Foggy Nelson, keeps the comedy coming in, but also knows when to give the series some of it’s best moments of heart. He is a great pair with Matt as he has the strongest moral compass in the show and by his example lets us really see when Matt starts to push things too far, highlighting the imperfections in our hero in the best way possible.

I could gush about this show for days (and I kinda already have been), but right now I am going to jump into Jessica Jones, so expect my comments to soon be talking up the amazing Krysten Ritter and David Tennant. So what did you all think of Daredevil? What were your favorite parts or flaws that you couldn’t help but notice?