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.