Matt Murdock (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

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Matt Murdock
Daredevil
Marvel Cinematic Universe character
First appearance"Into the Ring" (Daredevil, 2015)
Based on
Daredevil
by
  • Stan Lee
  • Bill Everett
Adapted byDrew Goddard
Portrayed by
  • Charlie Cox
  • Skylar Gaertner
Information
Full nameMatthew Michael Murdock
AliasesDaredevil
Occupation
  • Lawyer
  • Vigilante
Affiliation
  • Nelson & Murdock
  • The Defenders
Family
  • Jack Murdock † (father)
  • Sister Maggie Grace (mother)
Significant otherElektra Natchios
ReligionCatholic
HomeHell's Kitchen, New York, United States
NationalityAmerican

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Matt Murdock is a fictional character portrayed by Charlie Cox in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name—commonly known by his alias, Daredevil. In the franchise, Murdock is depicted as a man desiring to inflict his own brand of personal justice due to an unwavering disgust towards the corruption present in New York City. His aspirations to make the city a better place are heightened by his choice to exploit the law as an attorney by day, and fighting crime as a masked vigilante at night. His heroics eventually put him into conflict with many adversaries, particularly Wilson Fisk, a businessman controlling the city's criminal underworld.

As of 2021, the character has appeared in the Marvel Television productions Marvel's Daredevil and Marvel's The Defenders. Cox's portrayal of the character is a favorite amongst fans, and the "#SaveDaredevil" campaign was launched for his return after Daredevil's cancellation in 2018.[1][2][3]

Concept and creation[edit]

Development[edit]

In October 2013, Marvel and Disney announced that Marvel Television and ABC Studios would provide Netflix with live action series centered around Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, leading up to a miniseries based on the Defenders.[4] In May 2014, British actor Charlie Cox was cast in the role of Matt Murdock.[5]

Design[edit]

Costume designer Stephanie Maslansky read the first two episodes' scripts and some outlines of future scripts, and developed a "solid understanding" of the character arcs and overall story to begin the advanced planning needed for costume design. She also asked questions to prepare for character's stunt requirements and the building or retro-fitting of more complex costumes.[6] Murdock begins the season wearing a black costume (called the "vigilante outfit" by production), inspired by the one worn by the character in Frank Miller's The Man Without Fear, rather than the more traditional red, horned suit. This was done to highlight the formation of Matt Murdock as Daredevil, with the costume evolving over time as the character develops. Marvel Comics' Chief Creative Officer Quesada conceptualized the look based on DeKnight's specifications. On the design process, DeKnight revealed that "we tried practically everything, design-wise. We experimented with a lot of different head pieces. One version was a ski mask with the eyes sewn shut. We tried everything until we found something that just felt right." DeKnight and Quesada explained that the idea was for Murdock to start out with a homemade outfit that fits more in the "real-world" of the series, and to then evolve it into the classic Daredevil suit. Maslansky noted that they wanted the outfit to "look like something that Matt Murdock could put together himself, that he could either order off the Internet or shop around town....we wound up with pretty practical choices for him. His shirts are compression shirts and his pants wound up being from an army/navy store." Concerning the black mask, Maslansky noted that a balance between aesthetic and safety was required, and that it was made of layers of cotton mesh that "really conform to his head" but also allowed Cox to see through the mask.

