As a kid growing up, and absolutely loving Marvel Comics, I collected and read Daredevil almost religiously for well over a decade.
The blind superhero was one of my absolute favourites, even as a sighted kid.
But as a now fully grown, fully fledged and fully blind nerd, anticipation and expectations on the new Marvel series were really high. Only matched by the fear that they would somehow eff it up. Again. (We all still remember the Daredevil movie, where they also butchered the whole Daredevil – Elektra story…)
So how does this new rendition match up to the expectations and anticipation? And what’s the experience for a blind viewer?
First of all – let’s just say that Daredevil is a great launch title for the Netflix audio description. It was added early on (around the 14th of April, four days after the premiere) and it has made the title more accessible to an audience that normally might not pick up an “action adventure” series such as Daredevil.
If you need an explanation to that last sentence, close your eyes for four-five minutes during any action move or -series…
The audio description track is a leap in making shows accessible and I hope to see it… errr… hear it on many more shows to come, both on Netflix and other providers.
What also makes the series really good for a non-sighted audience is the great dialogue. I actually started to watch Daredevil before the audio description track was up, and even though the action scenes didn’t give much in story telling, the dialogue certainly rocks.
I tend to think that the script writers have had a visually impaired consultant, when they have written a lot of the scenes. Quite early this (almost) dialogue takes place. (Quoted from memory, so the wording is not exact.)
“Can I ask you a personal question?”
“No, I have not always been blind…”
“Oh… I guess that what everybody asks, huh?”
“That and ‘How do you comb your hair?’”
“So… How do you comb your hair?”
“Well. Honestly, you just hope for the best, really…”
“How did it happen?”
“Car accident. When I was nine.”
“I must have been rough.”
“No. I got through it…”
“Do you remember, what it was like to… see?”
“I… um… Yes, I remember…”
“I can’t imagine what that must be like…”
“You know, I’m supposed to say now that I don’t miss it.It’s what they teach you in Trauma Recovery. To define yourself by what you have, to value the differences and to not apologize for what you lack. And most times that is true…
…but… it doesn’t change the fact that I would give anything to see the sky above me one more time.
Do you mind if I ask you some questions now?”
“Oh. Sorry. Go ahead!”
“You just nodded, right?”
This little scene is so…. true. It’s so true, in fact, that this is what made me suspect that they might have a visually impaired person close to the writers’ team.
So – this first part of the review is all Unicorns and Cupcakes. Marvel’s Daredevil is the best thing I’ve experienced on Netflix and one of the best things I’ve experienced entertainment wise since I lost my sight, a few years ago.
I also appreciate the irony of what comes next, especially if you guys already know me. For full disclosure – I am not only blind, but a martial artist. And as a martial artist I also love combats sports.
What actually takes away from the whole experience for me is the ultra violent action scenes. In almost every episode someone is literally beaten to death, in sometimes quite long, dragged out scenes. The idea that someone can be killed by an unarmed person is perhaps what makes the violence really realistic. But it keeps happening over and over and over…
Now, I read the comic book between ages 8 to 20-ish (Yeah? So what?! It is totally okay to like comic books about super heroes in your twenties!) and of course I remember ninjas and fights and everything. I also remember how the TV-series’ main villain sure could dish out some real damage. And how that made him really terrifying.
This series is totally made for a 16+ audience. I could not share it with my nine-year-old (and super hero loving) kid. And that kind of sucks. Because it is really well written and performed and there are cool easter eggs and what not.
So – personally, I give this an all thumbs up, five out of five review. But I think that the violence might ruin the experience for an audience of non-thirty-plus-year-old-hardcore-fans.