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Daredevil (TV show)

Daredevil (or Marvel’s Daredevil) is an original Netflix series about the Marvel Comics superhero. If you don’t know who Daredevil is, I’ll give you a brief little introduction. Daredevil is the alias of Matt Murdock, lawyer by day and vigilante at night. He’s also blind because every superhero needs a schtick. I know the concept of a blind guy fighting crime in a costume sounds stupid, but he’s one of the coolest Marvel characters when he’s done right. This Netflix show gets it right.

Daredevil was first created by Stan Lee, Bill Everett, and Jack Kirby in 1964, but it was really Frank Miller’s work on the series that changed the tone. It became darker and more complex. It was no longer aimed at kids. The stories were filled with violence, sex, drugs, and crime. This show takes inspiration from the Frank Miller era, and that was a good choice.

The first season introduces us to Daredevil (Charlie Cox): who he is, what he does, and why he does what he does. We meet Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), his best friend/law partner. We meet Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a young lady with a thirst for justice who ends up working at the law firm. We also meet Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), because no superhero is complete without a supervillain. Fisk is one of the better villains of the Marvel Universe. He’s a ruthless criminal mastermind who runs his empire like a business.

Solid writing and established characters are the foundation to any good show, but you can’t skimp out on the action and fight scenes if you’re doing a project about a superhero. This show has some of the best fight choreography I’ve ever seen. The fights are realistic. The punches have impact. The characters get hurt. They get tired. They get winded. They slow down. And you actually see what is going on. They frame everything correctly. There’s no shaky camera work or rapid cuts to distract you. Check out this fight scene and tell me you’re not exhausted after watching it.

Watch Daredevil. It’s worth it. And it’s the first of four intertwined Marvel shows on Netflix. Soon Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage will have series of their own, culminating in a supershow based upon the Defenders which will unite all the characters. It’s like the Netflix version of The Avengers, only with TV shows instead of movies. You don’t want to be left behind. Get on it now if you haven’t already.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick is responsible for some other cinema’s greatest films. Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange… and Full Metal Jacket. Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio, Adam Baldwin, and R. Lee Ermey turn in amazing performances, but the Vietnam War is the main character.

There are a few films about the Vietnam War that are required viewing to call yourself a film buff. Oliver Stone’s Platoon is one. Francis Ford Coppala’s Apocalypse Now is another. But Full Metal Jacket is the best of the bunch.

The film starts with a new group of Marines arriving for basic training. The two main recruits are Joker (Matthew Modine) and the bumbling Gomer Pyle (Vincent D’Onofrio). Pyle isn’t cut out for the Marines; he is fat, slow, and lazy. To make matters worse, their Drill Instructor, Sargent Hartman, has it out for Pyle. He targets him, humiliates him, punishes him, and tries to break him. Nothing works, so he makes Joker responsible for training him, and for a while things get better.

Pyle keeps fucking up, and eventually Hartman decides to punish the other Marines instead of Pyle. This causes the other Marines to start hating Pyle, and they let him know that he sucks. Pyle eventually becomes a model Marine, but suffers a nervous breakdown. In a disturbing scene, he shoots and kills Hartman and then turns the gun on himself. And just like that, two of the main characters are gone.

Joker ends up reporting for Stars and Stripes, and goes to Vietnam in time to experience the Tet Offensive. Joker meets and interviews a bunch of Marines and they all have different views on war and combat and life in general. During a patrol a single sniper begins picking off the Marines. They track down the sniper and discover it is a teenage girl. Talk about a mind fuck. Joker kills her out of mercy, and he gains the thousand-yard stare of a man who has seen war.

Full Metal Jacket shows what war does to a man. It can make him, or it can break him. Joker made it, he became a good Marine, he saw war, and he survived. Pyle didn’t make it. He wasn’t ever cut out for the Marines, and lost track of who he was. He went crazy, and his descent into madness is one of the most memorable moments of this movie.

Props go out to R. Lee Ermey. He isn’t even acting; he is a real life drill instructor that they hired as a technical advisor. You can’t contain him. He spews out poetic insults like Shakespeare pops out beautiful sonnets. Half the stuff he says is improvised, and Kubrick was a control freak, so you can’t deny his talent.

This movie doesn’t have a strong plot. It kind of meanders around loosely, but that adds to the theme of the movie: that war is pointless. Pyle and Hartman die halfway through the film. But the movie doesn’t end, just like the war doesn’t end just because someone died.

Full Metal Jacket is a classic. You owe it to yourself to experience this film at least once. Kubrick is a great director, and this might not be his best flick, but it is definitely his best Vietnam War movie.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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