Daredevil (Season 2) 2016

"No, Frank. To try again, Frank. To try. And if you don't get that, there's something broken in you you can't fix, and you really are a nutjob.""No, Frank. To try again, Frank. To try. And if you don't get that, there's something broken in you you can't fix, and you really are a nutjob."

“No, Frank. To try again, Frank. To try. And if you don’t get that, there’s something broken in you you can’t fix, and you really are a nutjob.”

Is it just me or are the Marvel and Netflix produced shows mimicking the first phase in the MCU? After all, they are in considered to be in the same universe yet the only references we have gotten have come by way of a few lines of vague dialogue spoken aloud. The MCU films haven’t mentioned these “street level” heroes whatsoever. Maybe it’s because the Avengers have bigger threats facing them compared to what Daredevil and Jessica Jones has faced off against so far. It’s possible that the behind-the-scenes drama could also be the cause to the one never acknowledging the other.  

Considering how much darker in tone and theme the Netflix produced shows are its hard to imagine a character like Daredevil fitting into the lighthearted MCU. Even if there is no mention or inclusion does it really matter when all is said and done? Probably not. The two universes are able to co-exist separately while not alienating the other. Daredevil season one hits like a freight train, seemingly coming out of nowhere with its shock value in how bloody, brutal and violent it is. It’s how the character and universe should be portrayed; I cannot imagine a world where we see more humor in this universe when Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) is forcefully imposing his will on Manhattan one city block at a time. At least in season two he’s off the streets but he’s still a threat from his jail cell pulling the strings as the master puppeteer. 

Following the success of season one is a daunting task for any series let alone this and season two finds a way to capitalize on the momentum by adding heavy hitters in Frank Castle/The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung). With how season two plays out, one makes more sense of inclusion than the other in how their impact is made in the universe. Frank Castle and Jon Bernthal’s interpretation of this character fits into Daredevil like a glove. What a better way to introduce Frank than in the episode 1 opening scene. Even though we don’t see his face until the final moments his legend as an anti-hero is already established. Though he’s painted as a villain early on, those who know the character will instantly realize that Frank is a hero.

“Do you? You know it can be hard? You run around this city in a pair of little boy’s pajamas and a mask. You go home at night, right? Take that mask off, maybe you think…it wasn’t you who did those things, maybe it was somebody else. Well, see, soldiers… we don’t wear masks, yeah? We don’t get that privilege.”

Daredevil season two’s main theme deals with good vs evil. Its established well in season one and continues in season two. The best thing about these iterations of characters by show creator Drew Goddard is the subtle fact that each character toes the line (some diving all the way in) in both good and evil. Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) tiptoes between lawful and neutral with a bit of chaos mixed in but never fully losing himself in the process because of the moral code he puts in place for himself. The Juxtaposition between him and Frank makes these characters work so well together when arguing on their methods for handling criminals. It’s these scenes between Punisher and Daredevil that matter the most in validating their actions. Frank has his code – only killing those who truly deserve it and Matt vowing never to kill.

Are vigilantes absolutely necessary or are they a means to an end? Having these characters exist in a more realistic world gives the option to explore the realism and ultimately have it made sense.

Only two characters in the entire series is one archetype consisting of Lawful good: Foggy Nelson (Elden Hensen) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). These are the two purest characters who never go against their own moral ethics no matter how hard the world is pushing them to change their ways. Even Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) is willing to get her hands dirty.  

Daredevil Season 2 places its focus solely on character – the way they’re developed is possibly the most vital aspect to the shows success. Every character is explored in more detail and new layers are added to their characterization. There’s a progression that’s natural for the show to feel emotionally invested in but it’s with the titular character that the screws become a bit loose. Some of Matt’s actions just don’t make any sense. Exploring his and Karen’s relationship is straight from the comics, but the mood shifts when Elektra makes her appearance. The lawful good Matthew Murdock is established with in the beginning of season two shifts to chaos. It doesn’t feel natural to this iteration of Matt to pull a complete 180 on his personality. 

“Trust me, there’s nothing I’d rather do more than cooperate with your office. But a legal firm sharing privileged communications with a client, I mean, even a deceased one, without a court order? I’ve seen lawyers get disbarred for less. And I don’t know about you, but I worked really hard for my law degree. Nights and everything.”

The same can be argued about the Matthew and Elektra sub-plot. Introducing the Hand feels forced and uneven in the middle episodes. It further expands on the argument for having the season length at 13 episodes. The Punisher’s storyline is dense enough to be the sole focus for this second season yet the addition of a supernatural organization taking over from the shadows gets lost in the shuffle. The show loses its balance when the focus shifts from Frank to the Hand. Season one’s sole focus was on Wilson Fisk and it was a well-oiled machine. 

What works for Daredevil and Jessica Jones is the tone. These series are darker and gritter than any other comic book property. It’s hard to imagine a darker tone in a superhero property but so far, these two series have utilized it well to the point where it’s hard to imagine these shows not existing. It’s bloody enough to the point that the show borderlines on a horror film with how much blood Frank spills.

Daredevil season two gets a lot right. One aspect that stands out the most is the make-up design especially when it comes to Frank. Every single episode his face gets more bruised to the point where its unbelievable that its him underneath the black and blues. 

Casting Bernthal as the Punisher is too good to be true. He brings his style of a ferocious force of nature that the character is known for. Thomas Jane and Ray Stevenson give respectable performances as Frank Castle, but this role was made for Bernthal. He was born to play this character. Just as Hugh Jackman is Wolverine as Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man. 

Daredevil season two is a season of two halves. Everything embodying Frank, Kingpin and their stories works, everything involving Elektra and the Hand doesn’t. Matt is a noticeably different person when it comes to Elektra and Stick (Scott Glenn) which sets his character back from being likeable. Jon Bernthal is the clear standout in season two, he commands the screen as Punisher. Maybe it’s the sheer fact that Wilson Fisk is considered the greatest villain in any comic book property and his absence for ¾ of the season is felt to the point that season 2 feels incomplete.

Certain storylines aside – the action sequences and choreography are at an all-time high. The single shot technique is used again but in a different way that makes Daredevil a force to be reckoned with when it comes to how the character fights. There’s a method to the action sequences’ madness that is brilliantly done and shot and that includes the hand-to-hand combat between the Hand and Daredevil.

Daredevil season 2 premiered on March 18, 2016 and can be streamed on Netflix. Daredevil season 2 has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 81%. Daredevil was created for TV by Drew Goddard, was based on characters created by Stan Lee & Bill Everett and stars Charlie Cox, Elden Henson, Deborah Ann Woll, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rosario Dawson, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung, Royce Johnson & Clancy Brown.

So, tell me, have you seen Daredevil season 2 and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 3.75 out of 5. 

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