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Daredevil season two reviewed

By Alex Wiggan

When season one of Daredevil hit Netflix back in 2015 it was somewhat of a revelation; not only was it a damn fine show, with great action scenes and strong characters, but it proved there was plenty of life left in a character previously fumbled by Hollywood. Across thirteen episodes, audiences were treated to a gritty reworking of the Daredevil mythology all neatly packaged for the streaming generation and it was good. It was damn good.

This latest season of Daredevil – which hit Netflix this weekend – has pulled the same trick that season one did, only this time around the character given a much needed makeover isn’t Daredevil himself, but rather the Punisher, another classic Marvel character desperate for a second chance. A character who is mentioned so prominently in this review because not only is he a big focus of season two, he’s also one of the main reasons the season remains on track.

For those keeping score, this is actually the Punisher’s fourth time in the spotlight following big screen outings in 1989, 2004 and 2008. If you’ve not seen any of those movies then give yourself a huge pat on the back, because you’ve saved yourself around six hours of wasted time.

For all intents and purposes, this is the only version of the Punisher you ever need to see, which is of course both a blessing and a curse, because Frank Castle/the Punisher – played by former Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal – completely overshadows the show’s title character. Yep, you can pretty much forget about Daredevil this time around, because it’s the Punisher you’ll be interested in, who goes from gun-toting mad man to lone crusader, in a journey that acts as a counter balance to the heroics dished out by Daredevil.

The inclusion of the Punisher is, however, a very shrewd move as the character provides a morally ambiguous standpoint for the show. It’s just a shame then that the same can’t be said for Elektra, another classic character who gets given substantial screen time during this second season, but who is a bit of a let down.

For the lucky few who have erased it from their memories, Elektra’s last live-action appearance was in her woeful 2005 solo movie; a spin-off from the Ben Affleck-starring Daredevil movie. This version of Elektra is of course an entirely different take on the character, so just like the Punisher, those who have no prior knowledge of who she is will not be left scratching their heads. They will, however, feel a little bored at times.

Despite the fact she appears in lots of the action sequences there is something about Elektra that just doesn’t quite gel and her inclusion often causes the show to slow down (sometimes grind to a halt). Thankfully this is corrected towards the end of the season, when Elektra feels like a more thought out character, but it all feels a little bit too late to make a difference.

Ah well, Elektra aside, Daredevil’s second season is packed full of standout moments including a fantastic fight scene in episode three (‘New York’s Finest’); a smile-inducing close to the end of episode eight (‘Guilty as Sin’); and pretty much everything that comes out of episode nine (‘Seven Minutes in Heaven’). The final couple of episodes of the season are also very good and highlight the fact that Daredevil’s world is getting bigger, with greater threats looming that even he can’t handle alone. Perhaps this is all in preparation for the proposed Defenders series?

So what about DD himself? Well, Charlie Cox continues to demonstrate he’s perfect in the role of Matt Murdock/Daredevil and once again he does go on somewhat of a journey. It just doesn’t feel like the personal journey he went on during season one.

And therein lies the rub; by expanding this tale to include some of the more fantastical characters and story beats that are on offer this season (don’t worry, no spoilers here), there is the sense that some of the realism, some of the personal stories and some of the magic of season one, is lost. It’s also nowhere near as good as Netflix’s most recent Marvel show, Jessica Jones. But don’t let that put you off.

If you liked Daredevil’s first season then you will like season two, as it offers up plenty of the same with some fun new additions to keep things interesting. It also does something that three films have failed to do – make the Punisher a completely rounded character, which is something that almost seemed impossible by this point.

 

About the author: Alex Wiggan has written blog posts for Honcho-SFX blog since October 2014. He likes writing, eating pizza and watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sometimes in that order.

 

Love Marvel? Then check out the epic range of Marvel merchandise available from Honcho-SFX, including this awesome Daredevil cap, this nifty Deadpool wallet and this retro Marvel sweatshirt.

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