I had little doubt when watching the second season of Daredevil that I would be entertained. After all, the Marvel/Netflix alliance proved itself formidable following successful releases of both Daredevil‘s first season as well as Jessica Jones in 2015.
What I didn’t expect was the finest comic book adaptation I had ever seen.
Make no mistake: Daredevil works on so many levels that it rivals the entertainment quality of any program on any service, be it network or cable. That’s right: it’s just as good as Game of Thrones, Fargo, or any other show that is pulling in accolades left and right. It gets stronger with each episode, and perhaps where it works so well is where so many other shows flounder: the character development.
Before we get into the meat of the three starring characters of this show, we can’t ignore the supporting cast. While Foggy Nelson and Karen Page aren’t going to headline any of the amazing action sequences in this film, they certainly deserve their own praise. Both characters are more than just background. They are the slap in the face that reminds Matt Murdock that he can’t be Daredevil all of the time, no matter how much he thinks he needs to be. The dynamic of Matt’s dual life was addressed on occasion in the first season, but we really didn’t get to see the emotional strain that his absence and tardiness had on his friends at his law firm until this season.
A minor spoiler – not much of one if you’ve been reading about the show online – is that Vincent D’Onofrio returns as Wilson Fisk for a few episodes. It was a great move bringing him back, even if his role was a sort of extended cameo. Netflix has boasted two great villains in their series so far – David Tennant’s Kilgrave of Jessica Jones being the other – and Fisk’s return and his adoption of the “Kingpin” moniker made for some of the best moments of the series.
Moving forward, we all knew this season was all about the big three: Daredevil, the Punisher, and Elektra. What was amazing is how all three of them showed a different shade of heroism. Daredevil is a hero with a conscience, a man that won’t kill and that has faith in something greater than himself – be it the law or God – having the right to end a life. The Punisher is driven by rage and revenge, believing that killing those that do wrong is the only way to end wrongs. And Elektra…well, she enjoys killing, and she does it well.
Elodie Yung’s Elektra is more than just a foil to Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, mind you. In a lot of ways she’s a murderess, but one that holds a deep loyalty to Matt Murdock, which makes for some interesting exchanges. She wants to be good for Matt…but it’s hard for her to break old habits. She doesn’t kill anyone innocent, but she does spill lots of blood. I was surprised to find myself so interested in this character. She had a lot of great lines and moments, and the chemistry between her and the Man Without Fear was absolutely electric.
Jon Bernthal’s Punisher got a lot of praise, and for good reason: he’s fantastic. Brutal. Broken. Savage. Lost. Deadly. All of these are visible characteristics to the character that serves as the catalyst for most of the series. There are quite a few folks clamoring for a standalone series, and I can’t say I blame them: it’s hard to look away from the action when he’s in the scene, killing remorselessly.
But above all of them is Daredevil, played again to perfection by Charlie Cox. I can honestly say after this season that he has cemented himself as my favorite character in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s conflicted and dedicated, everything that a hero is supposed to be. He won’t kill, with his faith – again, both in the law and in God – serving as his balance. He believes that incarcerating criminals is the way to go, not burying them. He believes that only God chooses who dies. And above all else, he chooses what is right over choosing what makes him happy. This costs him in his friendships with Foggy and Karen, but he’s willing to sacrifice all of that to keep him safe. It’s ironic that a character with so many honorable traits is known as “the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen”.
There’s no real central antagonist here; you can point at Nobu and the Hand, but they don’t do much other than give the heroes a target. That might sound critical, but don’t misunderstand: this season didn’t need a villain. This season wasn’t about good versus evil, it was about the different shades of good, and figuring out where you would stand in that moment. Daredevil is the golden standard…but how many of us would just put down the bad guys instead? Wouldn’t that be easier?
I sincerely hope that Netflix and Marvel bring back another season of this show, because it’s simply amazing. There are enough cliffhangers to leave us wondering how it will all play out. Until then, we have Luke Cage to look forward to in September.
Vaya con Dios!
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!