On the red suit, Maslansky said, "We wanted something that looked militaristic and functional, but also dramatic and sexy" adding that it was "tricky" making it practical.[7] To begin the process of creating the suit, Quesada contacted Ryan Meinerding and the costume artists and design team at Marvel Studios, who all contributed design ideas, with one of Meinerding's ultimately being picked. Quesada, who previously worked as an artist on Daredevil comics, gave several suggestions, including the incorporation of some of how New York was created into the suit, which led to the use of rivets and "architectural" shapes. The suit is intended to look like a Kevlar vest, and the black sections are an homage to comic panels where the artists highlighted certain areas with red, with "deeper portions" in shadow. On the mask, Meinerding noted the difficulty in designing the entire top half of a face that is intended to match the bottom half of an actor's face, "because half of his face has to be covered and has its own expression and the actor’s face is going to be doing something else". For the billy clubs used by Daredevil in the series, which were designed by Andy Park, discussions were had about having them holstered on the right leg, given that both Cox and his stunt double Chris Brewster are right handed, but it was ultimately decided to have the holster on the left hand side as it is in the "classic profile" of the comics. DeKnight explained that Murdock's Daredevil suit does not have the "DD" emblem on the chest as seen in the comics, because Murdock receives his moniker only after the suit is introduced. He also felt that the emblem was "one of the more problematic emblems in superhero-dom", and that Daredevil's suit in the comics was "very difficult to translate to screen, especially in this world that is grounded and gritty".[8]

Many of the male characters in the series are often seen wearing suits, which Maslansky was comfortable with after working as the costume designer on White Collar. Murdock's suits are differentiated more by texture than color, with a limited palette, given that the character cannot see what color his clothing is. Cox's size changed throughout the series as he continued to work out. For Murdock's sunglasses, Maslansky worked with series prop master Michael Jortner to make something that fit into the modern world, but paid homage to "what was familiar to fans". Close to 100 different versions of the prop were created for Cox to try.[9]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Matthew "Matt" Murdock was born in January 1985 to Maggie Grace, a nun, and Jack Murdock, a boxer past his prime. He was raised solely by his father following Maggie's commitment to the church restricting her from being able to properly care for Matt while treating her Postpartum depression. Fearing for his son's future and unwilling to see him end up in a similar washed-up state as himself, Jack Murdock urged Matt to pursue academics in order to better his future. Often when Jack would return from his boxing bouts, Matt would be present to help heal and stitch up any injuries he sustained mid-match.

At 9 years old, young Matt Murdock managed to save an elderly pedestrian from being hit by an oncoming Rand Enterprises truck carrying dangerous oils and chemicals. Unfortunately, the ensuing capsizing of the vehicle caused some of the substances to spill out and come into contact directly with Matt's eyes, permanently blinding him. During his time in the hospital, Jack Murdock would often comfort him while he was under intensive care. One day, he would wake up to realize he had heightened hearing and could audibly detect every sound in the surrounding environment, causing him immense pain. From then on, Jack Murdock was motivated to continue his boxing career in spite of losing most of his fights, in order to financially support the two of them during the troubling predicament his son was in.

Over the coming months, Matt would learn to read Braille while simultaneously practicing control over his newly heightened senses, which he kept a secret from everyone in his personal life including his father. One day while practicing Braile in Fogwell's Gym, he overheard a conversation between Jack and Roscoe Sweeney, a 'fixer' of boxing matches. Roscoe had told Jack he would be offered a sum of money in exchange for him willingly throwing his upcoming fight with Carl Creel. During said fight, Matt himself tuned in on the radio to listen in, motivating Jack to go against his deal with Sweeney and attempt to beat Creel, eventually winning the match as a result. However, when Matt was worried about his father not having returned home following the match, he went to Fogwell's Gym in order to find him, only to be stopped by a police officer at the scene who he managed to push past, only to find Jack's deceased body on the street. He had been killed by mobsters as ordered by Sweeney as a consequence of not willingly throwing the fight with Creel as he had proposed. Matt eventually had to move to the Saint Agnes Orphanage to be placed under the care of his mother, Maggie Grace.

Trained by Stick[edit]

During his time at the orphanage, Matt was visited by an elderly blind man who introduced himself as Stick, and revealed that he was aware of Matt's heightened senses, offering to train the young boy in order to help him master his new abilities and suppress the suffering his senses previously caused him. Thus, Stick and Murdock embarked on a strict training regiment, with the former often provoking strong emotional responses from the boy as a lesson in helping him control his anger. Over the coming years Murdock had become a formidable hand-to-hand combatant with complete mastery over his enhanced senses. During one of their training bouts, Murdock gave Stick an old wrapper he had kept as a memento from the first time they met and had ice cream together, now made into a bracelet. Stick in response, crushed the bracelet with his hand and bid farewell to Murdock, parting ways while telling the boy he would not see him again for many years.

