Marvel recently released a trailer for Daredevil’s second season, introducing the new anti-heroes Punisher and Elektra. (Warning: Trailer briefly shows a crime scene and fighting throughout.)
Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer who moonlights as a vigilante. In the courtroom or on the streets, he protects innocents who can’t protect themselves. Matt is also one of the most religious characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the help of Father Lantom, a Catholic priest, Matt grapples with his motives and his own soul.
The peace of the church is a sharp contrast to the dirt and chaos on the streets. The strongest-stomached viewer will flinch at the gritty picture of Hell’s Kitchen slums. Is the violence justified? Is the harsh picture of evil necessary?
Flannery O’Connor says absolutely. Evil belongs in movies and TV because it’s already in real life. It’s tempting to gloss over the bad, but refusing to acknowledge evil is like pretending it doesn’t exist or will fix itself, which ultimately helps no one. Sin and pain are an inescapable part of reality; the honest writer must confront it with wisdom and careful consideration.
“For the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”- O’Connor, “The Fiction Writer and His Country”
Daredevil is absolutely a loud and startling figure. It paints humanity with all its rottenness and hope and reminds us that redemption is not cheap.
O’Connor is right. Evil, in media and in life, is inescapable. Without some cause of conflict, story is impossible. Or at least very untrue. But how much of that evil we see, or can stomach, is something each of us must weigh for ourselves.