*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.*
Streaming service Netflix’s original programming template has ushered in the era of socially acceptable binge watching, which is an oddly perfect fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first of Marvel/Netflix’s five upcoming series, based on the blind superhero “Daredevil,” went up on Netflix last Friday (April 10), and its grounded but fanciful tone and superhero/law procedural format have been keeping the entire internet on the edge of its seat.
Even more than the characters (Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk is a revelation) and the lingering sense of continuity, the cinematography and camerawork are what make this show shine, as demonstrated in the now infamous fight scene near the end of the second episode. While searching for a kidnapped boy, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) wanders into a warehouse and fights a gang of human traffickers in an extended fight sequence – in one three-minute take, Old Boy–style. Charlie Cox detailed the laborious process required to get it just right:
We dedicated our whole day to it. The first half of the day was just the camera movements. And then we got into, it was, as you know, it’s one take, so we had to get everything right. Each attempt that we had at it. And it’s incredibly tricky because it’s not like a long tracking shot with two people speaking; it’s a long tracking shot with people punching. If one punch doesn’t land, it no longer works. It ceases to work as a scene. So I think we did it 12 times. I think three of them, we made it all the way through to the end. And one of them was the one in the show, which is kind of almost flawless. I mean, it’s very hard to find holes in that.
So-called “long takes” are held in high regard in the world of film and television because they show a commitment to craft and (relative) realism from the cast, cinematographers, director, set workers, etc, and this fight scene is absolutely no exception. If this doesn’t turn you onto this series, I’m not quite sure what can. Check it out above.