Meeting Foggy Nelson & Relationship with Elektra Natchios[edit]

Murdock, honoring his father's wishes to pursue an education and make a living for himself, placed in Columbia University working towards a degree in Law. Upon settling in-campus, he introduced himself to his new roommate, Foggy Nelson. Nelson was already aware of who Matt was, having heard of the accident he experienced as a child and confiding in him due to their shared sense of justice and wanting to expose corruption through pursuing careers as attorneys. Murdock and Nelson formed a strong friendship, with Nelson often playfully joking about Murdock's blindness, and Nelson being teased about his poor life and career choices, while also being sarcastically urged by the energetic Murdock to take a class in Punjabi language to find a girlfriend to settle down with.

Together, Murdock and Nelson had planned to sneak into the university's debutante ball, entering it through the cafeteria kitchen. Later, Murdock alone decided to check out the party venue when he sensed a woman of interest was nearby. When threatened with removal from the party grounds by a bodyguard identifying him as a 'crasher', the woman, named Elektra Natchios, stepped in and declared Murdock as her company during the party. Murdock and Elektra initially thought nothing of each other, though Elektra grew to be impressed by Murdock's logical deduction as for her reasons to help Murdock when he was stopped by the bodyguard. Eventually, Elektra invited Murdock to spend more private time with her, leaving the party with him after the pair stole an expensive car.

Elektra and Murdock broke into Fogwell's Gym, where the latter opened up to her about his past, including the details of his father's murder. As a joke, Elektra engaged Murdock in a fight using the practice ring inside the gym in order to test the extent of his enhanced abilities. The fight proved both of them as equals and prolonged a period of sexual tension between the pair, eventually leading them both to begin making out and becoming romantically involved in each other's lives.

Confronting Roscoe Sweeney[edit]

Natchios and Murdock broke into a mansion belonging to an associate of her father Hugo. Once inside the residence, the pair began discussing their future together after marriage, with Elektra confessing to Matt that she would willingly trade her overinflated and luxurious lifestyle to be with him. However, while the two were having sex, Matt overheard a car pulling up to the house, eventually being led to discover he was set up by Natchios to confront his father's killer, Roscoe Sweeney. Elektra informed Matt that some time ago she managed to track him in Monte Carlo where he was hiding and using multiple aliases. Matt, revealing himself as Jack Murdock's son to Sweeney, proceeded to physically beat him up to the point of near-death, before abruptly refusing Elektra's offer to kill him and take revenge for what he did to him as a child, with Matt instead calling the police to inform them of Roscoe being a wanted felon. Confused and disappointed by this revelation, Elektra vanishes from the scene soon after, breaking contact with Matt as a result.

Sometime after, Murdock and Foggy Nelson are drinking at a bar, and Nelson officially proposes him and Matt collaborate and work together as attorneys at law once they finally graduate from university. He proceeded to ask about the status of the relationship between him and Elektra, with Matt claiming it fell apart. He went on to suggest that they name their new law firm Nelson and Murdock when they went into business together, with the pair collectively agreeing before continuing to discuss their future.

Working for Landman and Zack[edit]

Both Murdock and Nelson, now partners in law, were able to secure internships working under the Landman and Zack Law Firm, an established and powerful firm within New York that helps defend large and successful corporations. Under assignment, the two are reluctantly forced to serve as defendants for the Roxxon Corporation, testifying against innocent people being exploited by its corrupt CEO, Parish Landman, disgusting Murdock in particular after witnessing a senior citizen who had been poisoned by Roxxon losing their case to both of them. They were eventually both offered permanent positions in the firm, but refused the proposal after Murdock successfully convinced Nelson not to take the job as a result of their unethical practices. The two eventually decide on establishing their own law firm, Nelson and Murdock, dedicated to helping innocent people in New York City and strengthening their relationship as friends.

