Marvel and Netflix Showcase Catholic Faith in ‘Daredevil’ Series
Netflix & Marvel teamed up to produce the critically acclaimed Daredevil which features Matt Murdock, a Catholic wrestling with his faith, as well as bad guys.
On Friday, Netflix released their 13-part series on Marvel’s Daredevil. The series is based on the comic book character, Matt Murdock, who was doused in radioactive waste when he saved an elderly man from a car. Matt Murdock is played by Charlie Cox, a Catholic British actor. Murdock became Daredevil as a way to redeem himself, as well as to seek revenge for his father, an ex-boxer who worked with the mob and was consequently killed by the same mob. Netflix’s series provides a deeper look at the man who Daredevil began as, from his Catholic roots to how he dawned his red costume.
The original Daredevil comics were created by Bill Everett, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby. The Netflix adaptation is primarily based around Frank Miller’s Man Without Fear series in which Miller explained the origin story. In his comic’s story, Frank Miller recreated Daredevil, emphasizing the character’s Catholic side, something Miller felt was essential to his identity. In these comics, Murdock goes through a hell that no one should have to experience. From losing his law firm to becoming homeless, Murdock experiences a mess of problems. His ex-girlfriend becomes a drug addict, trading his secret identity for drugs with Kingpin, one of Daredevil’s most notorious and ruthless villains. Daredevil quickly became a more violent hero, more darkly depicted. Why is he Catholic? Miller says that is because “only a Catholic could be a vigilante and an attorney at the same time.”
daredevil always appealed to me because i like the idea of a blind superhero, and also the catholic angle was interesting.
— hannah, from online (@pogform) April 10, 2015
Following Frank Miller’s lead, the Netflix series Marvel’s Daredevil heavily emphasizes the titular character’s faith and Catholic background. Murdock regularly visits his priest for advice and guidance. The series begins with Murdock in a confessional asking for forgiveness for the vigilante crimes he is about to commit. The phrase “Catholic guilt” is particularly relevant in the case of a Catholic vigilante, and several Catholic bloggers have explored the Catholicism in Daredevil. Obviously, the devil imagery plays an important role in Murdock’s story, but the Netflix series explores deeper conversations about the existence of the devil and evil in the world and what our responses to that evil must be. Murdock is plagued with the thought that he not only faces the devil but may have the devil inside of him.
Charlie Cox, who plays Matt Murdock in the Netflix series, appreciates the Catholic elements displayed in Marvel’s Daredevil. Cox felt a great connection to Murdock, as they both grew up Catholic. He feels that “when you’ve grown up and these belief systems have been presented to you at a young, impressionable age, I don’t know that you can shake them.” He added that “Matt’s faith is quite strong and he has come to rely on it – although at times it puts him in a difficult position because of who he is and what he does and what he’s capable of.” Cox loves playing the role of Daredevil, and said that it was a “wonderful dichotomy for an actor to play because it produces so much conflict and inner turmoil.”
Marvel’s Daredevil is now available exclusively on Netflix.