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Crossing Over: Marvel’s “DAREDEVIL” (2015)

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Welcome, FANGORIA Readers, to CROSSING OVER, our newest column that highlights the films, series and content out there outside of horror that is fashioned towards or pays tribute to our beloved genre. By shining a light onto these projects, FANGORIA hopes to open a world of entertainment perfect for fright fans that lies just beyond the borders of the horror community. So without further ado…

When Marvel Studios first announced that they had the rights back for their beloved comic book character, DAREDEVIL, most fans were elated considering how impressive Marvel’s big screen fare had been thus far. And when Marvel announced the character would be returning in his own Netflix series, fans became even more excited. However, among that excitement was also a sense of curiosity: with Marvel’s “hard PG-13” promise and the lack of content restriction on Netflix, one wondered just how dark DAREDEVIL would be, especially when the character would be living in a universe alongside their film slate and TV-14 ABC series.

But in the first five minutes of DAREDEVIL, not only were those doubts and pre-preemptive criticisms silenced, but made almost entirely redundant as the series proved not only that Marvel was willing to go into brutality, but almost welcomed it for their inaugural Netflix series. Snapped bones, grueling fight scenes and adult-oriented storylines greeted Marvel fans in the pilot of the series, written and directed by CABIN IN THE WOODS director Drew Goddard. By the fifth episode, DAREDEVIL would routinely drop jaws with just how far it would take its audience. And even furthermore, DAREDEVIL did so while making a show that was engaging, dramatic and unpredictable, giving the series substance beyond its controversial content.

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Fans of hard-hitting action (such as the FANGO friendly RAID films and OLDBOY) will immediately be drawn to the incredibly choreographed and intense fight sequences, which vary from street brawl to skiller martial arts from episode to episode. However, tried-and-true FANGORIA fans will be drawn to the gorier and nastier bits and pieces throughout DAREDEVIL; in fact, very little of the violence on display in DAREDEVIL is a result of gunplay, with the filmmakers and writers focusing on more intimate assaults aided by one hell of an FX department. Among the gamut of DAREDEVIL’s gruesomeness includes impaled skulls, bowling ball bludgeonings, broken arms, corpse mutilation, strangulation, decapitation via car door and much, much more, leaving even ardent gorehounds impressed.

But beyond that, DAREDEVIL does something the horror genre has not done in quite a while by creating a monster truly worth fearing in Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk. With a tormented past and a very specific set of ethics, Fisk became the kind of villain Marvel really needed in their on-screen pantheon, showing that he’s as dangerous in his actions as he is in his instructions. But perhaps what truly makes Fisk a monster among men is the pure Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of Fisk when his loyalty is tested or he’s emotionally compromised. And when Fisk finally embraces himself as a villain in the closing episode, D’Onofrio’s performance dips into raw, nightmarish territory.

Though DAREDEVIL is far from an out-and-out horror story, despite supernatural flourishes and the occasional shocking grimness, the Netflix Original gets closer to the genre than any MCU property thus far. Not only does the series do right by its characters and source material, but DAREDEVIL gives fans a taste of blood and guts that feels visceral yet organic to the world they’ve previously built in their friendlier fare. And with fright fan favorite The Punisher entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe via DAREDEVIL’s second season, one can only imagine that the gory days of Marvel are far from over.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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