How do you feel the new Daredevil series has handled their choreography?

We love it.

It’s not just that the fight scene choreography is really very fun, but there’s a lot of attention to detail in Daredevil. There’s often a real sense of weight to the hits, and it feels like people are getting hits. There’s a sense of exhaustion as the fights proceed and everything begins to slow near the end. You start to feel how tired Matt is by the end and general exhaustion is actually extremely rare in these types of shows. It also fits thematically with what Daredevil is trying to convey about Matt Murdock and the kind of hero he is. Ultimately, Daredevil is about punishment, both giving and taking, about someone who takes a lot of punishment and keeps getting back up. You see that represented in Daredevil’s choreography.

You can tell that the showrunners hired one or multiple stunt choreographers capable of giving them what they were looking for in terms of character expression and development and that they took their fight scenes very seriously.

It’s especially noticeable in Season 2, but every character has a fighting style that matches their personality and background.

Daredevil is, at heart, really a blue-collar brawler. I don’t mean that
in terms of his training, though you can see boxing featuring heavily
into his combat style, but as a mentality and as a part of his
personality.

You can see his rage when he fights, see him seething, see that pummeling of villains and street toughs as an expression of his frustration. Those stress lines, that barely contained fury, it all acts as a means of showing the audience more about who Matt Murdock is and actively supports the character building the narrative is trying to show. As Daredevil, Matt Murdock is always walking a very fine line that he flirts with crossing. It’s all there in those fight scenes. The action sequences all serve a purpose both in furthering the story and showing Matt’s character. Charlie Cox is actually pretty good, fast enough on some of his shots where they will lose frames because the camera can’t catch it. The transition between him and his double(s) is pretty seamless, which is fantastic.

Daredevil and The Punisher are night and day by comparison. Frank is angry, exceedingly angry, always angry, but you don’t see that translate into his fighting. Unlike Matt Murdock, he’s military and it shows. His fighting is explosive, and he has a brutal but more refined style. He isn’t a brawler, he fights to end. He’s solid, he’s straightforward, and he doesn’t go in for any of that ninja shit. Daredevil fights to break, The Punisher fights to kill. He’s much more explosive and much more raw in terms of brute strength. Special props to John Berenthal for managing to keep his elbows inside his body line when striking. Elbows in is a concept a lot of actors, especially ones without a martial arts background struggle with. I have no idea what Berenthal’s history is but I truly appreciate his lack of chicken wings.

Elektra is wild. You can tell when she’s fighting that she’s here to have a good time. She’s more fluid, athletic, and acrobatic in her combat style than either Daredevil or the Punisher. Where Matt enjoys it but feels guilty about it and often regrets how far he takes it, Elektra has no regrets. She revels like a true adrenaline junkie in the center of the chaos. You can see it in the way that she fights and it’s a unique character trait. She’s not fighting that way because that’s just how women fight in the way that Hollywood usually presents it. Elektra is a risky fighter. As a character she walks on the wild side, she takes risks and that’s evident in how she fights, in the openings she leaves in her defenses. Whatever else can be said, her fighting style fits her personality.

A lot of productions overlook the importance of actors, especially women, being able to convincingly sell the action part of their role. Often it’s worse for the girls because they’re invariably asked to perform techniques which are more advanced and more difficult than their male counterparts. As a general rule, girls are asked to kick more (especially roundhouse and sidekicks) and perform more acrobatics than male characters. Sometimes it may seem like we judge actresses too harshly on this blog, but that’s often because the techniques they’re asked to do are difficult. Difficult to learn and be comfortable with and perform effectively in just three months. This is as much a problem in some of the big name productions as it is in low budget.

When I heard that Daredevil had cast Elodie Yung (from G.I. Joe 2) as Elektra, I was kind of ecstatic. One of my big fears was that they were going to once again cast an actress who couldn’t convincingly do the stunts. I’d already seen her keep up with Ray Park (Snake Eyes, Darth Maul, Toad) so I had zero doubts on that front. Aaaand, I still don’t. She’s been great.

The stunt actors in Daredevil are really great too, especially when you consider that Daredevil’s are doing all that while visually impaired and with limited peripheral vision. It’s one of the few (Western) shows I’ve seen where the gymnastics actually make sense and feel like they’re fluidly part of the fight rather than them just… existing. This has to do with the closeness between the stunt actors when they perform them, usually when you have cartwheels or flips on screen (especially in low budget productions), you can see them give the actor a wide berth. Here the gymnastics lead into things and are, in Daredevil’s case, used as finishers for his fights. He lands hard and has difficulty getting up after.

Gunfire actually gets treated as relatively dangerous. So, you often see the characters prioritizing enemies with guns or the gun itself first. There’s logic going on, which is nice.

One of the neat things about Daredevil’s choreography is that they tend to do these really long shots (not just the Hallway/Stairwell scenes) in which the fights play out and that takes so much talent on the part of the choreographer and the actors to keep it interesting. The longer the shot the more difficult it is.

I mean, you have to take everything with a grain of salt, as… there are a few things Daredevil does that make one question whether or not he’s killing people. However, I can say that neither I or Starke are routinely thrown out of the action by inconsistencies and action which doesn’t match with the storytelling. That happens more often than you’d think.

All in all, our opinion on Daredevil is A+.

I hope that answers your question.

-Michi

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