Daredevil Season 2: A Mixed Feelings Review
Light Spoiler Warning
I give you the premise of some subplots and the over arcing plot and refer to actual events in the season but nothing specific which would ruin watching it.
I also spoil a bit of Daredevil season 1, but I'm assuming you've already seen it.
The show starts off strong with an immediate arc dedicated to The Punisher. The fight scenes (especially the stairwell fight in episode 3 and a single fight in the prison) are muchly improved when they were already so good in the first season (the main draw to this show in my opinion) although at times, having a dark red Daredevil fight opponents dressed in black in darkly lit settings is at times frustrating. The ending to season 8 and the whole of season 9 might very well have been my favorite pieces of this season.
However, I think I prefer the first season of Daredevil more. It's more concise and central to Murdock and Fisk. In this, there are arguably about 5 different plots that feature different villains and conflicts. Normally, this isn't so bad but the season ends on a rather strange note. There are a lot of unanswered questions that seem to be more of this season's focus, where the first season had unanswered questions that weren't integral to the Fisk-plot.
You've got a lot to juggle with this film. FIrstly is the case of the Punisher, a vigilante that believes in killing the bad guys, not just beating them up and sending them to prison. There's some interesting court scenes, but they're short lived. Ellen Page has a lot of interest in his arc, but I'm not really sure how I felt about the ending. Elektra, a lover from Murdock's past, reappears with ties to nefarious elements in the city. Stick also returns, as does the likely forgotten 'Black Sky' warning from the first season. There's also a heavy focus on Matt Murdock's inability to juggle his vigilante life with his every day life, and his relationships with Foggy (who has the best lines in this show) and Karen suffer for it.
Also, most everyone but Murdock seems to have an actual character arc where they mature and change. Murdock/Daredevil doesn't really seem to do much of that. He just makes decisions on spur on the moment or otherwise dismissively.
Lack of Strong Antagonism
The last season of Daredevil featured William D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk who, in my opinion, was clearly the front runner of the most effective Marvel villain to date. This season has nothing like that. Our hero comes across the Punisher and Elektra, both who have villainous and heroic qualities. The show eventually frames a greater conflict that's enveloping Hell's Kitchen that's fronted by countless faceless ninjas. No one possesses half the charisma that Fisk has/had.
There's also a lot of unanswered questions, questions that are intrinsic to the main story. Despite having a side plot focus on finding a character called 'The Blacksmith,' I'm still not sure if we ever saw the actual individual. It could be because there are many, many bait and switches, but even if that's the case there should have been a very clear, very definite moment when the show states that 'character x' is the Blacksmith.
I could you could say Stick, maybe. He was a bit of an unlikeable character in season 1 for the couple episodes he was present. In this season, he does and admits to a lot of terrible things with no regrets, and does absolutely nothing at all that's redeemable.
There's also the contrasting ideologies of the various main characters. While the show does focus on this, it's handled ham-fistedly and to the point where you really won't care. When Daredevil and the PUnisher have their iconic rooftop scene, the PUnisher speaks dismissively of Daredevil's so-called naivety, but there's nothing particuarly profound in what he says, nor do his words have any real examples yet in the show.
Expect a lot of violence, a bit of profanity (although not as much as Jessica Jones), and some generous torture scenes (including one where a dog is implied). There's more than a good amount of blood and plenty of gory scenes. It's not for the faint of heart but it's meant to accompany the brutal fight scenes that's punctuated by the more than excellent fight choreography.
I prefered Jessica Jones over this, but I still enjoyed this show. The beginning arc (four episodes) was really well done, and there several elements that I really enjoyed. I feel that there were a lot of good materials present, but there were either too many (not giving any specific number of them to properly mature at a good pace) or they were simply misused. Plots connected to one another poorly and many of the questions put forth were either resolved poorly or not at all, hoping to draw you into another season or show. I'm excited to see more of the new elements introduced in this season be used further down the road, but I'm rather unimpressed by everything but the fight choreography (though at times I feel this was overplayed at some points and I was waiting for the fight to be over to move on with the story) and some spectacular casting decisions.
Also, Chekhov's minigun. The show clearly shows the Punisher obtaining a minigun (with a great focus on it) and he never uses it. That's nonsense, especially considering the timing he got it and what was occurring afterwards. Complete and total nonsense.
Not everyone will agree with me, I'm sure, but between its first season and Jessica Jones, I feel this season of Daredevil is probably the weakest. It's not terrible, but maybe I've come to expect better.
- Second season for Daredevil
- At least the same amount of violence with more torture scenes
- Fight choreography has only improved on excellent work
- Story is less coherent this go around
- New cast members play their roles expertly
- Season seems to be more of a 'cliffhanger' season or setting up; ending feels rushed with many questions lingering