Review: ‘Daredevil: Season 2’
The Man Without Fear is back for season two and hoooooly pork bun, shit gets real…and bloody -I probably could have phrased that better-. But let’s see how it compares to the first season.
After the events of season one, the entire crime hierarchy of Hell’s Kitchen is in shambles and for the taking. But soon enough, gangbangers are getting picked off by the dozens. And not in a gentle “beat you up and call the cops” kind of way, but in a “paint the walls with your brains” kind of way. There’s a new player in town and our blind friend is going to be busier than ever.
First of all, Jon Bernthal as the Punisher is a friggin’ revelation. We all knew he looked the part as ex-marine Frank Castle, but this was way beyond my expectations. He dominates every scene he’s in, including the ones with our titular hero. He’s ruthless, skilled and just a badass in every sense of the word. But as we know from last season, this show likes its characters both weak and strong. And let me tell you, Frank Castle’s emotional pour downs, rare as they may, will grab you by the throat. Hypothetically speaking, if I was a girl, I would have cried my heart out while choking in a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s. But since I’m such a manly man, let’s just say my eyes were sweating a bit -It was hot okay, leave me alone-.
The Punisher is one of my favorite Marvel characters, so I don’t say this lightly, but I could not be happier with Jon Bernthal’s performance and the show’s portrayal of Frank Castle. His initial conversation with Daredevil gets a bit tedious and could have been shorter. But other than that, I can’t wait to see more of him…If he survives this season I mean…Shit, next paragraph.
Matthew Murdock seems to have lost some of his moral ambiguity, now fully resolved to walk the non-lethal path of justice. But step by step he does assimilate more with his Daredevil suit, rather than his lawyer suit. Which will obviously cause friction with his colleagues and the new (and old) players in town. Charlie Cox continues to do a great job playing a conflicted hero, who seems to lose more than he wins. Also, he’s kind of a dick.
The action scenes and general atmosphere of the show continue to follow the same trend as last year, dark and gritty. This season more dark than gritty even, which was inevitable following the introduction of characters like the Punisher. Expect more blood, more torture, more screams and uhm, more blood. The fight scenes in particular go in ups and downs; there are some lazy choreographies stuffed with unnecessary ninja tumbles again, but there is also a long and glorious staircase scene similar to season one’s magnificent hallway rescue.
Despite some new high-profile characters, the show doesn’t forget the old cast. Karen and Foggy get fleshed out further as individual characters, both of them gradually less dependent of their co-workers. Which is definitely a good thing in the long run. They do seem to have lost the lighthearted touch they brought to the show before. A shame, because no matter how much people whine about Marvel being for kids. Finding a balance between light and dark was one of the show’s many strengths last season.
Another big entrance in season two is for Matt’s ex-girlfriend, Elektra Natchios. And unfortunately, this is where the season’s weaknesses show up. Now calm your man-tits, Elektra fans. Elodie Yung is a good pick for the beautiful assassin; she’s exotic, mysterious and unpredictable. Unfortunately the writing of her character makes her unpredictably unpredictable -the hell am I smoking you think-. What I mean is, even an impulsive and random character needs consistency. Heath Ledger’s Joker for example was consistently random. We didn’t know what he would do, but it didn’t surprise us when he finally did. Catch my drift? As the show progresses we get more and more developments surrounding Elektra that just blindside the audience and leave us with tons of unanswered questions.
Which is another big problem this season, the biggest actually. It’s overly ambitious. I can’t go into detail without spoiling, but season 2 would have benefitted from losing some of the subplots. Especially in the last couple of episodes, where I was hoping things would tie in, instead it got messy. As much as I love this show, Daredevil is no Game of Thrones. Introducing the Punisher and Elektra at the same time is hard enough as it is. But at the same time they’re trying to pull the show in five different directions. I get it, with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and eventually The Defenders joining the shared universe. Netflix has to be ambitious and planning for the long haul. But I feel like they’re closing themselves in instead, with promises they might not be able to keep.
In the end, I enjoyed this season of Daredevil more as a fan than I did as a blogger. It goes from action packed and highly addictive to sloppy and unsatisfying. So a lot of mixed feelings for this one. But for every scene that made me shake my head, there was another one -Punisher *cough*- that simply blew me away. For now I will give Netflix/Marvel the benefit of the doubt. They have had a solid record so far and Daredevil: season 2 is still a strong, albeit inconsistent, entry on their list.
Oh and don’t worry. Their hero suits look dope AF…eventually.
Creator: Drew Goddard
Stars: Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung
Binge-meter: better than broccoli, not as good as pizza