Marvel‘s Daredevil returned for its second season on March 18, 2016. The dark, gritty, Netflix Original Series has garnered quite the following since its 2015 debut, and has opened up an entirely new format of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the subscription streaming service.
But does the second season live up to the first? Read on to find out!
WARNING: This review may contain minor spoilers. You’ve been warned!
Still here? Okay! Let’s get to it!
Season two of Daredevil opens up, as one might guess, directly following the events of the first season. Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio, Full Metal Jacket, Law & Order) has been convicted and sent to prison and the law offices of Nelson & Murdock have gained quite the reputation, leaving the fledgling legal team up to their ears in work. Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox, Boardwalk Empire) continues to split time as New York attorney by day and masked vigilante by night, often missing out on, well, most of the actual work with the law offices. Fellow attorney Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson, The Mighty Ducks, The Butterfly Effect) and legal assistant Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll, True Blood) are left to carry the load there, while also often serving as Murdock’s moral compass along the way.
With Fisk in prison, we are left with no real “big bad” to speak of. Instead, the Man Without Fear is faced with an interesting new threat – a fellow vigilante who, unlike Daredevil, has no issue with killing every bad guy that gets in his way. Enter Frank Castle/The Punisher (Jon Bernthal, The Walking Dead), an ex-soldier who has taken on a one-man war against the organized crime of New York City. After The Punisher takes out dozens of high-ranking gangsters in the IRA, Mexican Cartel, and local 1%er biker gangs, Daredevil sets out to stop him from terrorizing the city and taking the role of judge, jury, and executioner into his own hands. As if that wasn’t enough for Daredevil to deal with, Elektra (Elodie Yung, GI Joe: Retaliation), a dangerous and highly-trained assassin, and mysterious woman from his past suddenly shows back up in New York.
As the season progresses, Murdock learns that The Punisher has started this war because of his family being murdered by the gangsters he’s targeting, and that Elektra is out to stop a deadly group of fanatic ninja warriors known as The Hand. The show splits time between the murderous dealings, and eventual court trial of Frank Castle/The Punisher, where he’s represented by Nelson & Murdock, and Daredevil and Elektra’s investigation of, and eventual showdown with, The Hand. Meanwhile, Wilson Fisk continues to gain power and influence in prison, using his vast wealth and influence to win over several of the most dangerous inmates, as well as the majority of the guards.
Despite the at times disjointed storylines, each subplot is very well done, with the dark, gritty cinematography fitting perfectly alongside the events of the show. There’s plenty of action and character development for the superhero/comic book faithful, and plenty of tension and drama for the cinematic purists. From a technical standpoint, Daredevil absolutely shines, but the most outstanding thing about this series, by far, is the cast.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jon Bernthal absolutely steals the show with his outstanding performance as Frank Castle/The Punisher, finally giving some much-needed credibility to a character that’s had more than its fair share of bad luck in previous on-screen efforts. Elodie Yung and Deborah Ann Woll shine as Elektra and Karen Page, respectively, giving viewers two different takes on the strong female character, without either of them playing into the trope’s respective stereotypes. It’s quite refreshing. Vincent D’Onofrio once again puts on a chilling, masterful performance as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, channeling the calm-but-deadly psychosis of his previous role in Stanley Kubrick‘s legendary Full Metal Jacket so well that one can’t help but wonder why he hasn’t played more of these types of roles in his career. While Charlie Cox does a fantastic job of playing the lead role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, make no mistake that he is absolutely upstaged ten-fold by his supporting cast throughout.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Daredevil continues to top the list of Marvel‘s impressive roster of Netflix Original Series offerings. The second season is a wonderful continuation of the first, and is bolstered by an even better cast this time around. The Punisher has already been greenlit for his own series, no doubt based on Bernthal’s outstanding performance, and plenty of hints have already been dropped as to some of the things to come in season three. While the shifting plots are at times hard to follow, and the writing/editing could definitely use some improvement, at the end of the day, Daredevil still sets the standard of what a great Marvel AND a great Netflix series should be. If you’ve got Netflix, go binge-watch this now. If you don’t, it’s well worth borrowing a friend’s, or cashing in that free month card! – 9.2/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine