I am an absolute sucker for a good fight scene. I can usually watch a great fight scene over and over and over because it’s like a beautiful (ridiculously violent) dance. And I love a good dance sequence.
Daredevil does not lack for good fight scenes. Philip J. Silvera is listed as Fight Coordinator for 12 of the 13 Daredevil episodes (and Stunt Coordinator for all 13), so thank you, sir, for these amazing feats of glory. There are about thirty (give or take a few minor punch outs) over the course of the show. Let’s rank the top fifteen! (And please feel free to disagree with me here, there are no wrong answers when it comes to the awesome fights.)
15. Matt vs. Russian Mob Soldier
Episode 2, “Cut Man”
Okay, I have to include this even though it’s not really a fair fight. Matt literally throws drops a fire extinguisher on a guy’s head from, like, eight stories up, stabs him in his orbital area, throws him off a building, and homeboy still survives.
14. Healy vs. Prohashka
Episode 3, “Rabbit in a Snowstorm”
This fight was so unexpected. You’re thrown into a scene, you have no idea what’s going on, only that this red headed man is very unsettling for some reason. You soon find out why because this is probably one of the most brutal, violent fights of the entire series. (I’m not going to lie, I closed my eyes as soon as he broke Prohashka’s arm.) Thank you for not going all Game of Thrones and showing us the actual smashing of the face with the bowling ball.
13. Matt vs. Child Molester
Episode 10, “Nelson vs. Murdock”
This one is (timeline-wise) the earliest version of Matt we get to see fighting. He is rough and raw, and so angry. He beats the hell out of this disgusting human being. He jumps on him, and is grunting and breathing heavy and putting everything he has into it. And then he punches this child molester in the face, eighteen times in a row. It’s a good fight because we see Matt as he was in the beginning, at the point of his decision to keep Hell’s Kitchen safe. But we also get to see that it’s also possible he might just be an angry guy who finds hitting bad people cathartic.
12. Matt vs. Russian Soldiers Outside of Cab
Episode 5, “World on Fire”
Matt comes flying into frame with a kick to one guy’s head,we’re sitting next to the blind Chinese man in the cab, and watching through the back window. It’s fast and hard. The fight is cool, there’s a part where Matt literally unloads a gun and launches the magazine at one of the Russians to knock him the hell out before sneak attacking the other two mobsters. But what struck me most was the Chinese man’s “ah?!” right before he gets shot in the head and killed as a direct result of Matt’s actions. It was an unsettling moment in the heat of an already intense battle.
11. Matt & Stick vs. Nobu’s Group at the Docks
Episode 7, “Stick”
This fight is literally only here because Matt uses the billy clubs AND IT IS AWESOME. It starts with all stealth, he takes out the surrounding guards one by one before exploding into the light in an attempt to thwart Stick’s murder attempt.
10. Matt vs. Healy
Episode 3, “Rabbit in the Snowstorm”
This is a great fight that illustrates Matt’s “the ends justify the means” state of mind. It’s a fast one, and Matt’s matched up against someone who is nearly as (if not as) skilled as he is. It seems more slick than the other fights, because Healy is trained in some type of martial arts, which makes it fun to watch. Aaaand then Matt threatens to kill Healey to get Fisk’s name, and then Healey kills himself with a truly disgusting spike-through-the-eye.
9. Matt vs. the Police in the Tunnels
Episode 6, “Condemned”
I really appreciate how often these fight scenes play with our senses, or are shot in ways that are unique to the episode. So in this one, Matt is fighting dirty cops in the tunnels underneath a condemned building. It starts with intense gunfire, Matt doing flips to avoid that gunfire, and lots of parkour! We get bits of light with the gunfire, and sometimes complete darkness, but the action never stops.
8. Matt vs. the Cops Coming After Det. Hoffman
Episode 13, “Daredevil”
I loved this fight, it’s another one that plays with our perspective. We’re sitting in Hoffman’s seat, this time. He’s about to be shot, he’s scared, closes his eyes, so all we hear are grunts and thumps and gun shots, but we’re 13 episodes in. You know it’s a good fight. You know how Matt is moving. And Hoffman opens his eyes for the tail-end and we catch a backflip combo boot to the chin, and it’s excellent.
