Yeah, I know, this is like a year too late but the benefit of Netflix is you can catch up any time you want. I also have an aversion to doing reviews of really good popular programming because, honestly, what's the point? I mean, basically everyone knows Daredevil was some of the best programming Netflix did and it's not like I was going to bring in a whole new audience.
This is sad, too, because I love Daredevil. I also love Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist which means that I'm in a somewhat Golden Age of Television where the characters I never thought would be on TV suddenly are. I mean, seriously, Colleen Wing is now a major character known by millions. At this point, I fully believe Shang-Chi the Master of Kung Fu could show up and it's a real possibility!
|Cox does an amazing job bringing together Matt Murdock as a 3 dimensional character.|
The premise of the season can basically be summarized as coming in two parts: 1. The conflict between Daredevil and the Punisher. 2. Daredevil's conflict with the Hand and his ex-girlfriend Elektra. One story deals with issues of justice, vigilantism, redemption, vengeance as well as the fallout from traumatic events. The other deals with ninjas. The thing is, the latter is fully able to coast on the former but gets saddled with the problem of also the TV trope "Romantic Plot Tumor."
|Bernthal does an amazing job making Castle a likable, engaging, and dynamic character.|
Sometimes these kind of relationship melodramas work extremely well. Sam Raimi's Spiderman movies work best when Mary Jane and Peter are people we root for. They also work the worst when the author shoves stupid drama into their lives like her being upset over getting fired from her theater job to the point she ignores her boyfriend has people shoot at him every day. What does this have to do with Daredevil? Well, in a very real way, they screwed up much of this season by forgetting Elektra is the world's greatest assassin on a mission of vengeance and making her Matt's obnoxious rich ex.
|One of the best scenes in the show is the three of them attending a funeral for a client.|
Unfortunately, one writer seems to have had a terrible break up because the story follows Elektra being played as a whiny spoiled brat who is annoyed Matt doesn't want to go clubbing with her. Except, replace clubbing with murdering ninjas. It is like no version of Elektra I've ever seen and drags down every scene with her in it. Elodie Young is perfectly capable as an actress but if the story ever had to be, "Should Matt be with the dark haired exciting rich girl or blonde boring nice girl?" then someone is doing it wrong because that's Archie not Daredevil. It's kind of fascinating that Jennifer Garner (a woman better suited to play Karen Page does not exist) did a better job with better material.
|Elodie Young has a lot of talent. Just not with the character.|
John Bernthal, previously most famous for playing meathead Shane on The Walking Dead, pretty much establishes himself as one of the most charismatic actors in the Netflx MCU. He's easily the best incarnation of Frank Castle we've seen and manages to elevate the character beyond many of the comic incarnations. Bernthal's Punisher is probably the first who might genuinely dislike killing criminals and not derive that much satisfaction from his actions. Killing wears on this version of Frank Castle but he feels compelled to do it because life just sucks that much in Hell's Kitchen. It's a less superhuman interpretation of the character and one who actually manages to remain sympathetic while still embodying a lot of stereotypes of the Mach Bolan era which spawned him.
|Another picture of Deborah Ann Woll because why not?|
Charlie Cox, himself, is a bit uneven in the season and his performance largely depends on who he is playing off of. With Bernthal or Woll, he's extremely good, but there's other characters where he comes across as wishy-washy or immature. I won't name names but I think this review implied who I think qualifies. Basically, I enjoyed watching Daredevil try and fail to balance his two lives while thinking they could have focused a bit more on Castle's trial. The show acts like Matt's life as a lawyer is immaterial to him and I think it would have been better to strike more of a balance.
|The Hand are the best. NINJAS! NINJAS! NINJAS!|
In conclusion, Season 2 is an excellent follow up to the original and makes me excited for Season 3 which seems like it will be an adaptation of Born Again. I felt they botched the handling of Elektra and the Hand in general but I was always going to be a difficult to please. It is gritty, intelligently written television with spectacular fight scenes. Despite this, I will say the Punisher section of the season is easily the best and works as a great introduction for the character into the MCU.