In a time where superhero television shows are becoming the regular, Netflix’s rendition of Daredevil stands out as one of the best. Visceral, dark, and gritty; Daredevil shows that not all superhero shows need to be cartoony and fun. As one of the first superhero shows to be given a TV-MA rating, Daredevil ditches the flashy CGI based fight scenes we expect from superhero movies and television. Instead, Daredevil goes for the jugular time and time again; its fight scenes proving to be nothing short of brutal. Now with the first season behind us, we found it appropriate here at The TV Junkies to look back and appreciate all those stomach twisting beat downs.
Before we begin, it’s important to understand we are not grading these fights based solely on the choreography or sheer entertainment of the fight. We will be looking at emotional weight, importance to the story, and the characters involved. Not every fight listed may be a knock out brawl, but those of a more subtle touch. Below we give you the top ten fights throughout Daredevil Season 1!
**** Warning: Spoilers Ahead!! ****
10. Bill Fisk vs. Hoodlum. Episode 8
Starting our countdown, we have old man Fisk beating on some poor guy who knocked over his election signs and called him a loser. While not necessarily a full out fight, the sheer beat down that we see Bill Fisk give to this kid was unrelenting. In typical Fisk fashion of choosing brute strength to dominate a fight, Bill’s use of a bat on some poor would-be-vandal is hard enough to watch as is, but this fight makes the Top 10 due to Bill getting his son Wilson to help. Showing the mentality that the future Kingpin would adopt due to his father’s outwardly violent nature was a key turning point for the character. Having to prove himself to his father by kicking an already bloodied kid, it’s clear why not all the screws are tight in young Wilson’s mind. Man,Wilson has daddy issues.
9. The First Fight. Episode 1
Daredevil had a lot to deliver when it aired a couple months back and many of us were skeptical on its ability to do so. Most of us feared the typical colorful and flashy fight scenes we were used to on shows such as The Flash. However, Daredevil gave us a more gritty and raw fight scene in the opening of the first episode. Having Murdock stop a shipment of sex traffickers by beating them broken and bloody, quelled any preconceived notions we might have gathered. Helping showcase the brutality of Daredevil’s fighting style, a look at his abilities, and the shadow nature of Hell’s Kitchen in general; this was a perfct way to open up a series. It was fast and ruthless, offering just enough of a tease to the acrobatic stunts to come in later episodes.
8. Daredevil vs. Melvin Potter (The Gladiator). Episode 11
For those who may not have caught it or just are not as much of a comic book geek, the man who designs Matt’s suit is not just a random thug. Melvin Potter, also known as The Gladiator in the comics, is one of the few other DC based villains that come up in Daredevil. This one was just fun to watch, as the duo uses anything they can get their hands on to inflict pain on one another. Potter physically dominates Matt throughout the fight, tossing him around the room like a simple toy. Melvin’s confused and almost childlike remarks to Matt give this fight a sense of uneasiness; as if we were watching just a schoolyard brawl. Though I have to give it to Murdock for the backflip kick, while in chains mind you, for the flashiest way to end this battle.
7. Devil in the Garage. Episode 4
Taking a few cues from Batman it seems, here we witness Matt pick off a gang of Russian mobsters in a large garage. While we get almost no on camera shots of the actual beatings, the sound design for this scene stands out among the others. With minimal lighting, we are treated to a stomach-churning symphony of noise as Matt bloodies every monster pulled into the shadows. We highly enjoyed this more psychological based fight scene as it proved that Matt isn’t just a blind man who can kick ass. You can feel the panic in the mobsters as each one is removed from the equation, until that last gangster receives that glorious on camera beat down.
6. Wilson Fisk vs. Anatoly Ranshahov. Episode 4
With Fisk noticeably absent the first few episodes of the series, it was a real treat to finally get him on camera. While most must have been caught off guard by his more venerable side being shown first, it seemed as if Fisk wasn’t really allthat bad. That is until we saw him lay some serious punishment down on Anatoly at the end of Episode 4. If anyone had doubts about actor Vincent D’Onofrio’s ability to portray the mountainous villain Kingpin, this scene certainly answered them. Fisk is unrelenting in this fight, using nothing but raw power to decimate poor Anatoly. Contrasted perfectly with Wesley just emotionlessly sitting in the car, while Kingpin beats the Russian gang leader raw outside; it’s certainly proves that Fisk is not a man to embarrass. Not to mention that car door finisher! Ouch!
