For a second go-around Daredevil is back, and back with a bang and literal sense of vengeance.
After our heroes put away the Kingpin of crime in Hell’s Kitchen, things got better.. only to drastically and suddenly fall into chaos. Frank Castle(Jon Bernthal), aka The Punisher, has been attacking New York’s major gangs with military precision and firepower, leaving only a wake of destruction and empty bullet casings in his wake.
With the police overpowered and on the ropes, Matt Murdock(Charlie Cox), and his alter-ego Daredevil, buries himself deeper into physical and emotional turmoil to find and apprehend this..villain.
Caught in the cross-fire of Matt’s life are his legal assistant and new love interest Karen Page(Deborah Ann Woll) and best friend and partner Foggy Nelson(Elden Henson)
Hiding in the newly established peace, a secret society has been building strength and pushes our hero to the brink of abandoning all the things he holds dear, requiring the help of all his allies and some former foes to stay afloat.
If you were eating an amazing pizza, but you randomly hated two bites of said pizza, is it still a good pizza?
That’s pretty much how I felt about my viewing experience of Daredevil Season 2 – so many strong elements, but enough bad bites to question how I felt about of the show in its entirety.
As amazing as the chemistry between Cox and Electra(Elodie Yung) is, the deeper we delved into her storyline and the history of The Hand, the more we distanced ourselves from the realism that made the first season as entertaining as it was. Even in a world blind crime fighters, magic and immortality seem out of place. The first half of the season had gained so much momentum, only to have it all come crashing down in a matter of 30 minutes. Daredevil’s second season falls victim to the classic Spiderman 3 shortfall of assuming that more plotlines means a better story – it does not.
Juxtaposed against the character development of last season’s Wilson Fisk(Vincent D’Onofrio), The Hand, and specifically Nobu, are given little backstory, and are only in the story because the plot requires an archetype evil force to bring our anti-heroes together. And lastly, Karen Page has become the show’s useless appendage. Compared the strong female character Electra, Karen is stuck in the gender-role of being the emotional heart of the cast. The love interest with Matt is forced, and seems like a cop-out to keep him connected to the non-vigilante side of his life.
The strength of the show remains in the series’ gritty nature and complex characters. Electra and Castle are the most notable contributions, but it’s Castle who truly steals the screen. Basically playing an even more amped up version of Shane from the Walking Dead, every one of Castle’s scenes are captivating. His character is an amazing example of what it means to be a hero/villain. Is murder in the name of vengeance still murder? Can heroes be killers? What do you do when society fails you, when the law fails you?
Charlie Cox and his perpetual 5 o’clock shadow are back and better than ever. While the fights and acrobatics are a major draw, his character couples that with stronger internal conflicts throughout the season. Daredevil becomes Matt’s worst enemy and vice versa. A thought he confesses to Claire Temple(Rosario Dawson) toward the end of the season, “No more law. No more friends. At best they’re a distraction, at worst I put them in jeopardy.” Matt puts an increasingly amount of self-worth in Daredevil and struggles to cope when he fails his friends and those closest to him blatantly tell him he’s not a hero.
Expanding and intertwining the MCU, hints to the existence of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the Avengers are tossed in as Easter Eggs and show how easily they’ll be able to create a Defenders series. While the show grows the MCU it also continues where it left off and doesn’t remove characters after they’ve had their time in the spotlight. As Kingpin shows, villains don’t stop being villains just because they’re in jail. Fisk finds a new “throne” to sit on, and continues to wield power throughout Hell’s Kitchen and will likely continue to play a major part in our heroes’ lives moving forward.
Overall the pizza is still delicious. Cox and Bernthal’s performances, coupled with the gritty action that made the show such a revelation, easily over-power the blemishes the show offers.
Jon Bernthal is absolutely amazing in this role. The first four episodes, which almost solely explore his character, are the best in the entire series. I’m not surprised by the news that Netflix has locked him down for his own spin-off series.
Kingpin is truly the ultimate Daredevil villain, and I think the longer they could’ve held off in using him the better. Anything else seems like a step-down.
Outside of a summer blockbuster, you won’t find better action sequences. The stairwell fight sequence matches anything I’ve ever seen on TV.