Daredevil Season 2 Episodes 5-13 Review


By William Shelton

Okay, the first thing I ant to clear up is that I was wrong about the first four episodes being their own arch. While they did clear up most of the “Daredevil vs Punisher” stuff that was promised in the trailers, the next 9 episodes did continue on as one continuous story. As a whole the show changes focus from episode 5 on, but I was expecting the first four episodes to be largely disconnected from the rest of the series, and that simply wasn’t the case.

Spoilers below.

Episode four ends with Daredevil saving a wounded Punisher from the Irish and Turing him over the police. As Matt Mudock returns home he is greeted by Elodie Yung as Elektra Natchios. We soon learn the two aren’t on the best of terms, so when Elektra asks him to represent her in a business meeting she is having the next day it’s no surprise that he says no. While Elektra leaves after this, she was clearly undeterred by his answer, as the next day a huge amount of money has interned the bank account of Nelson and Murdock. Matt knows instantly where it came from and goes to get answers. Using his super-hearing he spies on the meeting from the roof of a near by building.

Once the meeting is done Matt Makes his way to where Elektra is staying. Elektra reveals both that she is aware that Murdock is Daredevil, and that the two are about the be ambushed by Yakuza in retaliation for a stunt she pulled at the meeting. After the two of them fight the few goons sent their way Elektra explains to Matt the Yakuza are planing something, and her meeting was to uncover who they were working with. Matt agrees to help her so long as she agrees not too kill anyone.

Round the same time as all of this is happening, Matt and Foggy decide to represent Frank Castle, The Punisher, in an attempt to get the charges reduced on his sentence. But as Matt is spends time helping Elektra he begins to miss court, putting more pressure on Foggy as a lawyer and on the two men’s friendship. This doesn’t seem to matter much as no matter how well they do in court it seems like Frank is actively trying to sabotage his own case. This inevitably leads him to prison, where Wilson Fisk is waiting for him.

Upon learning that The Punisher would be making his way to the same prison, Fisk beings planing on ways to use this to his advantage. Even though the character is only in the show for a few episodes this season, actor Vincent D’Onofrio reminds everyone why he was the best part of the first season, and I can’t wait to see what they do with him in the seasons and spin offs to some (I’m hoping he’ll be the big bad for the Avengers like group series The Defenders). Once Fisk is done with Castle he tries to have him killed, but when that doesn’t work he uses his now considerable connections inside the prison to have Frank escape.

The information the Daredevil and Electra find leads them to the same place the now lose Punisher is heading, leading the two men to meet up at a dock where a massive heroine shipment has come in. Unfortunately for the two they didn’t find the person they were looking for, only a decoy.

The Punisher counties his search for the man behind his family’s death as Daredevil movies on, having to find his mentor Stick (the worst part of season one, and sadly the same here) who’s been kidnapped. Daredevil and Elektra find Stick, though they have apposing views on what to do with him as he and Elektra had something of a falling out a few episodes prier. We learn Electra’s back story which, from my understanding, is quite a bit different from the comics, as well as what the villain’s plans have been.

And in the end, it was a whole lot of build up to not much at all.

In fact the Elektra stuff turns out to be the worst part of the show. Elodie Yung does just fine in the role, but it’s the role she was give that’s the issue. I’m okay with the MCU making changes to the comics well established cannon if it helps create more interesting characters, but they literally strip Elektra of any character she might have had. Everything that could have made her interesting was set up either by Stick or by her “destiny” (which is probably the trope I hate the most) and the character herself has no real agency in her own story. And with how much time they spend on her story it really drags the season down. And the sad thing is that this had all the ingredient to make a fantastic bit television. Matt Murdock constantly ruining his own life at chances at real, mature happiness by his own religious need for self destructive pence manifesting itself in his attraction to a woman he knows he shouldn’t be with but can’t help himself while around her….that’s good shit in my opinion. I hope Yung returns in a later season, but I really hope the writers figure out something better for her too do.

