A Pleasure About Which I Feel No Guilt, But Do Have Some Mixed Feelings: Daredevil

As I am currently condemned to spend my entire weekend grading, reading, and working instead of enjoying the beautiful outdoors, I have decided to console myself by bingeing on the new Netflix Daredevil series as my working background jam. Why? You have to ask? Really?

My experience of the show (no really serious spoilers here — I’m not all the way through yet) boils down to two points:

1. The series is stylish and nicely realized for what it is — a vast and obvious improvement over the sad Affleck film. It is also, for my money, faithful to the comic property in the way that matters most to me: its violence (of which there is a lot) has very serious, immediate physical consequences. Daredevil, as a character, is not Superman (or even Batman). His resources are limited. He suffers the pain he deals out. His world is not a clean superhero world, but the monsters in it are not Batman’s exaggerated monsters — they are human, as he is human. It is a world in which the default state is hurting and being hurt, but in which suffering also offers the possibility of redemption (his Catholicism is not an accident). It’s a promising first entry into Netflix’s Marvel Universe neighborhood. Yay!

2. As much as I am enjoying it (and I am!), I hate the familiar feeling that I am only just waiting for the main female characters to die messily. This is how the narrative systems that surround noirish comics stuff like this work (although not confined to the noir sensibility in comics — see women in refrigerators, for example) — women as characters exist and are developed and are damaged or destroyed in order to motivate male characters. To the series’ credit so far, the inevitable female deaths haven’t happened yet. I can’t help waiting for it, though. It’s a constant, nagging expectation, and I kind of resent it. I’m torn between being really, really happy that the female characters in the series (so far as I’ve seen) have survived and have (mostly) been treated as competent, intelligent, fully realized characters and being really, really anxious about what’s going to be done to them.

OK. Back to work-and-watch…


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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