In Which Daredevil Takes A Severe Step Back

White Savior Juice


creator Drew Goddard

Here is a list of things attorney Matthew Murdock (an increasingly bourgeois-looking Charlie Cox) never has to deal with:

reading messageboards
actually practicing law
using his penis for any other reason than to distribute snd redistribute urine
the Irish mob
biker gangs
the Mexican cartel

Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) does everything except the penis part. He kills fourteen members of the Irish mob in the opening scene of this season of Daredevil. For some reason, Castle only goes after white people, I guess because it would be uncomfortable to have a U.S. army veteran murdering black people. You see, murder is all right if the person being murdered deserved it; it is not really murder in that case.

An Irish mobster who escapes from Frank Castle’s rampage finds Matt Murdock and begs for his help. At his funeral, the priest explains that “Eliot was no saint. He was human, deeply flawed.” Frank Castle is I guess Jewish based on Jon Bernthal’s resemblance to a roided-up Henry Kissinger.

There was a Joel Schumer film called Falling Down that I have noticed they never play on television anymore. A fat Michael Douglas portrayed a white guy who snapped and killed a bunch of people, some by accident and a few on purpose. He only killed white people, thank God, but he terrorized individuals of all races so this movie has not aged very well at all, and the racial overtones were about as disturbing at the time.

Falling Down had nothing in it that was the slightest bit silly or unrealistic, which is why we can’t bear to view this film today. Daredevil, on the other hand, is actively offensive when it comes to displaying straight white men as superior to everyone. The local district attorney Samantha Reyes tasked with trying to capture and prosecute Frank Castle is a black woman playing a latina (Michelle Hurd). She is depicted as endlessly corrupt and uninterested in the particulars of the legal process.

Matt’s assistant Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll, who really should take more than one class in acting) takes great offense when Reyes tells her that they really have no use for a criminal who killed an old woman, and they would be fools to offer such a person any kind of deal. Karen reacts to this explanation by attempting to blackmail Reyes’ African-American colleague Blake Tower (Stephen Rider).

Daredevil has the nerve to suggest that it is people of color holding back inner cities, and whites who wish to put things on the correct path. If only some white paralegal was able to blackmail a black person: such a character is the fucking hero of Daredevil. A black person would never know what the right thing to do is unless a giraffe-looking coed who would make Stanislavsky vomit is perched upon his shoulder like a living, long-necked representation of the conscience he otherwise lacks.

If you have ever spent any time in New York City, you know that it is not mostly white people who work, live and serve inside poor communities. The white savior story was harshly criticized when Mississippi Burning made white FBI agents the heroes who solved a civil rights killing. But now a couple of white lawyers and their lanky girlfriend are going around blackmailing people of color, and this is supposed to fly under the radar?

In Daredevil‘s first season, I underestimated at my own peril how much Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin was carrying this entire show on his wide shoulders. Jon Bernthal is not really much of a replacement for Kingpin’s imposing presence. Instead of making The Punisher violent, mysterious and capricious, the first long scene with Frank Castle consists of Murdock excoriating him for killing too many people.

Murdock explains the character of Frank Castle at length, so much so that we are bored of him by the end of the description. We learn things about Frank’s life that I still don’t know about Wilson Fisk, or even myself, really, and all in one disturbingly boring episode with more dialogue than Glengarry Glen Ross.

There is no mystery in any of this. Daredevil is starting to feel constrained by its traditional storylines, delving into the rigors of fan service when two awful movies proved that the Elektra character could never really work on screen. She is about two decades out of date, and all the real heat is in Matt Murdock’s relationship with a nurse named Claire (Rosario Dawson), who is unable to do her job without the help of Matt’s goofy, bumbling pal Foggy (Elden Henson). Both characters are flat as a pancake here with no depth, but at least Claire is a pulsating corpuscle of sexuality and glamour.

Charlie Cox looks extremely bored here, sensing the material is a severe step down. Murdock’s personal trials and tribulations made him a dynamic figure, but now he is not evolving at all. His personal relationships are pathetically superficial; he cannot even confide in those individuals closest to him. He talks endlessly, but we never get the sense there is anything underneath his plaintive words: he is completely one-dimensional.

All these characters needed a new direction; not their usual tripe for storylines. Who cares about the moral dilemmas of the Punisher — he’s a freight train, not an existentialist. The same goes for the whiny, moralizing Murdock character, who makes himself brutally unlikable through his lengthy hectoring of Castle. The idea that Daredevil is actually a problem in Hell’s Kitchen never occurs to these dense, unhappy little shitbrains.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

“Goodbye Song” – The Wild Feathers (mp3)

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