Note: The following review is SPOILER FREE!
Daredevil Season 2 is yet another hit in Netflix’s Marvel series, though it might not hit all of the highs of the first. That being said, several of the problems of the first season, namely the slow pace of the plot and the reluctance to actually be a superhero show, are fixed this time around with a renewed focus on glorious superhero action and even more superheroes. The biggest issues with this season is overly confusing world-building and a irritatingly convoluted final act. Though, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying another fantastic, if somewhat flawed, journey into Hell’s Kitchen.
The story in this outing is seemingly complicated, but is handled impressively well, with a well-planned, three-act structure to the season. Without spoiling too much, the first act could be easily edited into a great Daredevil vs. Punisher movie, acting as an origin story for the Punisher, who commands your attention in every scene he is in. Jon Bernthal absolutely destroys his role of Frank Castle, putting all of the naysayers to shame. He is so good, in fact, I was more excited to see the Punisher than Daredevil himself near the end of the season, and I am not sure if that is a good or bad thing.
The second act of the season has the Punisher take a backseat as Elektra enters the spotlight. While not as crowd-pleasing as the Punisher, Elodie Yung brings a sexy, psychotic joy to the role that gives Daredevil some much-needed brevity, though it doesn’t last long.
The final act gets a bit heavy-handed with the generic brooding of Daredevil, and again without spoiling, it adds some poorly explained and confusing elements to the Daredevil lore. Daredevil unfortunately falls prey the the Lost syndrome at this point, raising three additional questions for every question it answers from Season 1. It never gets horrible, but compared to the first two acts, this final stretch of the show taints what would have otherwise been a near-flawless season of television.
While touched on here and there in Season 1, Season 2 focuses mainly on the morality of Daredevil, mostly by comparing it to the much darker and more murderous inclinations of Punisher and Elektra. The Punisher acts as a darker version of Daredevil himself, as is pointed out in one of the better scenes of the season when Punisher literally says, and I quote: “You are just one bad day away from being me.” While this issue has been explored plenty of times in superhero media before—namely with the character of Batman—Daredevil succeeds in making the age-old question of ‘how far vigilantes should go’ feel fresh and interesting. Electra on the other hand comes off as a darker version of the Matt Murdock persona, since the two have a history together, along with similar backstories. This ties into one of my favorite aspects of Daredevil, which is the duality of Matt’s character. On the one hand, he is a devout catholic who truly does want to help people, but on the other, he deeply enjoys beating the crap out criminals and dressing up as a devil. The different sides of his personality are exaggerated and reflected in the two new rogues, with Daredevil simultaneously rejecting and secretly desiring their simpler world view. This exploration of morality is far and away the best thing about Daredevil, which is why it is so striking when the final act basically abandons this discussion for crowd-pleasing and endless ninja fights. As I stated before, it isn’t ever bad, it just loses focus at this point in the story, which is too bad.
Once again, Netflix has done a fantastic job exploring the street-level side of superheroes with another foray into Hell’s Kitchen. This time the focus is on the morality of being a vigilante, which is great when Daredevil isn’t distracted by confusing world-building and needless action scenes. Overall, the second season lived up the hype from the first and Jessica Jones, proving once again the Netflix Marvel shows can do no wrong.
Who’s is better: Punisher or Electra? Do you think Season One is superior? Tweet me @adam_mcconnell. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
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