Daredevil (Season 2)

I just finished watching the last episode of season 2 of “Daredevil”, available on Netflix — and, by the way, this series (like Jessica Jones) is not for kids. There’s a lot of graphic violence that you probably do not want young kids to watch.

I’m a fan of comic book movies and TV.  And I really have enjoyed what Netflix has been doing so far with its corner of the Marvel universe.  Season 1 of “Daredevil” showed that even with a low budget, that you can tell interesting stories and create compelling characters within a comic book universe.  Anyway, I’m going to try to review season 2 now, without giving away too many spoilers.  But I don’t think its possible to be COMPLETELY spoiler free, so I’m going to tell you my conclusion right now — Season 2 is at least as good as Season 1 was, and that’s a very good thing.  It wasn’t perfect, but I loved season 1.  It was far different than anything else done for television, an experiment that happened to work out incredibly well.  So if you haven’t watched “Daredevil” (at least season 1) yet, and don’t want to risk spoilers, I would now do so before continuing, and then come back and read the rest of this review later.  I still will try to keep spoilers to a minimum.  But there will be spoilers (you’ve been warned).

Season 1 Trailer:

Season 1 primarily dealt with Daredevil, his alter ego/lawyer, Matt Murdock, his buddy and law partner Foggy Nelson (played by Elden Henson), and client/future employee, Karen Page, played by “True Blood”‘s Deborah Ann Woll.  The story arc carried them all through a major conflict with Wilson Fisk (played impressively by Vincent D’Onofrio of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” fame).

Season 2 starts about a year after the events of Season 1.  Wilson Fisk is in prison, and other criminal organizations have been moving in to fill the power vacuum, keeping Daredevil quite busy.  Meanwhile, another masked vigilante has joined the stage, and unlike Daredevil, he’s not shy about shedding blood.  He’s been turning Hell’s Kitchen into a bloody war zone, and so it’s no surprise when he starts butting heads with our hero.  This new vigilante is a decorated veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, named Frank Castle (played by Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal), but he’s been dubbed ‘The Punisher’.  Bernthal is simply perfect for this role, playing a hardened killer who may be a psychopathic serial killer, but one that we can still feel sympathy for.

As the series continues, we also meet Elektra Natchios, an old girlfriend of Matt (played by relative unknown Elodie Yung), who knows all about his alter ego.  They knew each other back in college, but things didn’t work out (for reasons shown in a flashback).  She wants Matt’s help dealing with, what she claims to be ‘money issues’, but you and I know that things aren’t always what they seem.  I can’t recall seeing her act before, but Elodie is very believable in her role.

In Season 2, the story is much more complex, with a lot more moving parts.  There’s a lot of twists and turns and unpredictability to the story.  And a lot of the characters from season 1 make a return appearance. Daredevil/Matt has a lot more worries now, dealing with both old and new enemies, two potential romances, and people who he’s not sure he can trust.  Matt’s relationships with his partner Foggy, and with legal assistant Karen are tested and we don’t know how things will work out in the end.  It makes for terrific drama.

There are some really good action scenes, especially the climactic battle at the end of the last episode.  If I have any complaints, it’s with a couple of the better-lit combats (because, Daredevil mostly fights in the dark).  I’m betting it’s because of post-processing or editing, but a couple of the fights, you can see the actors pulling punches, which makes things look fake.  But mostly the fight scenes are very well done.

We also get to see more of Foggy and Karen becoming stronger people, making their own decisions, taking risks, and being brave in their adversity.  For example, there’s a great scene where Foggy has to take control of a situation where two gang-bangers are ready to shed each other’s blood in the middle of an emergency room.  It works, it’s believable, and it makes him more likable as a character.  And Karen, per usual, gets herself into trouble, but has seen enough of that that she handles herself well.

By the end of the last episode, not everything is resolved, but enough has been, that it feels quite satisfying.  We know that Netflix would love to have a third season of Daredevil, as it’s done very well for them.  So it’s no surprise that the show ends on kind of a cliffhanger with at least one big question left unanswered.  It’s pretty clear that we will see some of these characters again.

All in all, I HIGHLY recommend Daredevil Season 2.  It’s fun, it’s action-packed, it has drama, and good acting and really good writing.  Keep in mind that Netflix’ comic book series are character-driven dramas.  Yes, they have action scenes, and yes, they involve comic-book characters.  But the emphasis is on the writing and the characters themselves.   I really appreciate that, in what amounts to a 13 hour motion picture, that enough time is spent to create tension and suspense, and to build characters.  If I have one criticism is that it is less focused than Season 1, trying to juggle several more story elements than before.  But that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying the story.

Anyway, go now.  Watch it.  Watch the whole thing.  And I also highly recommend “Jessica Jones” as well.  It’s a much more focused, more adult series that deals with adult situations that may be hard to watch.  But it does so in a sensitive, and realistic way.  Yes, it’s a superhero series.  But it’s an adult superhero series with believable characters who suffer and have real lives and have history and have suffered genuine, relatable trauma.  For me “Jessica Jones” was not easy to watch some of the time.  But it’s one of those things, like “Schindler’s List”, or “Requiem for a Dream” that you’ll be glad you did.

Season 2 Trailer Part 1:

Season 2 Trailer Part 2:

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