Daredevil star Charlie Cox outlines why he thinks Marvel superheroes are better suited to television adaptations rather than films.
Charlie Cox, star of Daredevil, explains why he thinks that Marvel superheroes are better suited to television adaptations rather than films. The actor, who recently appeared as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home, first took on the role of the Man Without Fear in the Netflix adaptation which ran from 2015 to 2018. After the streamer canceled the show, the licensing rights for the character were regained by Disney and the show is set to begin airing on Disney+ from March 16.
The MCU began its expansion into television with the Marvel Television department, which partnered with networks or streamers in order to bring superheroes to the small screen, including Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter, both of which were broadcast on ABC. The most successful properties licensed by Marvel Television, however, were the shows produced in partnership with Netflix centred around The Defenders, including Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones. Despite Netflix’s secrecy around ratings, these shows are believed to have performed strongly and Cox’s outing as Daredevil was critically acclaimed. However, with the then-upcoming launch of Disney+, Netflix canceled all their Marvel shows in 2019 as Disney was looking to consolidate all MCU content on their own platforms. Since then, Disney has produced new series for its streaming service in-house, with wildly successful shows such as WandaVision and Loki debuting to fan and critical acclaim.
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Now, Cox has said in an interview with ComicBook that he thinks the stories of Marvel superheroes are better suited to television adaptions. He explains that because the stories are “episodic in their original format,” they lend themselves to the small screen, comparing his outing on Netflix to the Ben Affleck Daredevil film. Cox describes how the film had to compress a complex backstory and a range of interesting characters into a short time period, whilst the show had more room to breathe. Find Cox’s full quote below:
“I think all of these characters lend themselves perfectly to the television format, because they are episodic in their original format. The deep fan base has learned to consume them in an episodic format in the comics. The thing I always said about season one of our show was that if you made the movie version, you kind of have to have him in the suit after 20 minutes, and you’ve got a lot of story to tell. And this is one of the mistakes I think the film made, which was that they tried to tell all the stories, they had Foggy, Electra, Kingpin, Bullseye, they had all of those characters in two hours.”
The comparison is quite apt. Affleck’s outing as Daredevil received mixed reviews upon release and is now considered a strong contender for one of the worst superhero films of all time. Many critics point to the bad plot and weakly developed characters, pitfalls that Cox attributes to the choice to adapt it into a film. On the other hand, the Netflix adaptation was lauded for its writing, pacing, and characters, which were developed slowly over the course of multiple episodes.
Cox has therefore outlined quite clearly why the recent trend in television adaptations of Marvel characters has been so well received. Daredevil was a fresh take upon release, displaying the potential of slow, measured storytelling compared to the fast-paced world of film adaptations, which has been carried over to the new shows airing on Disney+, such as Wandavision and Loki. Both of these shows have seen massive viewing figures and warm critical reception and if this trend continues, television might have as big a part to play in the future of the MCU as the films do.
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