By: Mike “The Birdman”Dodd
This spoiler-free Daredevil season 2 review is based on the first seven episodes
The Marvel cinematic universe has grown a lot since it’s inception with Ironman back in 2008 and the introduction of the Netflix shows to its library. Marvel’s Daredevil came out onto the streaming service in 2015 and showed off what could be accomplished when creative was allowed more freedom and didn’t have to worry about holding anything back and this new season certainly doesn’t hold ANYTHNG back at all.
When we last saw Matt Murdock and his friends they had just put away Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin behind bars and their law practice was finally beginning to take off. It has been at least several months since Fisk’s arrest and sometime after the events of the other Netflix series “Jessica Jones” and something and violent has taken residence in Hell’s kitchen.
One of the things that has set “Daredevil” apart from other MCU offerings is the level of violence because he is considered a street level hero and this season really lets that show through. Fight choreography and gunplay is more engaging then it was in season one, because it has its roots in reality rather then the flash of “The Avengers” or even “Agents of SHIELD”.
Daredevil was a martial artist, and in the second season you can see how his fighting style and confidence has grown and it is something to behold especially as he uses his billy club to amazing new heights. The gun violence does get quite intense and more then once there was “WTF!” moment in just how intense it got, but it is a season with “The Punisher” and as such it is to be expected.
The power vacuum left behind in Hell’s kitchen means that gangs are fighting for control and that violence has begun to escalate. A new player arrives in town that is dispensing lethal justice one bullet at a time, and the body bags are getting filled rapidly and with military precision. A vigilante nicknamed “The Punisher” has New York scared, but also divided on whether his method of justice is better simply locking the criminals up or eliminating the problems permanently.
One of the big themes in the season is examining the consequences of past choices and how they affect those around us. Friendships and relationships change, in some good ways and in some negative ways for all the characters who made it through season one.
Season two does give a good bit of character growth to everyone and it’s great to see how Matt and Foggy’s relationship has changed given how much Foggy now knows and how they handle that as friends and co workers. One of the best things about the show is Karen Page and how much she is given to do and is very much involved in pushing things forward.
Characters introduced such as Frank Castle aka “The Punisher” are a great showcase of showing layers to a performance and nuance to a character’s depth. We see a man who is on a mission for a very personal reason but we also see how he could have been a different man had things gone differently. Actor Jon Bernthal has an intensity that channels the comic book character in a very real way and we see a man possessed by purpose and it’s a joy to watch. Bernthal and Charlie Cox share a very memorable scene together early on and it’s a great bit of not just character development but showcasing what super hero television can rise to when given the chance.
Bernthal delivers something different Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk but share something in that, it is a character you can empathize with and even see yourself asking “Would I do the same thing?” or “Is this way really better?” and that’s something that the Marvel Netflix have and that’s really deep roster of smaller time actors delivering great performances these comic book characters.
One performer who has really rose to his role and gone to the next level in terms of character but also on screen chemistry is Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson. You really see the vulnerability of a guy put into fantastic circumstances and well over his head but he never gives up. Henson really makes Foggy his own and every scene he’s in is engaging and never feels wasted with him on screen. Henson does some of his best work with actress Deborah Ann Wolf as Karen Page. Wolf’s portrayal as Karen Page has also gone up a notch and she really delivers some great moments and you can see how she has grown from victim to active participant and how much character Ben Urich changed her demeanor from the first season.
Another important character that is essential to the Daredevil mythos is Elektra. Elektra is portrayed by Elodie Yung and she brings a great presence to the screen with a sexy confidence that hides her true ability and skills as the season carries forward.
Her and Cox have a chemistry that really shows off a history between the two of them and that adds a layer to it that should please fans and comic book fans alike. It will be exciting to see how this relationship evolves given how it unfolds in the comic books of years past. Yung has a danger and a charm to her that is something that was lacking in the original Ben Affleck movie with Jennifer Garner. This is the Elektra that is uniquely Marvel cinematic universe and it’ll be really fun and exciting to see how her history plays out with the rest of the characters
It seems that this season is building to something which could very well have an impact on a street level for Captain America: Civil War and even onto Agents of SHIELD in the future. As the saying goes in the MCU, “It’s all connected” and you can get some references to other shows and events that have happened previously without being all up in your face winking and it is subtle enough that it works. Daredevil season two ups the ante in terms of what is at stake for everyone that is Hell’s kitchen itself but also morality as well as it questions the methods of how justice is delivered.
Is Daredevil right to be the blind hand of justice who relies on the system to prosecute criminals or is the Punisher right to deliver justice as a judge, jury and executioner?
You can answer that question for yourself when season two drops in it’s entirety on March 18 on Netflix.
Listen to the entire episode below and on iTunes