5. Daredevil vs. Stick. Episode 7
Showing that all blind men are not created equal, this fight between Matt and his former sensei is certainly a fun one. While I was curious early on in Daredevil how much they would go into about Matt’s training, I was pleasantly surprised with their use of Stick. Throughout this entire episode we witness how Stick lays a beating on a young Murdock as he attempts to train him. His brutal and sometimes harsh treatment of Matt throughout his youth only made the ending to this fight more satisfying. Stick proving that he is no pushover, pushes Matt to the point where it seems like he will genuinely lose to him. Yet, it seems the student has become the master as Matt shows his training had paid off.
4. Daredevil vs. Nobu. Episode 9
One of the bloodiest bouts in this Top 10, which is saying a lot, Murdock versus the ninja Nobu is a brutal one. Taking place over the span of the entire episode, we get to see why Matt is not top dog yet in Hell’s Kitchen. This fight accents why the battles in Daredevil are so interesting, as Matt still has a long ways to go. Sometimes it’s nice to see that even Daredevil can stumble, showing that he is still just as vulnerable as any of us. The combat between these two also has an incredible fluidity to it, favoring a more precise approach. Given that the majority of the bouts up until this one are more about brute strength versus technical skill, Nobu’s fighting style offers a refreshing change of pace. Not to mention ending this bloody battle with Nobu up in flames and Fisk appearing to utterly decimate a weakened Matt made a great bookend.
3. Daredevil vs. Kingpin. Episode 13
This is it. What this show has been building up to for its thirteen episode season. Finally getting to see Matt in the full Daredevil regalia was certainly a treat, even if it was sadly all too brief. Though his fight with Kingpin certainly felt longer than it actually was, offering a mix of the show’s now trademark brutality and a multitude of cheer worthy moments, this was quite the battle. However, it’s not just the amazing choreography that gets this one so high on the list, but the palpable tension felt throughout. These men hate each other beyond reason. Their entire lives have been ruined and flipped upside down multiple times; so the emotional weight behind it all is crushing. My only wish is that the battle lasted a bit longer, but it was a hell of a way to end the season.
2. Murdock vs. Nelson. Episode 10
Okay, okay we know we are bending the rules here a bit, but not all fights need to be physical! We were worried early on that Foggy’s reaction upon discovering Matt’s secret identity was going to rushed. Just a few jokes at Matt’s expense, maybe the odd trust issue speech, thankfully we were dead wrong. While there were no fists thrown, the psychological battle between these best of friends was actually hard to watch at times. We could genuinely feel the pain that Foggy had, the emotional betrayal that was warping Foggy’s outlook. These were the best of friends now torn apart by the lies Matt had constructed. This fight didn’t just end with a nice wrap up, but continued on throughout the entire season. It helped define what Foggy and Matt’s relationship was going to be. At times it even appeared as if it was un-repairable, the crack that broke the dam. Yes, they never traded blows, but the sheer emotional power and struggle between these two men was too important to leave off this list.
1. The Hallway Battle. Episode 2
Are you surprised? While Foggy versus Nelson may have been the peak emotional battle, this is the top physical one. Sure, some of the other fights in this list may be more iconic, but it’s the knuckle dragging style of this fight that pushes it further. We mentioned earlier how we like that Matt gets knocked around, this fight scene echoes that entire mentality. He isn’t some flawless fighter, able to just power his way through hordes of gangsters. He gets hit, thrown around, even needing breathers between the brief skirmishes with the Russian thugs. Add on that this entire fight scene was shot in one take, a clear nod to the hallway fight from Oldboy, and this battle deserves all of the accolades it has been given. Matt’s hallway brawl is not just visual impressive, but it helps set up what we should expect from this show in the future. This fight alone helps define both the series’ tone and mentality; helping it truly set itself apart from all other comic book shows before it.
How would you rank the Daredevil fights? Do you agree with our rankings? Sound off in the comments and add your thoughts below.
All 13 episodes of Daredevil Season 1 are now currently available on Netflix and Netflix Canada.
Collin’s TV Junkie days started early with his love of classic Saturday morning shows like Goosebumps and Batman The Animated Series occupying his time. He is a graduate of Arcadia University, majoring in Media and Communications. Some of his favorite shows currently are Gotham, Better Call Saul, The Strain, and Penny Dreadful.