Daredevil: Why this Daring Comic Book Adaptation is the Best

Comic book movies have been around for a long time, growing in popularity since their inception. However, in recent years, the popularity of these products has increased dramatically. Avengers: Endgame, a comic book movie released in 2019, earned over $2.79 billion dollars after just a couple months in theaters, making it the highest-grossing film ever, for a time. In addition to the success of comic book movies, other media adaptations of comics have gained popularity recently. Video games and TV shows based on comic books are now widespread, but their quality can vary due to adaptation challenges and producers who are just in it for the money. Despite these obstacles, some comic book adaptations have been great, but none can compare to the TV show originally released to Netflix on April 10th, 2015: Daredevil

This show is a masterpiece. It utilizes a fantastic cast, has amazing acting, and is grounded in a way many other comic book TV shows are not, but that alone isn’t what makes it great. Instead, the visceral action that makes you feel every blow, the genius blending of traditional superhero themes and religious beliefs, and the gorgeous cinematography that perfectly illustrates the setting and supports the other aspects of the show, are the reasons this comic book adaptation is a step above the rest.

The action in this show is fantastic. Unlike some fight scenes in comic book movies and TV shows, Daredevil uses minimal CGI and choppy editing. These choices, although they make the scenes more challenging to film and choreograph, allow the audience to immerse themselves in the action more easily because they can better understand what is going on. In addition to being shot and choreographed spectacularly, the action in Daredevil reflects and advances the narrative. This is displayed throughout the show, where not only do the action scenes have a purpose, something which makes them feel meaningful and full of suspense, but they also reflect the characterization of the participants, adding to the realism and believability. This moves the action scenes in this show from visually interesting to an integral, and riveting, part of the show.

The usage and comparison of different themes in Daredevil is unlike any other comic book adaptation. Like most comic book adaptations, and like most comic books themselves, Daredevil tackles themes of perseverance, morality, and justice. With just these themes, the show is able to touch on relatively unexplored concepts in comic book adaptations. By pushing these ideas to their logical extremes, the show puts its main characters in a gray area in which the “right choice” is not always obvious. This in and of itself makes the show an fascinating analysis of the ideas of right and wrong, but the show does not really stand out until it begins to blend these concepts with other themes, especially religious ones. The reason that the show dives into these religious themes is because the main character, Matt Murdock, is deeply Catholic, an aspect of his character that the show leans into. This allows the show to explore how Matt’s actions as a vigilante relate to his faith. Frequently, these two parts of his character clash, forcing Matt to make hard decisions in his pursuit to do the right thing. The show is at its best when it is exploring, comparing, and contrasting common superhero themes and ideas with Catholic concepts through Matt’s choices and struggles.

On top of the stellar acting and usage of themes, the show has amazing cinematography. Daredevil is a dark and gritty show and the cinematography absolutely supports that. The setting of Hell’s Kitchen is portrayed as dark and grisly throughout the show: an idea that is supported by the dim lighting. However the beautiful cinematography goes beyond that, using different colors that coincide with story beats and different characters. For example, Matt is frequently surrounded by red light, his friends are usually lit with yellows and greens, and his enemies are frequently denoted by whites and gray. This makes the show visually interesting and lets it even use elements such as color to further the plot and better the viewing experience.

Even though Daredevil is a fantastic show, it is based on a comic book, and something that turns some people away before they even give it a chance. Since popular culture is so heavily saturated with comic book and superhero media, it is understandable why people may write Daredevil off as “just another superhero show” or not take it seriously. Also, the show is violent and contains a large amount of fighting and action, something that may turn a lot of potential viewers away. Despite this, Daredevil remains the best comic book adaptation yet because of its action, themes, and cinematography. While comic book adaptations continue to grow in popularity and quantity, Daredevil will continue to stand out as the best for years to come.