Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Inexplicable TV Review: Daredevil – Season Two (And One) excellent

Note: Season one and two spoilers for Daredevil follow.

The first season of Daredevil dropped when I was on one of my frequent blogging hiatuses, so to get my thoughts on that out of the way – Big fan! Marvel movies are typically light fare, so, it was interesting to see their take on dark and gritty. Daredevil felt like a really focused, small world exploration of the superhero world. If films like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy are about the planet and the galaxy, respectively, then it’s awesome to have a show like Daredevil that’s just about a region of a city, albeit the biggest city in the U.S.

The second season, while not quite the wonderful surprise of the first, manages to hit similar heights in different ways. It would be folly to try to emulate the performance of Robert Goren Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fiske – the Kingpin. So, they don’t. Instead, Frank Castle – the Punisher – is present from the first episode. While Matt Murdock is aggressive in his pursuit of justice, season two is full of characters who are willing to cross the moral line for their own reasons – The Punisher, Stick, Elektra. There is a two-episode cameo from Fiske, essentially, that’s awesome, and the season’s end enemy comes via a natural progression.

Since this is The Internet, let me make my one obligated complaint – Daredevil definitely needs to crack open a window and raise the shades for season three. Dark and gritty can be good, but we now have roughly 20 hours of that tone established, and it’s probably an 18-episode streak of dark now, from the middle of season one to the end of season two. It would be nice to peek in on Foggy and his ex-lady Marci tackling a lighter case, or Ace Albino Reporter Karen Page succeeding at work, or Matt apprehending a villain without a shit-ton of collateral damage.

Still though, it’s a relatively minor complaint, since I eagerly binge-watched the whole second season in a two-day span. Unlike Jessica Jones, the pacing is kept fairly consistent throughout, and the show starts with a literal bang with the introduction of the Punisher. Jon Bernthal (Big Pun) is definitely the highlight of the season, with Elodie Yung (Elektra) as the other standout newcomer. Scott Glenn (Stick) and Rosario Dawson (Claire Temple) return as well for a couple episodes, and they’re both splendid. Oddly, Charlie Cox – Daredevil himself – is probably my least favorite character, but he’s basic enough that he allows the other characters around him to excel, because of their contrasting actions and behavior. (Also, I’ve heard that he is a heartthrob with the ladies.)

So! Power rankings: Daredevil season one > Daredevil season two (just by a bit) > Jessica Jones (just by a bit) > big gap > Gotham (future writing subject, but it’s incredibly uneven and at best good for camp value). 

The image is a promo poster from Netflix for season two of Daredevil.

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