Marvel’s hit series “Daredevil” returned to Netflix on March 18, 2016. Matthew “Matt” Murdock played by Charlie Cox, lawyer by day and crime fighting Daredevil by night, faces strong foes and old moral dilemmas.
Murdock’s blindness plays a vital part to his identity: the audience sees him using assertive technology, color coded outfits and grasping people’s elbows to help him around. He relies on his super human senses that when he temporarily loses them after a nightly attack, he becomes vulnerable and afraid.
Cox’s performance is intricately multi-faceted: his character constantly goes through self doubt, hesitancy, and lies in the name of his “secret” persona.
But Murdock is also committed. He has goals: to rid of the villains plaguing Hell’s Kitchen to wanting to create a life for himself where he can even trust others.
His crime fighting antics aren’t familiar to viewers, granted. But his feelings of confusion, isolation and depression are.
In concern to his blindness, Murdock does not play into a stereotype. The audience is again a spectator to his physical injuries and his mental strife.
Despite his other persona, Murdock is a staunch Roman Catholic.
His religious faith allows the audience to see his hesitancy to pass on final judgement onto criminals.
There’s irony in a man who dresses as the archetype of his belief system. Though being ready in the first season to kill his enemy, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) – Murdock once again retreats to his same way of thought: to not kill.
Loyalty to his faith sets him from keeping the villains from season one out of power. Fisk grows in influence in jail while Nobu (Peter Shinkoda), a member of the ancient ninja organization “The Hand,” returns for vengeance.
The series raises questions like: Who are humans to mark death onto another? What is good? What is justice? All can have different meanings for different people.
Murdock’s occupation as a lawyer aligns with his goal to help others with his friend and fellow attorney, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, (Elden Henson). Both want to uphold the law and to do right by it for the people.
However, Murdock being a vigilante complicates matters (and their friendship).
“Sometimes we have to do things outside of the law,” he argued to Foggy, who grudgingly tolerates Daredevil in this season.
The series addresses concerns about fallible legal system and how it is easily prone to corruption.
Wilson Fisk, despite his conviction, uses his money to gain influence among the convicts and officers to rise on top of the social hierarchy within the jail.
Murdock tries to uphold the law as both an attorney and Daredevil, despite its loopholes and blind spots.
Enter Frank Castle, the “Punisher” – a man spurned by the death of his family – and his subsequent actions of killing people he considers not to be good people in society.
“You hit ‘em and they get back up,” Castle, portrayed by Jon Bernthal, said. “ I hit ’em and they stay down!”
Both have contrasting philosophies in their ways of fighting against bad men. While one internally strives over it, the other is propelled by anger and anguish.
Even Elektra Natchios, depicted by actress Elodie Yung, assassin and Murdock’s ex-girlfriend, is no stranger to putting men to death. Their differing beliefs on killing are what drive them apart.
Like Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), Murdock and Foggy’s co-worker, said: a hero can be more than just their superhuman abilities. It is their convictions and willingness to act on those decisions for the good of the people that determines a hero.
His disability can not be ignored: Murdock is blind. His presence adds much needed diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But importantly, he is as valid as any non-disabled superhero.