Daredevil first aired on Netflix back in 2015 with a stellar first season that set a tone for Marvel and Netflix’s future endeavors the likes of which we’ve never seen. Now, season two is out, and it came out swinging. This time around, Daredevil held nothing back in terms of content, tone, and the characters, and we’re here to touch on all of that in this review.
[FULL Spoilers Ahead, read at your own risk]
Better at not Soley Being a “Superhero” Show
While obviously this show is based on characters derived straight from the pages of your favorite comic books, that doesn’t mean that their live-action adaptations have to resemble EVERY aspect of comic book-esque happenings. No, this season focused on pretty much the whole cast. One of the most preeminent parts was when we got to actually see Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock be lawyers in an ACTUAL courtroom. Imagine that. The courtroom action was similar to that of your favorite criminal investigation show, and was very much needed to help the show keep it’s “grounded” side of the show’s spectrum. They also did a good job blending in everyone’s personal lives this season. Rather than focusing solely on Matt’s coming-of-age story like season one did (which we’re not saying was bad at all), we got to see what was going on in the lives of Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Frank Castle, Elektra Natchios, and even Claire Temple. Everyone had a place in this season, and not one person’s story was intolerable. Whether we were watching Karen slowly finding out the truth of Frank’s past while also finding her calling as a writer, or watching Elektra find out her destiny was for her to be an ultimate weapon used by a secret organization named The Hand (which ended up happening, unwillingly though), it was all captivating to view, and it all felt integral to the whole story that was told this time around.
No “Big Bad” this Time Around
Usually a show like this would present a villain that, while usually operating from the shadows at the start, would still be prevalent and have a looming presence throughout the whole season, and towards the final act, rear their ugly head from wherever they were operating from, and have a final boss battle with our main hero. Season one actually followed this routine, with Wilson Fisk and Daredevil actually showing down in the end. However, this season took a detour from the typical route. Instead of a main villain, we had two anti heroes who were slowly gnawing away at our hero’s moral compass, and replacing his ideologies with their own, causing him to question his methods of justice. Daredevil is against killing, but Elektra and The Punisher had no problem with dropping a body here and there – Elektra did it because she had a darkness inside her (a literal darkness) she couldn’t control, Castle did it because he thought the only way to stop criminals was to PERMANENTLY stop them. This course of action actually didn’t hurt the show, it actually worked in it’s favor. Of course by the end of the season, like literally the last few episodes, we get to see Nobu, a ninja who actually met his fiery demise in season one, who serves as the leader of The Hand and the “final boss” that Daredevil and Elektra face off against.
Bringing the Action
They stepped it up this season with the action. We got another apartment hallway fight, except this time that hallway fight turned into an apartment stairway fight that turned into an apartment lobby fight. The fight scene choreographer did a terrific job constructing intricate scenes that showcased Daredevil’s abilities at their best. And not just his, The Punisher’s and Elektra’s as well. While on the topic of The Punisher’s fight scenes, Marvel gave us possibly one of it’s best fight ever in episode nine, titled “Seven Minutes In Heaven.” This scene was so good for two reasons. One, it raised the bar on the already highly praised fight scenes from season one, and two, this scene was taken straight out of comic book (source: The Punisher: Border Crossing 10 & 11) , frame-by-frame, blow-by-blow. If that’s not staying true to the source material, im not sure what is. This is by far the most brutal, bloody, no-holds-barred scene in the show so far, and also in Marvel Cinematic Universe so far. Sadly, while having such a few stupendous scenes, some battles – particularly the ones that involve both Daredevil and Elektra – were the most monotonous, and lackluster moments of the show. The last scene where they take on the ninja of The Hand and their Leader Nobu was a bit underwhelming and leaves more to be desired.
Unlike the film versions, we got to witness a more raw, relatable, recognizable Frank Castle, One that we know from the pages of comic books. For casual viewers who went into season 2 not knowing much about The Punisher, it was probably an exhilarating and unexpected first time experience. And for longtime fans who know alot about The Punisher’s mythos, seeing him brought back in a live-action adaptation for the first time since 2008’s Punisher: War Zone was probably exciting. On another note, we’ve still been unable to receive an accurate representation of Elektra in live-action ventures. This version may a be a bit different than the one hardcore fans are used to seeing (although still better than the 2005 version played by Jennifer Garner). Besides being a love intrest to Matt Mudrock / Daredevil, there isn’t much relatable about her. Even Frank Miller himself – the man who created her character and considers himself her “father” – said he’d never watch the show because this isn’t the Elektra he birth. This will be the only version many fans will know sadly.
Foggy Nelson once again provided the show with lighthearted commentary that was needed to ease the dark tone here and there. Karen Page played her role through and through, and it was nice seeing that her character had developed a bit more since season one, so we’d get less transparency from her.
The interactions with District Attorney Reyes were always fun to watch, seeing as how there was always a constant verbal battle between her and both Foggy and Matt. She served as a constant obstacle in their way, until she ultimately met her demise right in front of them.
To touch on a few less-than-positive comments about this season that we haven’t already touched on in the previous sections, we have to bring up some small issues. Before season two made it to Netflix, they promoted the season in a way that made it seem as if Daredevil’s greatest enemy would be The Punisher. While at the beginning they did exchange fisticuffs a few times, there wasn’t enough interaction between these too. There was a lot more Daredevil/Elektra action, which wasn’t as captivating to watch as when Daredevil and Frank Castle crossed paths. Although The Punisher did appear at the last minute to assist Daredevil in his finale battle with Nobu and the ninjas of Hand, there was more to be desired, and it felt as though his chatacter wasn’t used to his full potential.
The Finale wasn’t as attention grasping as it should’ve been, and definitely not as much as season one’s finale. The build-up was dragged out, and besides a few standout moments when the episode reached it’s climax (i.e. when Elektra met her demise), we barely got to see The Punisher besides him snipping enemies from afar. It kind of left us hanging.
Daredevil season 2 reintroduces us to the reasons we were so hooked on the events that took place in season one. There were new characters with relatable past and also some emotional moments. They also featured some scenes that could be seen as disturbing and gruesome, more so than the first season. There was an unprecedented amount of bloodshed, but with a new season it’s expected that the stakes will be raised in one way or another. A small moment was shared with Foggy and Jessica Jones’ Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) further extending the whole “shared universe” plans. Marvel’s Netflix series are a world apart from their TV shows in terms of sheer violence and gore, and tone, and this season of Daredevil just added more truth to that statement. There are small issues to fix here and there, but it’s nothing major. The season wasn’t bad at all. While the future of Matt Murdock’s relationships and his law firm, Nelson and Murdock may be shaky and uncertain, we can guarantee that Daredevil still has a pretty solid future ahead of it on Netflix, and also in Hell’s Kitchen.
Daredevil: Season 2 receives an 8.8 out of 10 from Superhero Task Force.
Daredevil season 2 is available for streaming on Netflix now.