Our final character study of the Netflix Daredevil series will be on Wilson Fisk.
I’ll tell you what: Vincent D’Onofrio is a damned fine actor, and he acted the hell out of Wilson Fisk. Basically, he became a very believable version of the Kingpin of Crime (which is a name he is never referred to in the series).
In looking at the adult Wilson Fisk, you can see something of the damage that has been done to him. It's in his speech pattern when he gets upset. Then we spend some time getting to know his background, and we see just what kind of childhood he had, how he was damaged, and how that damage manifests itself in what he wants and how he reacts to certain triggers.
When he's triggered to rage, you see it. This isn't the rage of an adult, pushed beyond the brink. This is the rage of a child, loosed upon the world. He doesn't really fight when he gets to this point--he brawls, and like the Hulk, that rage fuels his strength. When he's in his child-rage, almost like a tantrum, Wilson Fisk is hard to hurt. It's almost like his pain receptors are turned off, allowing him to shrug off attacks. And the blows he lands are graceless, yet effective for all of that.
Like Murdock, Fisk is also his father's son. He has learned well the lessons his father taught, and all he really wants is to live up to the goals he feels his father has set. Does it matter that in certain ways, he's attained more than his father ever had? Not at all. He will forever be the lonely boy looking for the attention and respect from a man who never gave him either.
In watching the series, you have no choice but to feel something for Wilson Fisk. Now, contrast that against the Daredevil movie, and you see that Michael Clark Duncan basically played a caricature of the same character.
Fisk's father wanted to "own" the city by working in the local government. Working with criminals, Wilson Fisk believes that he owns Hell's Kitchen, and he's trying to "save" it.
I would not say that Fisk and Murdock are two sides of the same coin, but I would say that they are uniquely suited for one another. They are easy to compare and contrast. What isn't so easy is forgiveness. You can forgive Murdock for the violence he inflicts on the criminal element, because that's what they understand. It isn't easy to forgive Fisk, because his violence comes from a different place. Make no mistake, Fisk is crazy. He is tightly controlled, and people are only safe around him when he's totally calm. His rages are often murderous, and he isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty.
Again, D'Onofrio played him perfectly. And if you see some of Private "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence...well, that's okay, too.
Just don't tell Fisk that.