Becoming the Daredevil[edit]

The following night after Nelson & Murdock quit their internships, Murdock began being disturbed by the sounds of his neighbor's daughter crying at night. He was discretely aware of his neighbor continuing to abuse her while his wife was asleep. After a failed attempt to call Child Protective Services in order to have the man arrested, Murdock decided to confront him and have him face his own brand of personal justice. He put on an eyeless mask and a hoodie, planning to ambush the neighbor where he worked at a train yard. Murdock confronted and proceeded to ambush the man, beating him up and threatening him in the event he would ever hurt his own daughter or any other innocent person again, before leaving him unconscious.

After his initial bout of vigilantism, Murdock joined Nelson at Josie's Bar, where the latter asked him of his opinion of the signage he had designed for their new law firm while expressing personal paranoia regarding their future as a business. He nevertheless instilled his faith in Murdock's aspirations and judgement, believing they could make their career as attorney's successful over more time spent working together to make New York a better place.

Years later, Murdock has been active as a vigilante for some time and aspires to take his crimefighting tenure more seriously. Buying an all-black outfit and a mask that covered the top half of his face, concealing his identity, he began a quest to protect those powerless against corrupt people in New York at night while continuing to fight for justice as an attorney by day. He later attends confession at Clinton Church, seeking implicit forgiveness from the priest Paul Lantom for the activities he was about to partake in. His first major assignment as a costumed hero involved tracking down Turk Barrett, leading a group of Russian mafia gangsters engaging in illegal misdemeanors such as kidnapping and sex trafficking. Finding the victims being held captive in shipping containers, Murdock attacked Barrett and his associates, managing to defeat his men while subduing their leader by knocking a steel beam into his head, leaving him unconscious, before taking out a bribed watchman observing the fight and freeing the captured sex slaves. He ordered the young women to flee the scene and notify any NYPD officers they could find before physically apprehending Barrett himself, leaving him to be found by the police and subseqently arrested.

The next morning, Murdock and Nelson tour their new offices in anticipation of establishing their own independent law firm. Their real estate agent, Susan Harris, told them that the building they had bought for running their business had sustained some damage as a result of the Battle of New York, explaining why it was being sold for such a low price. Though Nelson was initially wary about being in a financial position to purchase such a facility, they eventually agreed to the buyout, with Murdock reassuring him it was the right move to make.


Defending Karen Page

Shortly after moving into their offices, Foggy Nelson received a call from NYPD Sergeant Brett Mahoney, pointing them towards a woman named Karen Page who was found in her apartment by police after allegedly murdering her colleague by stabbing him to death. Upon meeting the disgraced client, Nelson & Murdock agreed to represent her in court, as Murdock used his enhanced hearing to listen to Karen's consistent heartbeat while speaking, thereby convincing him of her innocence. Later that night, Page survived an assassination attempt in her prison cell by a corrupt police officer. This pushed the pair to have her freed on bail. Page revealed to Nelson and Murdock that she discovered a money-laundering scheme conducted by her former employer, Union Allied Construction. Murdock allowed Page to reside in his apartment over the duration of the case, recognizing the fear she had for her own personal safety.

During one night, Page managed to sneak out of Murdock's apartment and back to her own in order to collect the hard-drive of evidence pertaining to her employer's schemes, unaware that Murdock was awake and had followed her to the residence. She is suddenly ambushed and attacked by Rance, a professional hitman working for Wilson Fisk who the masked vigilante manages to physically apprehend before he attempted to kill her. Murdock then promises to take the hard-drive to the New York City Police Department before being sworn off by Page, herself expressing worries over the police's own corruption. Murdock then takes Rance to the New York Bulletin offices alongside presenting the hard-drive containing evidence of the corporation's unethical practices. The exposé published by the paper the following day resulted in Page being freed of her charges for which she expressed gratitude towards Nelson and Murdock, who then proposed she be hired as their secretary in helping to manage their law firm, for which she happily accepted.