In the end, season two was all together better than season one was, but now that we have Jessica Jones to compare both seasons two it’s hard not to see Daredevil as the “Thor” of the netflix based MUC project: serviceable but ultimately the lest necessary of Marvels projects. Daredevil is still worth a watch, and it’s given us one of, if not the best incarnations of The Punisher (who I hope gets his own Netflix show at some point), but it’s the one project they’ve done that I wouldn’t exactly miss if it were scraped all together. I can see a lot more being done with the show and its characters, and I hope the show reaches that point, but this season just didn’t quite reach those possible heights.

Overall I’d give this season

3.5/5

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Daredevil Season 2 Episodes 1-4 Review


By William Shelton

Marvel Daredevil was pretty much everything I wanted it too be when I heard the the Netflix branch of the MCU was aiming to be a darker and more mature. The fight scenes were brutal and more striped back than the more family oriented film, Matt Murdock’s internal conflicts were much deeper than anything the A-listers had to deal with and the show had my favorite villain the MCU has produced by far. Unfortunately for out man without fear, the next marvel based Netflix show was Jessica Jones, which blew it out of the water in almost every way. So now the question is: will Daredevil’s second season be able to recapture the magic the first season had before it was outdone?
Short answer: no, but like season one it’s still pretty great.
The season opens strong, with Daredevil taking down a group of baddies without ever showing us Daredevil himself. This leads to what would have been a nice reveal of his costume if we hadn’t already seen it at the end of season 1, but it’s still a well paces opener. We are soon introduced to The Punisher in a similar fashion as he guns down a group of Irish moddsters with near surgical precision without ever being shown. He’s so proficient at killing that at first Matt Murdock and company believe they are up ageist an entire squad of trained killers. As good a killer as he is, even the punisher misses sometimes and one of the Irish managed to make it out alive.
By either coincidence or plot convenience Grotto (the Irishman from punisher assault) makes his way to Nelson and Murdock seeking to trade information for witness protection. While meeting with our “avocados at law” Grotto passes out from a gunshot he took and is taken to the hospital. Karen even stays behind and tries to pass herself off as his wife inorder to hind him from the punisher, who they’ve been assured will come looking.
This doesn’t work. The Punisher shows and….pisses me off.
Okay, taking a small break from the plot synopsis and getting to the political side of this. I’ve always liked the Punisher, but he’s a character that you really have to now how to write. Especially in the age of mass shootings. Who ever wrote this episode is not one of those writers. While I’m okay with the punisher shooting a bad guy in the hospital (that makes scenes with his character), when he does it here he goes I with a shotgun. The Punisher starts shooting in a crowded hospital, full of innocent people with a gun made to spread out it’s shoot range to hit targets in a wider area. This is not how the Punisher should be handled. Latter on he even cocks a gun at an unarmed elderly man. While some lip servant is paid to this all being an act and that he made sure innocent people wouldn’t have gotten hurt nothing he does here backs that claim up. While the dialogue is well written through out the season thus far and Jon Bernthal kills it in the role, this isn’t how the character should be handled….if he’s meant to be a hero. And that’s where this becomes an interesting talking point. Bernthal said he wants his role to get people talking about gun violence in America, and I can see that happen. Personally while I’m all for that pushing that conversation, I wish that did have to come at the expense of the character. For example, in the hospital scene, why give the punisher a shotgun? Why not a pistol or rifle or something more accurate? That at least would have at lest given some credence to the idea that he at lest made some effort not to kill those who didn’t deserve it, while still starting that political conversation.
Getting back on track, the first four episodes are dedicated to the fight between the Daredevil and the Punisher’s fight (which is why I’m not doing my normal 6 episode review) and it makes a pretty good mini arch. However, what made both Daredevil and Jessica Jones so great is that they were both one extended story, so having this not be the case here almost makes this season feel like a lesser entity than either of those. Not helping matters is the fact that Vincent D’Onofrio isn’t returning as Wilson Fisk, who was with out a doubt the best thing season one had going.
With all that said it’s easy to think I’m not fond of this season, but that’s not the case. It has it’s issues to be sure, but i’ve still had a blast watching it. Charlie Cox and Jon Bernthal both sell the hell out of their roles as two men on similar yet vastly different paths in life, and each scene they share is something too look forwards too, whether they’re fighting to talking. However, it’s Elden Henson as Foggy that really makes the show for me. Not only is the character funny as hell, but Foggy’s take no shit approach to lawyering and dedication to protecting the his clients makes you wish more law professionals were like him. While he may not be “the badass” of the show, he’s the guy I personally want to be like: honest, smart as hell and loyal to a fault.
The fight scenes are also better this time around, with one tracking shot fight down a stairwell being the highlight of this arch for me personally. However, I wish they’d try a little harder not to go back to under lit hallways. Last season’s “Oldboy” inspired fight was a season highlight, I’m glad we all agree, but the constant call backs to it feel unnecessary. I mean, I know there’s only so much you can do with a locations as confined as this, but fights this good shouldn’t be healed back by repetitive environments.
As of right now I’m not sure any of this will matter in the long run. Will any of this play a part in the seasons over all plot? That remains to be scene, but so far it’s been a hell of a ride none the less. I’m still of the opinion that Jessica Jones is the better show, but this is miles above what they did with season one, and I can’t wait too see what comes next.

Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2 and Impressions


I have two complaints with this trailer: 1) i wished they had cut just after Cap’s shield gets taken away an the end and left the Spiderman reveal for the movie itself and 2) i think they gave just a little too much away. I’m pretty sure nothing here is “shocking” for the fans that have been keeping up to date with the MCU, but even then this trailer comes off as a plot-line highlight reel. I’m sure the film will still be worth the price of addition, but i almost wish i could go in knowing less.

Daredevil Season 2 Trailer and Impressions


There has been three Punisher movies made so far (1989, 2004 and 2008) and i love each one (although 2008’s War Zone is the only one i’d call a good movie). So i think it’s safe to say i rather like the character, and it would be safe to presume i’m glad to see him make his way into the MCU, right? You’d be correct. And while i do thing Jessica Jones will end up being the better remember of Marvels Netflix shows, i really enjoyed Daredevil and am looking forward to seeing the characters return. I do wish they had held off on making this until Luke Cage and Iron Fist had their shows come out, and i’m a little worried this may be Netflix’s “Iron Man 2” (the rushed sequel only made when a character no one was expecting to get popular became an over night sensation), but other than that i say bring it on! Plus i think my spring break starts around the time the show starts, so whoo hoo, i’ll get to binge the whole thing in one sitting….i mean watch at a reasonable pace over afew days…..yeah…..that’s what i’m going to do…..totally

Deadpool Review


By William Shelton

Director: Tim Miller
Screenplay By: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Run Time: 108 minuets
Rating: R
Score: 3.5/5

