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Saturday, September 7, 2013

EDITORIAL: Why Daredevil Does Not Currently Fit Into the MCU

Let’s talk about characters and scale. Let’s talk about the likes of the Avengers. How Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and Captain America work, with S.H.I.E.L.D. , on a national and international level. Let’s talk about none of them fit into the real world; how they’re always a supreme element apart from the working class or how their interactions with the common man are far and away from that of the likes of Spider-Man, Luke Cage…and Daredevil. Let’s talk about Daredevil and just what makes Matt Murdock such an enticing character. But ultimately, let’s talk about why he, currently, does not fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I’m an enormous Daredevil fan. Enormous. And it breaks my heart that Kevin Feige has yet to greenlight a Daredevil reboot, because my love and passion for the character couldn’t be more prominent when it comes to comic books and film (Sidney Lumet would have been the perfect Daredevil director). But both his reluctance and Marvel’s successful blueprint of films got me thinking…why isn’t a new Daredevil film in the works? And so, I went about dissecting just why Daredevil wouldn’t fit into the big scale of present films and ended up concluding that, to completely justify what the character is, he couldn’t.

I’m not going to throw fan-fiction theories at you of “Oh, if the filmmakers just did this,” or “If they told this story,” because those are moot points. The filmmakers aren’t going to use my ideas so there’s no point in my wasting your time with them. I’m just going to talk about character; that is, the essence of Matt Murdock, that keeps him an arm’s length from the MCU.

Daredevil does not work on an international level. He just doesn’t. He’s not powerful enough, he’s not socially connected enough, he’s got no international back story, he’s not a technological genius, and he’s got no real motivation or reason to travel. Murdock is a born-and-bred New Yorker and as far as his major stories go, he just doesn’t skip town often. He’s not rich, he’s not on the lam, he’s not an alien, and he’s not employed by a government agency. He’s a self-employed, B-grade superhero whose most interesting stories come not from his gallivanting as Daredevil, but from his personal life as Matt Murdock.

The best work done with the character of Matt Murdock comes from story arcs like Born Again, The Man Without Fear, Redemption (my personal favorite) and Out, where Matt’s personal life is challenged and his time spent as the actual superhero is bare minimum to be considered a superhero book. Right now, Marvel Studios is working with big stories and big characters. Asgard, the Helicarrier, other galaxies, Robert Downey Jr.’s face…they all work on an enormous, broad scale and have the capacity to deliver big-time action, gorgeous and alien locations, and a bevy of out-there, larger-than-life characters. But that’s not the scope of a solid Daredevil story.

Daredevil is all about the slow-cooked, carefully calculated character study of a physically handicapped man taking on the challenge of being both a lawyer and a vigilante. It’s an emotional roller coaster of events that personally effect Murdock and the people he sees on a daily basis. And unlike many other comic book characters, Daredevil’s supporting cast is hardly considered support at all. Sometimes, they take the full brunt of the story on their own. Filmmakers wouldn’t be challenged with the emotional arc of just one character, they’d be settled with the likes of Foggy, the Kingpin, Bullseye, Karen Page, and a number of other characters who have their lives literally ripped apart just because of their close proximity with Murdock. It's not a slam-bang, beat-'em-up action film; it's a cautious, brewing, character-driven crime drama.

These aren’t stories that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is interested in telling…right now. Maybe if Daredevil opened up his own, smaller universe (and allowed for the likes of Luke Cage and Iron Fist to coexist), you could get the necessary character study to justify using Matt Murdock on a cinematic scale. Or just give the fella a television show.

And if you’re wondering just what this Daredevil fan would do with a Daredevil movie, you can check out the trailer below and the full-length screenplay here.

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