Meeting Claire Temple

After a period of time spent physically training himself at Fogwell's Gym, Murdock goes out to continue his pursuit of vigilante justice, suddenly hearing the cries of a kidnapped boy atop a rooftop. He later discovers he was in fact, set up by the Russian mafia in order to be ambushed. Despite being able to physically defeat most of the criminals while escaping, Murdock left the fight, having endured multiple knife wounds before falling unconscious in a dumpster. He was eventually found by a man named Satino, who called his apartment neighbor Claire Temple for help. Temple treats his wounds, eventually discovering his blindness in the process. Murdock awakes and attempts to leave before the mafia attempted to kill anyone in close connection with him or his incidents, in spite of Temple insisting he stay until he fully healed. Murdock falls unconscious again, dreaming of his father while asleep.

While Murdock is being nursed back to health, a mobster posing a police officer came to Temple's apartment looking for Murdock under the guise of wanting to 'apprehend' him. Though Claire communed with the man in private with Matt in hiding, he pursued him anyway, knocking him out with a fire extinguisher before he and Temple dragged him onto a rooftop to interrogate him. After an extensive bout of questioning, including multiple failed threats made to the mobster, Murdock decides to drag him across the roof and drop him off the edge if he didn't tell him where the kidnapped boy's location was. The mobster--named Semyon, gives in and informs both of them he was being held captive underneath the Troika Restaurant. Murdock drops Semyon into the same dumpster he was left unconscious in before Satino found him. When asked, Murdock reassures Temple that the mobster is still alive as he could hear a faint heartbeat coming from where he dropped him.

Saving the kidnapped boy

Murdock infiltrated Troika Restaurant where the mafia were planning on auctioning off the young captive, sneaking into the hallways of the facility while listening with his enhanced hearing to familiarize himself with where the mobsters were positioned before engaging in combat with them, therefore giving him an immediate tactical advantage. Once he assaulted the men, he made sure to put them in a position where they were forced to fight him in close-quarters combat, giving him the upper hand. Despite sustaining multiple injuries and being exhausted from being pushed physically throughout the confrontation, he eventually subdued all the incoming mobsters surrounding the boy, whom he approached soon after. Removing his mask in front of him to ensure his safety, Murdock carried the boy out of the restaurant and managed to return him to his family.

Meeting John Wesley and defending John Healy

Returning to the Law Office, Nelson and Murdock were visited by James Wesley, who asked for their assistance in defending his client John Healy, recently convicted for brutally murdering Prohaszka, a former mobster in Hell's Kitchen. Murdock proceeded to track Wesley upon leaving the building using the tick of his watch. He witnessed Wesley enter a limo to speak with his employer in private, with Matt ultimately forfeiting the chance to follow him any further due to a prolonged pain in his side caused by an open wound. Despite showing hesitance towards the case initially, Murdock accepts the case in an attempt to learn more about who was orchestrating the recent surge in criminal activity within Hell's Kitchen.

Murdock and Nelson cross-examined their client, who was clearly experienced in court hearing procedure. They began plotting to get Healy off his charges by claiming self-defense During said trial, Murdock began to notice the female juror's heart rate increasing when James Wesley arrived to the hearing, later giving a speech pertaining to the lack of evidence present that could substantially convict Healy. This led to a hung jury being called for, with Healy being freed of his charges. Murdock later tracked and directly fought Healy physically, before emerging victorious and questioning him on the whereabouts of his employer. Eventually, Murdock was provided the identity of Healy and Wesley's superior: Wilson Fisk. Knowing the fate of his personal life and family is now at critical risk due to compromised information, Healy immediately commits suicide by slamming his own face into an iron spike, to Murdock's horror.

