Jun 1, 2016

[TV] Daredevil: Season 2

The first season of Marvel's Daredevil was a refreshing shock to the system. It was a living testament to the fact that you can create a good superhero series that is serious and gritty and yet not hammy and cliche at the same time. They manage to make a show that felt quite real despite dealing with characters with superhuman abilities. And they didn't need to resort to a crazy amount of CGI to get it done either.

The second season of Daredevil made sure to build on the already established world of Hell's Kitchen and took things further by advancing individual character arcs while carefully introducing new characters into the mix of things. We saw a lot of familiar names come into the story throughout this season but even for non comic book fans the narrative was sufficient to still make sense. And I don't mean to belittle the show in any way with that statement.

I really enjoyed how this second season really took the characters forward and pretty much raised that flag that says, "Marvel has truly arrived on TV." The decision to focus on the so-called Marvel Knights characters given their street crime level stories and experiences was truly the right thing to do to create a series this engaging.

Synopsis: The second season of Daredevil or Marvel's Daredevil continues to follow the adventures of the blind superhero Daredevil as adapted or television by Drew Goddard. The show remains to be a Netflix-exclusive and they certainly take advantage of crafting a story that is meant to be binge-watched in a single sitting.

Things seemed to be looking good at the end of the last season with the fall of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) and his Russian mob allies along with the seeming disappearance of many other criminal factions. But the vacuum has led to new gangs trying their luck with a few of them being killed practically to the last man by some unknown army. In time it is revealed that it's not actually an army - it's one man that the DA's office comes to refer to as "The Punisher" (Jon Bernthal). And as much as he primarily targets criminals and known gang members, killing isn't the sort of thing a hero like Daredevil (Charlie Cox) can allow to continue under his watch.

But like any good Marvel story, life isn't all about his life as a superhero, even with his new special costume and stuff. Matt Murdock's life as a lawyer is equally colorful with so many clients who can't actually pay their legal fees, thus slowing driving their law firm into the ground. So as Daredevil he's doing his best to figure out who's killing all the gangs but on the ground he's trying to get past some major conflicts within the law firm, particularly with his best friend and business partner Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), who by this time knows he's Daredevil and is struggling with coping with this knowledge.

It will feel shallow, but I will first spend time raving about the fight scenes in this series. They were already pretty cool in the first season, and this second season decided to do its best to take things to a new level. I'll concede the point that we didn't have quite as awesome a fight scene as the single take hallway fight in the first season. But the many different fights that we got this time around were still freakily good.

The added drama of Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung) nicely makes up for the weirdness of the prior Elektra movie. Here she's a far more complex character but not immediately a mindless assassin of the Hand or whatever. Here she has some solid history with Murdock and a future that is oddly tied to his life as Daredevil as well.

I'll give extra points to Foggy and Deborah (Karen Page) and their efforts to keep thing together while Matt Murdock is being a terrible lawyer. With Murdock focused on his hunt for the Punisher coupled with Foggy actually knowing that his friend is probably in a lot of trouble as Daredevil and Deborah just hoping for the best and increasingly into Matt as a guy and not in a friendly way, there's a lot of potential drama there. And things just seem to get worse and worse as things progress.

Daredevil is a story that is largely gray in moral tones and there are a lot of instances when you're made to question who is actually the good guy is here. Everyone is trying to do their best to navigate through life while following their principles. It's just that the life his hard and sometimes your moral compass goes askew as you respond to life my seeing everything through the lens of pain and trauma.

There's so much to like about Daredevil's second season but I'm just glad that it happened and that the universe, or at least  Hell's Kitchen, continues to become more and more fleshed out with each new Marvel series released. I mean come on, just getting this show to have a bit of an overlap with Jessica Jones already made my day. Thus the season gets a great 4 new tricks that Daredevil comes up with in this season out of a possible 5.

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