On Friday, March 18th, season two of Marvel’s Daredevil hit Netflix. Would it live up to the season one or the critically acclaimed Jessica Jones?
Before we get into it, be forward….
SPOILERS MAY DWELL HERE!
Now that we’ve dealt with those who might be spoiled, here’s are my thoughts. The second season of Daredevil is good, very good. It’s better than season one, in my opinion. Is it better than Jessica Jones? That really depends on your taste as you can’t completely compare the two. Daredevil is a dark action noir while Jessica Jones was more of a psychological horror story. That being said, that’s part of what I really liked about this season. Let’s get to brass tacks shall we.
After the huge success of Jessica Jones, I’m sure it might have been tempting to switch story gears on Daredevil or maybe even change the look of the show. To the showrunner’s credit, they stuck to their guns. It looks like the last season with some minor improvements. Unburdened of having to tell an origin, the show jumps right into the story. I’ll be honest, I was really expecting a slow build to The Punisher’s first appearance. I expected that his origin story would play out in the background and then build to the moment when he appears. Nope, The Punisher comes in right away, kicking the show into high gear.
In terms of story, I felt this season managed to take care of all it’s characters and multiple storylines very well. Everyone had some really good character pieces. My main complaint with the writing is that Daredevil kind of gets lost in the shuffle. But even this is a minor issue. In terms of adaption, some of the characters are different then their comic book counterparts. The Punisher is much more human then we’ve seen but as we come to learn, he’s not quite The Punisher yet. Really, we don’t see the killing machine Punisher until the end of the last episode. The show doesn’t dwell on Elektra’s back story or with her past life with Matt that much. We get the important beats and a few new twists. Foggy and Karen both get some really good moments as well.
My other story complaint was the wrap up of the Blacksmith/Punisher connections. It seemed like a thread that the writers felt they had to tie up (which they didn’t, this could have been held over for a Punisher series) and came off rushed.
The biggest thing that the writers managed to achieve with season 2 was the cliff hangers. After every episode, you just wanted to see what came next even when you already knew part of the aftermath. For example, the end of the first episode, “Bang”, shows Daredevil shot point blank in the head? We knew he wasn’t going to be dead but you had to watch the next episode just to see what happened.
In terms of acting, the MVPs are Elden Henson and Jon Bernthal. That’s not to say that the other actors are deadwood but these two guys just brought their A+ game. Elden brings everything I love about Foggy Nelson to the screen. He likes it when things are happy, hates and has yet to accept the Matt’s double life, and is an incredibly good human centre for the madness and murder that surrounds his world.
Jon Bernthal became my Punisher at the end of this season. I’ve long stated that Thomas Jane is the best live action Punisher but was failed by a not-so-great film. When we first meet The Punisher, he’s on his way to becoming a well oiled, bad-guy-killing machine but there’s still humanity left in him. Bernthal portrays this duality incredibly well. He shifts his voice so there’s a distinct difference but at the same time doesn’t go into a full Batman-like growl. We see glimpses of a grieving father but ultimately by the end of the series, he burns down his old home and cuts ties with his humanity, embracing the path of vengeance.
The Kingpin’s appearance in this season was a vast improvement. I am one of the few people that wasn’t blown away with Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin in season one. He made a distinct set of choices for his portrayal of the character and he stuck to them. These choices didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t that it was bad acting or that I disagreed with how the character was being played, I just couldn’t get into it. I know, I’m weird. This season however, fell into Kingpin’s groove right from the word go. I can’t explain it, it just felt more like Kingpin to me this time around.
The big question is “Where does the show go from here?”
There’s a couple of different ways, the most likely being some variation on the Born Again storyline. Matt Murdock’s life has already fallen apart to a certain extent and we know Kingpin is doing research on Murdock so it looks like an avenue to go. Although I doubt Karen is developing a drug habit or sliding into porn anytime soon….maybe that’s part of her dark past we keep getting hints of. You may even want to slide a Jessica Jones cameo as her acting as Murdock’s security/bodyguard if they go with Bendis’ run on the book where his identity becomes public.
But let’s look farther ahead. We know there’s a Defenders team up in the distance and while I’m not positive, I’m pretty sure whatever The Hand is up to is the major threat that will be revisited there. I think we’re headed towards Shadowland.
Shadowland remains one of the more disliked Daredevil tales and for good reason. It featured Daredevil being possessed and becoming the leader of The Hand, killing people and generally being an evil bastard. It also featured a majority of the street level Marvel heroes. I think we will get a rendition of Shadowland but instead of Daredevil becoming the big bad, it’ll be Elektra. The film will feature Matt leading the heroes into a war with The Hand and ultimately trying to save her from The Beast (or whatever they call the demon).
The structure of Shadowland did have some good parts but the execution and characters were misplaced. Now change some of those pieces around and you might get something good. Imagine Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil running into a courtyard of sorts beating the crap out of wave after wave of Hand ninjas being commanded by an evil Elektra (in an update of her classic costume). It’s almost mind-numbingly awesome. If Marvel wants to go all in as this would be the end of the Netflix phase one (as it were), you can add Punisher providing cover fire and maybe even quick cameos of other heroes, like Moon Knight, joining the fight.
And yes, this is the twelve year old coming out in me. He’s jumping up and down giddy in anticipation at even the thought of all of these street level heroes in one spot. If they threw in Spider-Man, my brain might explode.
But we shall have to wait. The Marvel Netflix series play the long game. As of this writing, Daredevil hasn’t been confirmed for a third season yet and it a long way off until Jessica Jones season two.
We can dream can’t we?
If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!