Following its well-received first season was no easy task for Marvel’s first Netflix series Daredevil. Particularly after showrunner and creator Drew Goddard stepped away and season 1 writers Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez took his place. Many were concerned the show would lost its focus and tone. However it appears those concerns were put to rest, as Season 2 in many ways is better than Season 1.
Following on with themes and tone of the first season, Season 2 follows Matt Murdock played by Charlie Cox in his days as a blind lawyer and nights as Daredevil, a masked vigilante who seeks to rid Hell’s Kitchen of its crime and corruption.
Cox is perfect for Matt Murdock, so much so that it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing this role; he really has made it his own. His chemistry with everyone in this great cast is brilliant. There’s a particular sequence early on in Season 2 where Matt temporally loses his hearing. These scenes are terrifying largely due to how Cox plays them, showing how shut off he was in the world showed what a great actor he is.
Much has changed since Season 1 and yet other things stay the same, despite taking down Kingpin at the end of Season 1, at the start of Season 2 a new problem arises, inspired by Daredevils actions, a new vigilante is on the scene except unlike Daredevil he has no problem killing his enemies.
Frank Castle AKA The Punisher played by Jon Bernthal, is hell bent on finding those that killed his wife and daughter and shooting them down. The first 4 episodes are truly masterful. As Daredevil tries to make Castle see reason and that killing is not the answer, Castle sees Daredevil as a half measure, someone who doesn’t go far enough to get the job done.
Bernthal is phenomenal as Frank Castle and very much deserves award recognition for his performance here, its masterful! The layers to the Punisher character through all 13 episodes are so well written and full of amazing emotional resonance. Daredevil and Punisher share so many phenomenal scenes together that are just magical to watch and listen to. These contrasting points of views between the two characters are very topical and very true to the divide of opinions people have in real life about how justice should be served.
Two scenes that stand out are in arguably the two best episodes Daredevil has had to date, Episodes 3 and 4. The first being on a rooftop as these two characters properly meet for the first time. And the second at the end of Episode 4 in a graveyard where Bernthal shows his acting chops talking about his relationship with his daughter.
Episode 3 is by far the standout episode of both seasons so far. Not only did they have that great scene on the rooftop but also they managed to top the phenomenal hallway fight sequence from Season 1. Episode 3 ends with an amazing stairway fight sequence that is truly phenomenal to watch. The scene just keeps going displaying both the great camera work and phenomenal fight choreography, as Daredevil fights a Biker gang down a flight of stairs.
After the first 4 episodes covered the Punisher, the next 4, Episodes 5-8 cover the introduction to Elektra played by Elodie Yung. Yung is brilliant as Elektra, beautiful, yet deadly. They really fleshed out her relationship with Matt Murdock really well, making her interactions believable and their history complicated.
Her history is told really well though flashbacks, and the inclusion of Stick played by Scott Genn in this storyline was most welcome, and helps fill in gaps you didn’t even now were there from Sticks, and Matts backstory in season 1 involving Elektra.
Throughout Season 2 the roles of Foggy Nelson played by Elden Henson and Karen Page played by Deborah Ann Well are also expanded on very well, which is a big improvement on season 1. At times in season 1 it felt the writing was at a disservice to both characters but in Season 2 they did a good job showing how both are strong in their own way.
The second season does a much better job than the first season, spreading out the story over the 13 episodes. The first act the first 4 episodes cover, is the introduction to The Punisher, then Episode 5-8 introduce Elektra and episode 9-13 combines and concludes both storylines in a very satisfying way.
What is unique about these Marvel Netflix shows is unlike the other superhero shows on TV, these shows are character dramas in disguise as superhero shows. Each character is fleshed out well and you care about every character. The writing is brilliant.
You can nitpick certain storylines, however for the most part Season 2 is far better than the first, running at a much faster pace, and using the 13 episodes far better. Season 2 improves on what Season 1 started, and took the show to new places setting up both Season 3 and The Defenders.
By Simon Hanson