The Marvel Universe is expanding and making big waves, not only on the shelves of comic book stores, but also in its firm hold in movie theaters, cable TV and, now, even Netflix.
Back on November 7, 2013, Marvel announced it signed what's been described by Marvel President of Entertainment Alan Fine as "unparalleled in its scope and size," with Netflix to air original, live-action TV programming based in the “gritty” portion of the Marvel interconnected universe.
This would prove to be a big gamble, as Marvel is usually seen as more light and fun in its small and silver screen adaptations.
This is in direct contrast to rival, DC Comics, the company that brought you "Man of Steel" and the upcoming team-up film, "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
The aforementioned company is more known for its bleak world, where there never seems to be a glimmer of hope until Batman shows up and also seems to showcase funerals. Of course, "The Dark Knight" trilogy director Christopher Nolan fantastically brought this to light.
Marvel, up until the "Captain America" sequel, "The Winter Soldier," had been fun, light-hearted humor with funny, charismatic characters.
Enter "Daredevil" and co: The new Netflix series has garnered rave reviews from critics and viewers alike, as it delves into the not-so-funny world of Hell’s Kitchen, New York.
The protagonist is a lawyer with a heart of gold who was blinded as a boy due to a chemical spill (Hell yeah!).
This, in turn, releases his alter-ego, Daredevil, and he ends up becoming a complete badass who no one suspects to be the blind, yet charming, Matt Murdock.
What this series sets up is Marvel’s first real step into the gritty. Yes, "The Winter Soldier" laid the foundation to set up a darker world, but it’s "Daredevil" that’s built the bridge.
It's allowing Marvel to take characters to a more somber place while still keeping the heart that’s made "The House of Ideas" loved by the general audience.
Now, I know gritty doesn't always mean better, but darker undertones with a bleak outlook of existence is taken far more seriously (especially when it comes to comic book movies).
As fans, we know the books can get pretty deep — from Ant Man Hank Pym’s depression to Iron Man Tony Stark's alcohol abuse to Peter Parker’s best friend, Harry Osborn’s, battle with drug addiction.
We might not ever see anything like that on the big screen, but with shows like "Daredevil" and "Luke Cage," which is currently in pre-production, Marvel is in prime position to push the comic book genre to be taken a little more seriously than before, especially with DC already laying the groundwork with films like, "The Watchmen" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy.
With critics like the Schmoes confirming the upcoming sequel, "Avengers: Age of Ultron," being a little more ominous than its predecessor, who knows? Maybe there’s an Oscar in the future for a comic book movie for best picture, or best actors.
However, the change to a harsher, fictional world could potentially result in some kind of loss in revenue.
Not too many parents take their kids to see movies rated R these days, which could hurt merchandise sales. I believe that was one of the things that hurt "The Watchmen."
We'll just have to wait and see.