‘Daredevil’ Review: Charlie Cox Owns Marvel’s Blind Superhero Story in Netflix Series Take

“Boardwalk Empire” actor reemerges for lead part in a lesser-known tale offered by the streaming giant

Last Updated: April 17, 2015 @ 5:34 PM

Forget everything you thought you knew about Matt Murdock and his superhero alter ego Daredevil.

Not much, you say? The blind lawyer-crime fighter is a lesser-known Marvel Universe comic book character, unless you’re a comic book reader and/or remember the 2003 film starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner that most would like to forget judging by its 45 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Let’s face it, Daredevil is no Spider-Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Wolverine or Iron Man. But streaming giant Netflix would change that with 13-part series “Marvel’s Daredevil.”

Charlie Cox, the beloved Owen Slater of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” who bedded the boss’s wife and met a bad end stuffed in a box, reinvents the gentle hero for the good.

The series starts at the beginning: the origin story of Murdock’s superhero path, when as a 9-year-old child (Skylar Gaertner), he saves a man from being run down by a truck carting toxic waste, but suffers chemical burns that take away his eyesight. His boxer father Jack (John Patrick Hayden) encourages him to continue his education, because, he says, “You don’t want to end up like me” and then bleeds on the kitchen table.

marvel-daredevil-comic-bookThe boy grows into a man defending the innocent as an upstart defense attorney by day and a “street-level superhero” in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen by night. His heightened and honed senses allow him to hear a footfall a block away and smell cheap cologne approaching from several stories above.

Episode 1 finds Murdock and his partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) defending damsel-in-distress Karen Page, who is played by Deborah Ann Woll and who, like Cox, is another HBO vet known for her role as vampire baby Jessica in HBO’s “True Blood.”

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“Daredevil” establishes Murdock’s duality as a righteous man with a darker nature when he confesses to a priest that he hasn’t come seeking penance for something he’s done, but forgiveness for something he’s about to do — an unsettling confession for anyone to hear. Fortunately, he only means that he’s about to bust some heads in a sex-slave criminal enterprise.

Later episodes introduce nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and kingpin Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), and unfold Murdock’s path to superhero status, including training with martial arts mentor Stick (Scott Glenn) and his adoption of the red superhero costume for which the character is better known.

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The Daredevil story is one of a four-part franchise Netflix is building that will include Marvel’s street-level heroes — including “Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones” (starring Krysten Ritter), “Marvel’s Iron Fist” and “Marvel’s Luke Cage” (starring Mike Colter) that will culminate in the teaming of the main characters in “Marvel’s The Defenders.”

The series is executive produced by series showrunner Steven S. DeKnight (‘Spartacus,” “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” “Angel”), Drew Goddard (“Cabin in the Woods,” “Lost,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in addition to writing the first two episodes of “Daredevil”) and Marvel’s Head of Television Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “Lost” and “Heroes”).

All 13 episodes of “Marvel’s Daredevil” premiere midnight ET on April 10 on Netflix