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television -> Daredevil second season review

Daredevil second season review

Marvel’s most violent endeavor

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The film/ television rights to the Marvel Comics property “Daredevil” went through all sorts of legal nonsense and development hell since the 2003 Ben Affleck-led film tanked at the box office up until 2014, when the rights reverted back to Marvel Studios and they quickly began developing a television drama with Netflix Instant Streaming. While the 2003 film never heard the end of criticism, the 2015 inaugural season featuring the man without fear saw praise and acclaim for its gritty, violent realism and dark, edgy themes despite taking a setting in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe that also boasts more kid-friendly heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, and now Spider-Man.  Continuing its second season on the giant streaming service, “Daredevil” maintains each rhythm that made the first one lauded and aims to expand on its established study of human vigilantism in a world with super-powered beings. The introduction and inclusion of other well-liked comic book characters The Punisher and Elektra create a new, more challenging atmosphere for Daredevil to operate as season two heightens the stakes of season one in every way—even topping that brutal hallway fight sequence.

After taking on Wilson Fisk and gang in the first season, Daredevil/ Matt Murdock can sense light at the end of the figurative tunnel as it merely seems like he all-but-eradicated organized crime in Hell’s Kitchen when we catch up with him this year. Charlie Cox (The Theory of Everything, Stardust) continues to crush the role of Murdock/ Daredevil as his nighttime (or is that nightmare?) escapades across the rooftops of Hell’s Kitchen put him at increasing odds with those he holds dear. Matt finally sees the fruits of his labor in the new season, but they’re not necessarily a good thing. Like Matt, another vigilante has risen in Hell’s Kitchen over recent weeks to exact bloody, graphic violence on crime. Unlike Matt, the new presence fighting bad guys views the world in terms of absolute black and white without a measure of grey to spare—often executing/ murdering criminals with firearms.  They call him “The Punisher” and he’s just as fearless as Daredevil.

Bernthal

Jon Bernthal (“The Walking Dead,” Fury) steals every scene as the newest thorn in Daredevil’s side, The Punisher/ Frank Castle. Castle fights crime without flinching or second-guessing himself and never weighing the consequences of any given target’s crimes before pulling a trigger. This character obviously wants vengeance, but nobody knows why as he works alone. Something painful and dark happened to him and he carries it around all the time, even uttering the first F-word heard in the MCU. A pivotal scene takes place early on in the second season where the titular hero asks the bloodthirsty marksman to stop his reign of vengeance. The Punisher points out that Daredevil, too, wouldn’t finish something he started and so begins the clash of two unstoppable forces across multiple episodes. They fight on the same side, but to different ends and with opposing means.

Matt’s team from the first season return, as well. Deborah Ann Woll (“True Blood,” Forever) still plays Karen Page, but with an amplified role in the second season. No longer sticking to solely paralegal work at Nelson & Murdock, Karen gets into journalism during the second season in order to help her employers prepare for a case involving Frank Castle. Her relationship with Matt also intensifies as the season progresses, but will she ever find out his secret? Elden Henson’s (Jobs, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 2) Foggy Nelson already knows his friend and practice partner’s secret, but still has a hard time reconciling the fact when the second season commences. Can he live with Matt’s secret or will Nelson & Murdock disband?  Woll and Henson perform expertly in the second season of “Daredevil” as these two keep momentum going without throwing a punch or offering a roundhouse kick because the sheer suspense surrounding their case provide a perfect balance to the show’s well-established brutal action sequences.

Cox, Woll

The Punisher isn’t the only new and murderous vigilante to show up on the scene, and Matt’s associates aren’t the only returning good guys in season two. Daredevil’s longtime comic book foil Elektra Natchios makes her first television appearance in the form of Elodie Yung (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Gods of Egypt). Yung plays Elektra with equal parts passion and ennui. Elektra typically needs excitement in her life and tends to get bored easily without any sort of stimulation (usually violence). Like with the Punisher, Daredevil/ Matt has a difficult time dissuading her from killing adversaries, but at least she isn’t waging a sniper’s war on the mob—she seeks thrills. When Elektra pops up, so, too, does Stick. Scott Glenn (Training Day, The Paperboy) reprises the role of Stick for four more episodes in the newest season of “Daredevil” with his modern, unique sense of wisdom and mysticism to guide his two former disciples, Daredevil and Elektra, for their most arduous task yet—taking down an ancient society of ninjas and assassins called “The Hand” who seek to begin the path to world domination in Hell’s Kitchen.

In its second season, “Daredevil” rises above the super hero label into the tier of acclaimed crime-drama. Between the Punisher and the Hand, Marvel’s man without fear has his work cut out for him in 2016. Surprisingly, season one of “Jessica Jones” scarcely ties in to the blind hero’s second go-around,but they cross over in other ways outside of story arcs. Marvel Studios still experiences success at both the film and television mediums (not to mention decades at the printed page), so don’t expect Netflix to even think about giving up on “The Defenders” yet as a second season of “Jessica Jones” is to be expected as well as first seasons of “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist.”  Compelling action and addicting suspense keep “Daredevil” in the running as one of Netflix’s premium series. Look for a confirmation on a third season in the coming days.

 

 

Keywords: daredevil, review, netflix, the punisher, elektra, 2016, stick, marvel
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