Lately I’ve been watching Daredevil, a show by Marvel, it follows a young man called Matt Murdock and his aim to save his neightbourhood, Hell’s Kitchen. I’ve just finished the first season, and it’s really got me thinking about good and evil and how far can you go from one until it becomes the other.
To provide you with a spoiler-free introduction to the show, Matt Murdock is a attorney/lawyer by day but a crime-fighting vigilante at night, taking down various gangs and in the first season, aims to take down the “man at the top”, but don’t worry, you can find out who that is yourself.
Murdock is Catholic, and so finds himself visiting a priest on a regular basis, sometimes for confession and other times for discussion; it’s clear that he’s troubled by his actions, the consequences of them, but also what the inaction of them would cause. A common said phrase is “People tend to regret the things they don’t do, rather than what they do” or inaction over action, and it’s evident that this is something that Murdock is troubled by. He’s worried that his actions are more evil than good, even going far enough to say that he feels “as though the devil’s inside of him”, clawing at him to get out,however equally fears what would happen if he didn’t do anything. Is his soul and morality worth more than saving his city, and those around him? Another question is that the fact that he apprehends his actions make him moral, because surely if he was homicidal then there wouldn’t be any doubt towards himself.
But what would happen if he did nothing? I guess he would become the bystander that everyone around him is, or at best, relying solely on the law firm he owns, with his friend, Foggy, doing what he can but within the boundaries deemed “right”. However he cannot manage this, causing him to become the “man in the mask” and later “Daredevil”, due to the canny resemblance of his get-up.
It can’t be denied that Murdock achieves much more being a masked vigilante than a plain ‘ole attorney, but I suppose that would be obvious. We have to remind ourselves that just because doing things one way results in a higher rate of success it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right way. And also that if the show was about a blind guy and his friend running a law firm, it would certainly lose its appeal.
Then there’s the matter of do the criminals deserve what they receive. Daredevil may resort to violent methods to get his answers, but is the physical well-being of a few criminals, often with awful attrocities attached, worth the added time, especially considering the possibility of the “men at the top” being right out of the scene by the time he, or the police, get there. Personally I don’t think so, but then again I’m one girl who definitely isn’t well versed on what it says in the law.
Daredevil may be considered more of a vigilante than a typical hero, but what does it take to be a hero? And does being within the law actually matter, at least, in the fictional realms of comic books and movies. If we look at the other big shots gracing our cinema screens we have Captain America and Iron Man, and if you’ve seen Captain America: Civil War, which came out a few years ago, you’re probably familiar with Iron Man adhering to it, and “Cap”, as he’s known to his friends, staying out of it, as in his mind, can they really do what they need to and help those who need whilst still following the law and waiting for permission? His answer to that would be no, placing him in the ranks of vigilante along with Daredevil.
Movies and TV shows are fiction and a nice escape, after all, who wouldn’t enjoy an hour of violence and gripping plots after long day at work or school. But sometimes it is worth thinking about the actions of your favourite characters, would you still be on their side if you weren’t in their head but instead watching their actions on the news? Or know someone, be someone caught in the aftermath of their crime-fighting actions? Would you see them as the hero then, or various terrorist groups or gangs fighting to see who would be victorious?
I’d like to think that I’d still be on their side, but is that necessarily the right side? I’m not too sure myself, but what do you think?
If you’re interested in watching Daredevil it’s currently available for streaming on Netflix.