When Daredevil season one came out on Netflix last year, it was a bold new experiment that finally got Daredevil right in many ways. Last fall’s Jessica Jones upped the ante by switching genres to psychological thriller and proving once again that the Netflix format is perfect for Marvel TV shows. This year we were treated to Daredevil season two, and it is easily the best Marvel Netflix offering yet.
If season one was a proof of concept and a fresh origin story for Daredevil, season two was the natural evolution of the concept. Daredevil season two feels like the show it was always meant to be. Returning characters shine in their established roles, and the new characters, particularly Punisher and Elektra, steal the show. Fans of CW’s The Flash have often praised it for feeling like a true “comic book” show that isn’t afraid to embrace the inherent campiness and fun of the source material. Of course, not all comic books are as campy and silly as classic issues of The Flash. Some comics, notably Frank Miller’s iteration of Daredevil, set a more serious tone. Daredevil season two captures the “gritty” feel of a Miller comic while maintaining the many ongoing story lines and references typical of a Marvel or DC comic book. Arguably Daredevil season two is the most “comic book” TV show Marvel has created thus far, and that is absolutely incredible. The plots in the show feel complex and fantastic without being overly confusing. The second season moves forward with new plotlines without forgetting everything that happened in season one, and even maintaining a consciousness of Jessica Jones and other entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In season one of Daredevil, the real star of the show was the villain, Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofrio. In Jessica Jones, Kilgrave, a.k.a. The Purple Man (played by David Tennant), was the main attraction. This time around there wasn’t really a clear “big bad”, but a huge portion of the screentime went to Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, a.k.a. The Punisher. Throughout the season he developed a complex relationship with Daredevil and the rest of the cast, and shined as perhaps one of the best comic book character adaptations Marvel TV has created. Bernthal plays a multifaceted character with deep convictions that often conflict with Daredevil’s moral code. Daredevil season two is definitely an origin story for Frank Castle, but the way that story is told makes it feel fresh and exciting. The most surprising part of Bernthal’s character is how funny he can be. I wouldn’t have guessed that Daredevil would get some of its much-needed comic relief from Frank Castle. There have been rumors of a spin-off Punisher Netflix series, but they were denied by Marvel TV’s Executive Vice President Jeph Loeb. This season of Daredevil is proof that a Punisher solo series could work, so here’s hoping that a Punisher series will eventually make its way to TV in one form or another.
The other major character introduced in Daredevil season two s Elektra, played by Elodie Yung. While not as exciting as Punisher, Elektra serves as a far more personal foil to Daredevil. In a season that is all about moral choices and contrasts, Elektra is the character closest to Daredevil, who pushes him to question his convictions and brings him closer to the edge than Punisher ever could (despite his efforts). Yung plays Elektra as fierce and independent, and sometimes even terrifying. She doesn’t have as much screen time as Punisher, but as the season goes on she proves to be a vital third player.
Without giving away major spoilers, there isn’t much more to say about the characters or the plot of the show. Daredevil season two is easily the best of Marvel TV’s Netflix installments so far. It doesn’t have the raw emotional intensity of Jessica Jones, but it embraces its comic book roots and connects with the main cast on a deeper level than either Jessica Jones or the first season of Daredevil. It is also worth noting that it easily has the most costumed superhero action of any season of any Marvel TV show so far, either on Netflix or ABC. Season one of Daredevil featured only one costumed hero (Daredevil), Jessica Jones had no costumed heroes, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter rarely see any super heroes at all, let alone in costume. Daredevil is a show about a super hero after all. He’s not just a blind guy who beats up thugs at night. It’s nice to see him and his friends in silly outfits while they are fighting ninjas.
If you love Daredevil, and you love comic books, you’ll love Daredevil season two. Stop reading this nonsense review and go watch it.
Images via Netflix.