7. Matt vs. Melvin Potter
Episode 11, “The Path of the Righteous”
It took me half a second to realize this was the Gladiator. I love that we get a glimpse of Melvin Potter the tailor, and I loved this fight. Matt underestimates Melvin, and then Melvin LIFTS MATT UP BY THE FACE, “You shouldn’t be here!” and it’s creepy and perfect. And then Melvin grabs the circular saws to throw, and there’s some chain work. Overall it is an A+ fight, and an excellent way to introduce one of my favorite Daredevil villains.
6. Matt vs. Stick
Episode 7, “Stick”
This fight was a long time coming. Stick has beat Matt time and time again, he’s spat on his trifles, he’s mocked him, and he tried to kill a child. Matt has had enough. The fight is great because these two are so evenly matched. They tear apart Matt’s apartment, and just when you think it’s over, it’s not. I’m not entirely sure how Stick actually has any teeth left in his head after that beating.
5. Matt vs. Russian Mobsters in Taxi Garage
Episode 4, “In the Blood”
This was a great scene for stealthy Matt. He shows up at this taxi garage to save Claire from the Russians and he does it by being the biggest creep. First the power goes out, then he starts taking them out, until finally there’s only Sergei, and then Matt starts talking, his voice is seemingly echoing from everywhere. But, let’s be real, the best part is when Claire hits Sergei in the face with the bat. If that’s not the most satisfying thing you’ve ever seen, then you’re probably lying.
4. Matt vs. Bad Guys on Dock
Episode 1, “Into the Ring”
Of course this fight had to be top five! It’s our first look of Matt’s fighting style, and his ability to take down bad guys. And he does not disappoint. There’s a lot of great footwork and improvisation. There’s even some humor (though I feel a little bad for the guy who may have just been eating a sandwich next to the Hudson River?).
3. Wilson Fisk vs. Anatoly
Episode 4, “World on Fire”
This is the fight where I believed that Vincent D’Onofrio was Wilson Fisk. Up to this point, Fisk had been a little sad-sacky for my taste. None of his bluster or villainy was really shining through all that well. But then, then Anatoly goes and interrupts Fisk’s date. Poor, poor Anatoly. We hardly knew ye. Between the fight choreography, the camera work, and D’Onofrio, it was like watching Kingpin step out of those terrifying panels and right onto the screen. He was all rage, and bullish, with those giant hands, just pounding on this man screaming, “YOU EMBARRASSED ME IN FRONT OF HER.” It’s an incredibly violent and disturbing scene, where we really see Fisk as the sociopath that he is. (Also oh my god the car. THE CAR. And BRAIN MATTER FALLING TO THE GROUND.)
2. Matt vs. Russian Mobsters Who Kidnapped the Boy
Episode 2, “Cut Man”
This is the big fight that everyone was talking about, and for good reason. It’s all done in one cut, through a hallway as Matt fights off 6, 7, 8, 9 or more men to save a little boy. It’s the combination of very clever camera work, and set design, and fight choreography that makes this such an amazing scene to watch. There was some great work switching Charlie Cox in and out with his stunt/fight double without ever stopping the camera. The fight goes in and out of rooms, we stay in the hallway, and despite that it is never boring. We’re never left waiting. And beyond the fight itself, it gives us Matt as who he wants to be. He made a tangible difference by saving that kid, and he did it on his terms.
1. Matt vs. Nobu / Matt vs. Fisk
Episode 9, “Speak of the Devil”
This is my favorite fight of the entire series. Matt is outclassed by Nobu as a fighter and as a person who has that metal hook on the end of a chain which is the most brutal weapon. Matt’s billy clubs cannot even compare. It’s very high stakes from the beginning, with Nobu getting in several slashes before eventually wrapping the chain around Matt with the hook landing in his belly and dragging him along the floor. It was hard to watch, but also very important to see. Because this is Matt failing. And once he wins, he wins because of pure luck. This fight felt very old school martial arts, it was much more focused on skill, rather than emotional reactions. It is, I’m hoping, an introduction to what The Hand will be in later Marvel series.
And this leads right into Matt’s first face to face confrontation with Fisk as Daredevil. And Fisk just owns him, as he has the entire episode. He beats him down verbally and physically, but in doing so teaches Matt quite a few things about Wilson Fisk.
Madame Gao vs. Matt
Episode 12, “The Ones We Leave Behind”
Matt tries to strong-arm Madame Gao into giving him information on Fisk, and she hits him ONE TIME and he goes flying. She gets away. It is amazing.
So there you have it. Those are my favorite fight scenes from this season of Daredevil. How about you? What should we have included? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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