The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen – A Belated #ManCrushMonday / #JNGWatches

We interrupt our usual talk of True Love and Victorian romances to bring you a little something different…

Remember months ago when I was home sick from work and I binge-watched the Netflix/Marvel original series Jessica Jones?  That was the first time I had ever binge-watched anything; I’m not really the type to sit for hours and watch TV and I’ve always liked the format of watching shows on a weekly basis.  I believe this style of television watching helps to build anticipation and get the viewer excited.  With Jessica Jones, though, something was different: I felt this growing interest, a sort of craving developing to know what would happen next, and as quickly as possible.  I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica Jones, both the character and the show she gives her name to, and I would highly recommend this viewing experience to those who not only enjoy superhero fiction, but also to viewers and readers who appreciate strong female characters with feisty and defiant personalities.  Jessica is very complex, and I think it is high time we had more female protagonists like that on our television screens.

Having said all this, I don’t know why I resisted watching the other extremely popular Netflix/Marvel series Daredevil.  In hindsight, I shouldn’t have because there was no chance I wasn’t going to love it…but I kept telling SS that I wasn’t interested in watching it, that I just didn’t think it could blow my mind like Jessica Jones did.  Consider me corrected.

Daredevil is an absolutely PHENOMENAL series!  I think that sums up my reaction to both seasons 1 and 2 quite nicely, but let me go further and give you some reasons as to why I enjoyed it so much.  It is truly (and it is very similar to Jessica Jones in this way) unlike any other superhero movie or television show I have encountered.  The episodes are such high quality, and the acting was superb.  What impressed me most of all, though, was that the action wasn’t simply gratuitous: the fight scenes were beautifully shot and were little works of art in themselves, and I was fascinated by how the choreography allowed the viewer to embody the character of Daredevil for a time.  I believe they did an excellent job of referencing his blindness in these scenes, and of making the viewer feel how disoriented and fatigued he often became.  It was a very unique approach to filming these scenes that in movies usually become cheesy and annoying.

It wasn’t just the choreography and the style of shooting that got me hooked though; I was truly impressed by the stellar acting, as I mentioned before.  I think each and every one of the main characters were complex and well-developed, but I have to give huuuge props to Charlie Cox who was a serious surprise for me.  I had only ever encountered Cox in the movie Stardust previously, and while that’s a great movie, he isn’t exactly superhero material judging by that film.  Imagine my surprise when he totally encompassed the roles of both Matt Murdock and his crime fighting counterpart, Daredevil, or the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.  His glorious abs notwithstanding (although, let’s be honest, I’m pretty obsessed with them now), Cox embodied the aura of a superhero who is not at all arrogant, who is truly a hero in every sense of the word.  He is quiet, contemplative and a little lonely, and that comes across strongly in Cox’s portrayal of his inner turmoil and his fear of letting his closest friends down.  He isn’t an arrogant superhero by any standards, and that was so refreshing to see after recently encountering characters like Deadpool and Dr. Strange whose egos seem to sometimes get in the way of their productivity.  I know this is inherently a part of Matt’s character, but I particularly loved how Cox emphasized his goodness, his desire to maintain his humanity and morality, even amidst the evils he witnesses.  His main focus, as Elektra rightly notes at the end of season 2, is to maintain peace and safety in New York, and he devotes himself not to becoming famous, an idol for the masses, but instead to looking after the people around him, his fellow citizens, who struggle and live in fear on a daily basis.  He is, in many ways, more of a martyr than a vigilante, and that is an interesting concept to investigate and get swept into.

Of course, as I said, the supporting cast is also incredible, and honourable mention must be given to Élodie Yung and Jon Bernthal for their portrayals of Elektra and Frank Castle/Punisher respectively.  In particular, Yung made me hate the character of Elektra, and the way she was influencing Matt, so much that I went on several rants about it…so obviously, that’s some good acting right there.  I really do have to mention the stand-out star, though: Vincent D’Onofrio was absolutely brilliant as season 1’s primary villain Wilson Fisk (who also goes by the name Kingpin, which was news to me, but is apparently very significant to diehard Daredevil fans).  D’Onofrio was an absolute force to be reckoned with as Fisk and his acting gave me chills on several occasions.  SS realized how much I had come to like the character, so he bought me a POP figurine of Fisk, along with one of Matt, to keep on my dresser.  I stare at these guys everyone morning and am reminded of a television series that I was almost too stubborn to watch.  Boy, am I glad I came to my sense and gave it a chance!

daredevil-and-fisk

Watch Daredevil everyone!  I urge you to delve into this truly engrossing series.  You’ll become addicted quickly, and you won’t regret it.  And be sure to dive right in before The Defenders comes out next year…and gives us a chance to see Daredevil and Jessica Jones in action together.  What could be better?!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

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