In typical stories of heroism within films and television of the present, violence, and killing take commonplace. The hero or heroine kills the antagonist and audiences have become familiar with viewing this. Marvel’s Daredevil, takes this trope in the superhero genre of films and turns it on its head. The series and its themes revolve around the implications of taking a life, and the factors that play into seeking to justify this action. Within the character of Matt Murdock, who is the protagonist of the series, there is an internal struggle. Matt’s guilty conscience drives him to constantly question his motivations and actions of being a vigilante. A guilty conscience is rarely seen in films of this genre. Heroes kill because they think that’s how they’ll save others, or get to their goal. Daredevil stops to question if reaching a goal should be done by any means necessary. He uses his deep feelings of anger that are within him, and channels it into acts of violence as a morally ambiguous excuse.
Matt is Catholic and growing up in a monastery, he holds high regard for God and doing what is right, rather than doing what is right for himself. It’s his Catholicism that forces Matt to recognize his violent nature and question if using his fists to protect the weak in the broken system of society is justified. Matt speaks to his priest at various points in the plot to seek guidance and penance for the sins he has committed. The conclusion of these scenes of dialogue exchanges between Matt and his Priest never leaves the audience with prominent answers between right and wrong. Guidance is given but not with conclusions to how Matt should act next. Within these scenes and the character of Matt, the dominant cultural values of Catholicism and gray areas that can be present within religious beliefs come to light.
Verses from the Bible are referenced by Matt’s priest and used to relate to his moral dilemmas. “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is the righteous man who gives way before the wicked. Proverbs 25:26”. I have rarely seen this type of story before within this genre of television or film where the internal struggle of killing to protect is fleshed out and not dropped after the first or second act of a story. The question of taking a life is present till the very end. The intriguing aspect is the outsider of this story, the antagonist. He does not retain a guilty conscience when performing acts of murder. The antagonist uses his rage to let nothing stop him from protecting the weak and reaching his goals, even when it results in taking a life. The antagonists’ conviction in holding no remorse effectively makes him a mirrored character besides the protagonist. They both want the same thing, both are fueled by rage, yet Matt refuses to lose his soul to violence.