There is a lot to like about Deadpool: it’s funny, action packed and a rather nice change of pace from the more family oriented superhero films we’ve been getting the last few years. The biggest issue is that most of what there is too like has been in the trailers. Most of the best jokes and action stunts were featured in at lest one of the trailers, which made watching the actual film not as entertaining as it could have or should have been. It also doesn’t help that the movie just isn’t as funny as I was expecting. Yeah, I said it.
There were chuckles throughout the film, don’t get me wrong, but the films best joke comes right at the beginning with the opening title crawl, and nothing afterwards hits that same high mark. This could be due to overexposure from watching the trailers as much as I did, but even then it’s hard to excuse the movie as the film makers should have known better. Even Deadpool’s trade mark 4th-wall breaking was done in such a traditional manner that I have to ask how uninspired the creative team had to have been to not do more with it. Sure, lines about Fox’s X-men time line being a mess and a jab about the low budget of the film were funny enough, but more could have been done. A lot more.
At it’s core Deadpool is really only two extended action scenes with bits of back story to break up the action and to make sure Deadpool’s comedy shtick doesn’t begin to grate, and I found this format to be rather effective. At the heart of the whole thing is a rather touching love story. While the film tries to toe the “Guardians of the Galaxy” line where they undermine any scene that comes close to “sweet” or “sentimental”, I found the chemistry between Reynolds and Baccarin’s to be so good that this sincerity undermined the films attempt at undermining itself. It’s even pretty progressive in the area as (mild spoiler warning) Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa enters the film as a sex worker. It could have been easy for the film to make jokes about the relationship between her and Wade (the tired kind that assumes that strippers and prostitutes don’t feel any kind of real emotions ever), the film never goes there. It does make 3 or 4 rape jokes that I could have done without tho.
While the central romance is all well and good, it’s the action that keeps this movie firmly in the realm of entertaining to me. Again most of the big stunts were shown in the trailers but unlike with the jokes, what wasn’t already shown was just as good. Even just a few little things that got cut from scenes in the trailer made those bits better than I was expecting.
Everyone in the cast does a great job with Reynolds obviously being the best thing in the movie. As far as I’m concerned this more that makes up for “X-Men Origins” and “Green Lantern” (both of which the film lampoons). However, special mention must be given too Brianna Hildebrand as “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”. Not only does she do a phenomenal job in the role, but having the character there in the first place was a pretty bold move. Her entire presents is just about having a teen age character (what I’m sure will end up being the core audiences of the film) who “gets” Deadpool and just does not give a shit about him. Her entire job is to lampoon the film itself when it starts getting too pleased with itself. My favorite example of this is when Deadpool refers to her as “Ripley from Aliens 3” and her respond is simply “f**k you’re old”. Her presence forces Deadpool, both as a character and as a movie, to up his game and not rely on overly worn call-backs and pop-culture references. While I still stand by what I said about the movie just not being as funny as I wanted it to be, I can only imagine how much worse it would have been had the creative team not thought in advance to have this character.
I can’t lie, I wanted more out of Deadpool than what I got, but I still enjoyed myself. I don’t think anyone other than the underage kids sneaking into the theater will think of this as a classic superhero movie in time, but it’s well worth seeing. It’s an enjoyable film, just not a great one. And for a movie coming out in February, i’ll take “just enjoyable” over what we normally get this time of year.

Jessica Jones Trailer and Impressions


Even thought i believe in adding more diversity in media i am one of the few Marvel fans who really just did not care to see a Black Widow movie. I love the character and i love Scarlett Johansson in the role, but i’ve been wanting their first female lead superhero movie to be a more interesting an unique character. And this is exactly why. While it does kind of suck that this has been relegated to the small screen, its kind of hard to care when the show looks this damn good.

While i’ve always held that the general posativity of Marvels movies has been one of their biggest strengths, i really did enjoy the darker tone of Daredevil, if for no other reason than it was a change of pace. But more importantly, then went dark the right way, by not backing down from the subject matter but still having a clear division between hero and villain. Jessica Jones really seems to be running with that idea and i’m loving the look of it so far. Tennant‘s “Kilgrave” is looking to be an awesome villain (even if his name is really stupid. not as bad as “Blackheart” though) and Krysten Ritter’s take on Jessica really works for me.

This is, by far, what i’m most excited for TV/Movie wise for the rest of this year.

Deadpool Red Band Trailer and Impressions


Ryan Reynolds has been trying and failing (miserably) to be in a good superhero movie for a while now. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Green Lantern, R.I.P.D., all awful movies the would would have been better off without. However, it seems like Reynolds may have just caught his break.

To be fair, i had little issues with Reynolds last turn as Deadpool. That unholy abomination i blame the screenwriter and director for. But now that the character is in the hands of someone who at lest knows how to pretend they’re interesting in making a good movie, i think Reynolds maybe able to actually show us what he can do with the role. And so far, i’ve liked what i’ve been seeing. I liked this trailer, i liked the test footage, i’ve liked everything so far.

I can’t lie, i’m excited for this one. But things could still go wrong. I’m not blind to that fact. This is director Tim Miller’s first big job, and having a new director brings it’s own challanges, but the screenplay team were they guys that wrote Zombieland, so unless Miller is just incompetent, i think things’ll be fine.