Season 2[edit]

Following the downfall of Wilson Fisk and the Russian mafia, and the disappearance of the Chinese and Yakuza, various gangs attempt to take control of Hell's Kitchen, including the Irish Mob and Cartels. When a group of Irish are gunned down by an apparent "army", the sole survivor, Elliot "Grotto" Grote, seeks out the firm of Nelson and Murdock for protection. Murdock, as Daredevil, investigates the cartels, who he learns had all of their high-power weapons stolen by a single man. At the hospital, Grotto and Page are attacked by this man and barely escape alive. Daredevil confronts the new vigilante in the rooftops near the hospital, and is shot in the head at point blank range.

Season 3[edit]

After Murdock's injury at the end of The Defenders, he is taken to a church and put under the care of Maggie Grace, a nun.

The Defenders[edit]

Reception[edit]

Charlie Cox speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California.

Mike Hale at the New York Times called Cox's performance "divided", praising him as Murdock and criticizing him as Daredevil. [10] Liz Shannon Miller, reviewing the first season for Indiewire, praised the series, noting its characters and development, and the performances of the entire cast, especially Cox.[11] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix also praised the cast and characters, although he wished that Murdock's "world on fire"-sight was used more often, and felt that the classic Daredevil costume could use "some tweaks".[12]

SaveDaredevil campaign[edit]

Following the series cancellation in October 2018, fans launched a petition for Netflix to revive the show.[13][14] The petition has amassed over 300,000 signatures.

Future[edit]

In 2020, Cinemablend said of the possibility of having Daredevil appear in the third Spider-Man movie: "The world of Daredevil was grim and full of nasty consequences. Matt Murdock has seen and dealt with some dark shit, and he could be the new mentor Peter Parker needs to prepare the young hero for the harsh reality and ugliness of the world he'll be expected to go up against. Plus the two can bond on being raised without a father-figure from a very young age, which I would love to see addressed in some way."[15]

Notes[edit]

  1. Tassi, Paul. "There's Now A Petition To Bring Netflix's 'Daredevil' Back From The Dead". Forbes.
  2. "Charlie Cox's Daredevil Needs to Return to the MCU - at All Costs". Comic Book Resources. May 9, 2020.
  3. "Daredevil: 5 Reasons Why He Should Come Back In Spider-Man 3 (& 5 Why Season 4 Must Come First)". Screen Rant. April 21, 2020.
  4. Lieberman, David (November 7, 2013). "Disney To Provide Netflix With Four Series Based On Marvel Characters". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Netflix Finds Its Marvel 'Daredevil' Star". The Hollywood Reporter. 2014-05-27. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  6. Kurchaski, Joe (April 14, 2015). "Costume Design for Marvel's Daredevil on Netflix". Tyranny of Style. Archived from the original on October 10, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. Vejvoda, Jim (March 17, 2015). "Daredevil: Yes, The Red Costume Will Be In It". IGN. Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. Mian, Bilal (April 24, 2015). "'Daredevil' Postmortem: Steven DeKnight on Season 1 Deaths and What's Next". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. Fawnia, Soo Hoo (April 11, 2015). "'Daredevil' Has More Than One Superhero Costume and Tons of Designer Clothes". Fashionista. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. Hale, Mike (April 8, 2015). "Review: In 'Daredevil,' a Superhero Is Sightless but Not Blind to Crime". New York Times. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Miller, Liz Shannon (April 10, 2015). "Review: 'Marvel's Daredevil' Season 1 Brings Us as Close to 'The Wire' as Marvel Can Get". Indiewire. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. Sepinwall, Allan (April 20, 2015). "World on fire: 'Daredevil' season 1 in review". HitFix. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. Robinson, Abby (March 14, 2019). "Here's the real reason why Daredevil was cancelled". Digital Spy.
  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named forbes petition
  15. Joest, Mick (March 20, 2020). "Why Charlie Cox's Daredevil Needs To Be Brought Into The Next Spider-Man Movie". CINEMABLEND. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Daredevil on the Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

Matthew Murdock (Earth-199999) on Marvel Database


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