‘Daredevil’: The Most ‘Painful’ Moment to Watch Wasn’t a Violent Fistfight

One cannot look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe without looking at its most ambitious project to date. No, it wasn’t an event movie or a crossover Civil War. It wasn’t even on the big screen, to begin with. While the MCU is now as much a part of television as the movies, the Netflix universe remains unique. After all, when Daredevil premiered, it didn’t just bring big-screen action to the streamer.

It showed the way humanity ultimately brings the ultimate pain. 

What was ‘Daredevil’?

Actor Charlie Cox
Actor Charlie Cox | Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

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Daredevil was the most ambitious Marvel television property that fell under the MCU umbrella. While Agents of Shield and Agent Carter had brought some semblance of the big-screen universe to the worlds they created, Daredevil kicked off the short-lived but highly influential Netflix universe before Disney launched its service and scrapped everything at Netflix. 

In an article about the show, Digital Spy notes how Daredevil was never meant for kids. There was profanity, brutal violence, sex, and mature messages that, while well inside the MCU in superhero drama, seemed smaller and more intimate. Daredevil wasn’t fighting intergalactic gods who could snap away the universe without any effort but Mafiosi and street thugs. 

While Daredevil helped spawn other Netflix series, it remained the favorite due to its Hollywood choreography, well-acted plots featuring Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, and several other industry names. From single-take fight scenes featuring the world’s first blind superhero to set pieces that look straight out of a Hong Kong action movie, the show pulled no punches in displaying the grit and humanity that came with the Hell’s Kitchen setting. 

The real enemies

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Speaking about the power of the Netflix universe, many fans on Reddit noted that the most painful scenes to watch had nothing to do with broken limbs, severed heads, or gunshot wounds.

Instead, the burden of the life that Murdock’s Daredevil chose led to some unfortunate consequences. When the world-renowned antihero The Punisher joined the mix, many saw the human side of Daredevil in a way more painful than any fight scene. 

U/jaesoppop wrote about this dynamic on Reddit.

“The most painful moment in that show was his defense of Frank Castle, though.”

U/CaminoFan extrapolated on this. Murdock is a lawyer by day, but he’s an empath at its core. The courtroom scene in which he defends his loose-cannon friend yields power. 

“I thought that scene was great for two reasons. It showed Matt’s conviction and prowess as a red-hot lawyer, but also Franks stone-cold stubbornness as the Punisher. Not great for Franks best interests, but showed how both are set in their beliefs.”

Perhaps, more than any other Marvel property, Daredevil portrayed the imperfections of the internal struggle and how one’s morals might not align with how they present themselves. It’s an integral part of the series that Cox himself has spoken about many times. 

Daredevil on ‘Daredevil’

While Cox’s Daredevil remains in limbo after Netflix lost the rights, his turn as Daredevil remains a favorite among MCU fans and those who do not watch the big-screen tales alike. According to Cox, the series was never meant to be about the action or the superpowers. It was meant to show the moral grays between the heroes and villains. 

“We talked a lot early on about wanting to maintain this idea that there’s moral ambiguity with all the characters, and you don’t necessarily know who’s in the right and wrong and who’s good and bad. And if you get that right, if you tread that path effectively, then it should feel more human and more relatable, and I think he certainly achieved that wonderfully well,” Cox told A Place to Hang Your Cape.

Whether Cox gets to wear the cowl again or not, Daredevil’s importance can be felt for years to come, thanks to its ripple effect that still appears throughout the MCU.