And, Reynolds, this is your chance to prove you’re not a screw up. Don’t let us down.

Fantastic Four Trailer #2 and Impressions


My Thoughts:

This is the trailer Fox should have lead with. While there is still a lot about the trailer i don’t like (mostly the muted colors) i do have to say that this trailer sold me a hell of a lot better than the one that came out before. unlike the last trailer there are jokers here, there is a scene of comradery among the main cast that i like seeing in a team movie, but more importantly it made the movie seem less lifeless than before. I’m not going to lie, i’m still not sold 100% yet, but this is a vast improvement, and if we see more footage like this i may be convinced to go see the movie.

Daredevil Review Part Two


Going the “Dark and Gritty” rout for superheros is one that I feel rarely pays off. Too often these stories are just juvenile, steeped in a mentally 13-year-olds nihilistic/pessimistic attitude that is always out of place when coupled with stories of people trying to save the world. Because if this, I was a little worried going into “Daredevil”, knowing that is was Marvel Studio’s first attempt at “dark”, and that it would have a “TV-MA” rating. So, if you are like me and are hesitant to try the show, let me just say this now: Daredevil is freaking terrific. This is how you do dark.
The question is, what makes Daredevil different? What does Daredevil do that other, lesser competitors in the “dark and gritty” arena fail at? Easy. Daredevil is a hero. For juxtapositions sake, lets compare this show too the biggest creative failure in the “dark and gritty” realm, “Man of Steel”. The first thing we see in “Daredevil” is a young Matt Murdock saving some old man from getting hit by a truck, losings his eyesight in the process. In “Man of Steel” we watch as Clark Kent saves a group of kids trapped in a sinking buss, only for him to be scolded by his father. While this does set up an interesting dilemma for Clark, the fact is, when it comes time for him to suit up and be a hero we are given no real context as to why he would choose to do so. The first thing we learn about Matt is his thought process of “people matter an I want too help them”, where as Clarks is more “people matter and I want to help them but, gee, maybe I shouldn’t” and we never get a clear sense of when that changes. It also helps establish that Daredevil is a hero as we are constantly watching him help and save people. The highlight of the entire show comes in the 2nd or 3rd episode when a bloody an beaten Daredevil enters a five minuet fight scene against Russian mobsters in order to save a young boy. Throughout the episode we are constantly shown how bad Daredevil is, how he can hardly stand and so on, yet in the end, he’s the hero and he has a job to do. Now compare that to the fight against Superman and Zod, when the two are seem to be in competition to see how many buildings they can each destroy.
Another thing that helps is how the show gets dark. While there is a part were Matt has to question whether or not he wants to kill the Kingpin, that’s not the main focus of the “darkness”. While the easy way to darken up a superhero is to make their actions more questionable, make you winder if the character is in fact a “hero” or just a vigilante. Daredevil goes a different (and in my opinion, better) rout. The darkness comes from not shying away from the brutality of the villains. In an early episode we watch a man brutally take his own life out of fear after giving up the name of the Kingpin, and a little latter we understand where that fear came from. In the end, I think this is why I like the show so much. We are given a hero that stays a hero, and we are also given a villain that demands the attention of that hero.
I talked about performances in my mini-review (witch, ironically, may end up being longer than this one), and for the most part not much changed. However, I do think that the actor playing Foggy didn’t handle the character’s change from “happy-go-lucky” friend to “bitter-and-angry-asshole” near the middle of the season, but the change is short lived, so I can’t complain too much. Other than that, the only time when the show falls flat for me is episode 7, “Stick”. While a lot of the show takes inspiration from Mark Millars run on the comics, this is the one episode that feels like a Mark Millar creation, a he specializes in the kind of dark storytelling I don’t like. At lest it wasn’t Frank Miller they took inspiration from…
In the end, this was a great show and a great step outside Marvels comfort zone. If the rest of the Marvel/Netflix shows can maintain this level of quality, then the climatic “The Defenders” team-up series may be a true equal to “The Avengers” films.