Created by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung
The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to truly be an amazing thing to behold. Marvel has broken their characters up into areas that are best suited for their particular attributes, allowing them to tell stories that connect with their world. Daredevil and The Punisher and their band of misfits belong in a much darker world than a summer tent pole film allows for. So we have The Avengers and those characters to tell crowd pleaser types of roller coaster ride stories, great stuff for sure, and then we have the smaller characters, the ground pounders, on Netflix telling us darker more drama focused stories. The best part is it all connects into one universe making the entire thing layered, complex, fun, dramatic, and even a little scary.
The best thing season 2 of Daredevil does right out of the gate is break the formula established in season 1 of both daredevil and Jessica Jones. Maybe the idea for the Netflix shows is to focus on one big bad guy and a final fight to allow us time to get to know the characters and then branch out to other ideas in follow up seasons. If that’s the plan, it’s a good one. Season 2 doesn’t focus on a single big bad guy and the build up to the final fight. The season instead takes the much more challenging role of focusing on characters that walk the line between good and bad. The villains our hero, and anti-heroes face are virtually faceless for the most of the series. They are simply tools to tell stories of redemption, to question the sanctity of life, and to force Matt Murdock himself to choose between friends and fights.
Matt Murdock finds himself dealing with two new influencers in his life; Frank cast aka The Punisher played by Jon Bernthal and Elektra Natchios played by Elodie Yung. The first arc in the season focuses on The Punisher and how his journey interconnects with that of Daredevil. It’s said best in the trailer by the Punisher speaking to daredevil when he says “you’re just one bad day away from being me”. The Punisher’s story is told sparingly and not rushed. His story is a familiar one to genre fans but the way it affects other characters makes it fresh. The Punisher’s story connects with Karen due to her own past. Elektra is a character that Matt is very familiar with from his own past, and her story is much more complex than it first appears.
The Punisher believes the only way to truly win against the villains of Hell’s Kitchen is to simply kill them. Daredevil beats down the bad guys and leaves them for the police, and the legal system to deal with. On the other side Elektra is a killer, she’s thrives on the act of killing in a fight. Daredevil is surrounded by killing and the effectiveness of it. His internal struggles with whether to kill or not are forced to a head in this season in dramatic and powerful ways through his interactions with these two new characters. His work as daredevil continues to affect his life as Matt Murdock but he admits that being Daredevil is the only time he feels free. Does this mean he’s also one bad day away from becoming Elektra?
The only real failing of this season is that the bad guys are simply plot tools and cannon fodder for the first two thirds of the season. Truthfully you won’t care because the character moments and arcs are so complex and riveting. The beautifully choreographed fight scenes become a break in the dramatic action. With that said though, the series does eventually find some time to circle back to loose ends from season one and set the stage for not only season two but for the eventual meeting of these characters from all of the Netflix series.
Every character had not just great moments this season but they all had real individual stories that will impact the Daredevil story as a whole. Foggy and Karen both have to learn to come into their own skin this season and both of their stories are extremely rewarding. While I am glad we didn’t have the same beg bad guy format of the first season I do wish the new villains we did get would have been a little more meaty. With that said, the final moments of this season were riveting and when it was over I just wanted more. I need to know what’s next…