Last year, I said that I didn’t think that Marvel would make another TV-MA series on Netflix. Clearly, I had no idea what I was talking about.
Not that a second season of Daredevil would necessarily have proven me wrong. After all, it’s the same series we’re talking about here. But, I was wrong, as you are soon to find out.
But, until we get to the other TV-MA MCU TV series (enough alphabet soup there?), we have to address the series at hand. While the second season of Daredevil was not quite as good as the first, it was certainly one of the better chapters of the MCU.
In a lot of ways, it was better than the first. After rewatching parts of the first season, I was unimpressed with how the first season got started. Keeping Wilson Fisk’s identity under wraps for the first few episodes was a good idea, each passing episode acting like one of those prison doors that Clarice Starling passed through on her way to see Hannibal Lecter in his special corner of hell. But, the individuals that filled his void were frightfully disappointing, even bland.
Furthermore, Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll were mediocre. Most of the series, they were pointless. They didn’t act well as foils to Matt Murdock, nor did they help move the plot along (the entire first season they are merely learning things that we already know).
While Henson and Woll were mediocre in season one, they were awful in season two. Neither can act all that well, and it’s dreadfully unfortunate, because between Vincent D’Onfronio, John Bernthal, Rosario Dawson, Élodie Yung, and the titular Charlie Cox, we could have a veritable SAG Ensemble winner.
The second season was also weakened by its incredible frequency of fight scenes. They happened far too often. I would have preferred to see more of Murdock, Nelson, and Page as they tried to tackle the Punisher case. As I said in my review of season one last year, this is the first time the MCU has let genius manifest itself in a form other than molecular physics or engineering. I would have liked to see more lawyering.
In trying to “up the ante” with a lot of the fight sequences, the show’s creators, in my opinion, took it too far. There is an awesome single-take fight sequence in season one that takes place in a hallway. The scene has actually become quite famous. Season two, obligatorily, features another such scene, this one longer and taking place in a stairwell. As ambitious as it was, though, it didn’t look as good.
However, my criticism on these points aside, I thought season two was really good. While I would have liked to see more lawyering, there was far more lawyering in this season that last. I appreciated the toning down of gore—no car-door decapitations this time around, though there is a rather gruesome scene with a drill. The drill scene, however gruesome, is also telling of the Catholic nature of the Daredevil mythology: the hole left was in his foot, after all. This idea of redemption, atonement, and destiny pits itself well against a world of darkness and deceit. Throw in the fact that we are now seeing people come back from the dead in ancient rites of immortality and we see a fantastic thematic undercurrent for the going’s on in Hell’s Kitchen.
The incorporation of new characters this season was extraordinary. I have heaps of praise for John Bernthal (playing The Punisher) and Élodie Yung (playing Elektra). We have not ever seen these characters portrayed with such an exquisite bent. As a matter of fact, the two names, “Punisher” and “Elektra” are practically synonymous with broken, cheap, and hated Marvel film lore of a decade ago. These exciting characters were brought to life in season two in fantastic ways.
Also, we got Fisk back, and, it seems, he has taken upon him the mantle of “Kingpin.” I would anticipate that the next go-around we’ll see Bullseye, but who knows? Maybe a new character will come and steal the show in season three. Hopefully, whoever it is, they steal the show from Foggy and Karen.
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