Netflix has seemingly been the home to some of the more interesting Marvel Cinematic stories, and now the original streaming hero is back with another season. But is the Devil of Hell’s kitchen biting off more then he can chew?
Daredevil season two deals with three main characters; Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charile Cox), Frank Castle/Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Elektra (Élodie Yung). While Daredevil is helping the police to tackle the gangs and drug trade, Punisher and Elektra both have their own issues and aren’t afraid to kill to deal with them. Murdock tries to stop the killing as well as help both in their respective stories.
While the last season of the show might have added a new layer to the Marvel world of stories, this time season two seems to fall a little into the same hole as the films. Instead of telling enticing stories that make you interested in picking up a comic while waiting for the next dose of action, season two acts more like a backdoor pilot for a Punisher series.
When Castle is on screen the show is at it’s best. The drama is intense as both Daredevil and Castle try to make the other see their way side. The conflict makes for a solid first four episodes which in part carries over into the next few episodes and the trial of Frank Castle. Once past these elements, the show seems to slow down a great deal with the involvement of the Hand, Stick and Elektra.
From the moral choices that Murdock is forced to question the show moves more or less into a retelling of Arrow season three, arguably one of that shows sloppiest seasons as well. The juxtaposition between real world Punisher and a war dealing with ninja’s, immortals and blind swordsmen ends up making the show seem fractured.
So much of the momentum is spend in the early episodes that even the fight choreography is spent in the early episodes with the excellent ending action scene in the third episode. From their the action feels like more of the same from the past season, with sound stage buildings swapped for one another.
But when the characters aren’t fighting each other, they’re fighting with their own morality. While Deborah Ann Woll’s character tries to find the human side of the Punisher she’s quickly let down when Castle just uses her as bait to find more of the faceless goons he’s been killing. On the flip side, Matt is being pulled into a war of his own. While his former mentor Stick and his former lover Elektra try to prod him into killing, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen tries his best to avoid delivering fatal blows.
These dilemmas are interesting at first but by the end of the season no one changes and it ends up just working into a frustrating mess. Sure Daredevil doesn’t want to kill anyone but his repeated words just end up not doing anything for anyone, like a sermon to an non believer.
It’s due to these scenes that this season starts to drag around the six episode mark only to pick back up when Vince D’Onofrio is reintroduced as Wilson Fisk. While he only appears in three episodes he commands the few scenes he’s in, making deals with a confused and beaten down Punisher. This show needs a strong villain like him and we can only hope he’ll reappear in more episodes down the line.
So what we end up getting in the season season is a lot of good ideas brought down by tropes of the genre. With the Punisher and Elektra trying to kill to get their way, it’s Daredevil who has to stand up for the moral choices. This point could have been played out well if the show ended up doing something more with this idea, like Matt trying to kill only to stop at the last minute. Instead we just get a story that more or less wraps up due to the fact that the show only had a 13 episode order with little growth for any character.
That being said, Daredevil season two is still a strong showing for both Marvel Entertainment and Netflix. All the episodes are more or less well paced and run into the next making it hard not to just continue with the next episode. It ended up being very refreshing and a good way to space out my X-Files binge watching sessions.