Daredevil returns to Netflix (now available in Malaysia without any bothersome VPN) in his second series. Is it worth your time? We mainlined all 13 episodes to find out.
(Note: Review contains some mild spoilers for Season 1 of Daredevil and information on season 2 that is publicly available in trailers/casting, but no major plot points).
Daredevil season 1 exploded onto Netflix, proving that Marvel could bring it’s more ground level heroes to the small screen, in a more bloody, visceral and (slightly) more adult manner than its TV stable mate, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. over on ABC or even it’s big screen brethren in the marvel cinematic universe.
With the whole first season was dedicated to Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) becoming Daredevil as well as setting up his main nemesis Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), his colleagues and their schemes, Season 2 begins with Matt already decked out in his familiar red suit and Fisk is behind bars; so where to next for the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen?
Season 2 begins with a bang, (literally, the first episode is called “Bang”) with Matt Murdoch in full flow as Daredevil taking on criminals and, by the looks of things, really quite enjoying it. His daytime activities are also going swimmingly with the law firm of Nelson and Murdoch, ably assisted by Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), drowning in clients after their celebrated run in with Fisk last season, although they could do with more clients paying them in cash rather than fruits and pies.
It’s not long however before criminal client comes along who brings to their attention the latest threat to Hell’s Kitchen; a new vigilante ruthlessly taking out the remaining gangs in the area with military precision, permanently. It’s a threat that Matt will encounter in his both of his dual roles as lawyer and vigilante, and one who is every bit a match for The Man without Fear.
Enter The Punisher
Unlike season 1, which made viewers wait an age for the eventual reveal of Wilson Fisk as the Kingpin, season 2 wastes no time in bringing Jon Bernthal’s Punisher to the fore, as he first shows up as an almost unstoppable, terminator-esque force of nature and one that is seemingly more than match for Matt Murdoch. As the season goers one however more and more of Frank Castle’s past and motivations are revealed with the season almost acting as “The Punisher Begins”, much in the same way that the first season could have been considered “Daredevil Begins”.
Bernthal perfectly nails The Punisher’s mixture of menace, uncanny precision and humanity, building on his darker moments as Shane in The Walking Dead, but still providing a different character.
His plot line moves quickly, and it’s not long before it seems like The Punisher will be relegated to the sidelines for the remainder of the season but the show runners expertly weave him back in amongst the plot threads that dominate the second half of the season; a second half featuring another familiar face from the comics: Elektra.
Despite her role in the risible Gods Of Egypt, Elodie Yung provides a different, more hardened version of Elektra than Jennifer Garner’s version in the Darevil and Elektra movies, haughty, complicated but retaining a sense of playfulness in most of her interactions with Matt.
Despite all this darkness (it is Daredevil, Marvel’s most guilt ridden hero after all) there are considerable sources of humour mostly between Matt and Elektra’s initial encounters, although Foggy and Karen do get to share in some laughs as well.
Speaking of whom, while Foggy (Elden Henson) could be a bit of an annoyance in season 1 and Karen was often relegated to the role of professional victim, both come into their own here. Foggy doesn’t spend too much of the season nagging Matt about his evening excursions, the bond between the two being tested to breaking point as Matt tries to decide between his work as Daredevil and that of a lawyer and Karen develops her own satisfying plot-line that ties in with The Punisher and some unexpected characters from season 1 . Both are set up for intriguing developments in the hopefully inevitable season 3.
Dangling plot threads from the first season, such as Wilson Fisk, The hand and their plans for Hell’s Kitchen and Scott Glenn’s Stick, all make very welcome returns, advancing their plotlines considerably helping to create real sense of place and continuity.