Daredevil was a surprise hit last year. It has been speculated that a second season was never planned, and the initial outline of Marvel and Netflix’s deal, while not ruling it out, seemed to account for only four series before the team-up of The Defenders. But despite these things, the well written characters, compelling plot, and brutal fight scenes earned a second season when the show was met with widespread critical praise. The question now is, can the show achieve the same level of quality without the element of surprise?
The main cast all return, save Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onforio), and admittedly the man is missed. This is not to say the new villain of The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) isn’t an excellent antagonist, more so that Wilson Fisk was just that great of a villain to watch. That being said, the loss of the criminal mastermind from season one opens up for a whole wealth of new adversaries. The random criminals of Hell’s Kitchen make for some excellent action pieces, particularly the biker gang that gives us Hallway Fight part 2, and the feeling that we would be losing these scenes if Wilson Fisk was still around goes a long way towards helping us to overlook the character’s absence. The Punisher is played here as not only ruthlessly efficient, but terrifying and imposing. The massive carnage left in his wake, combined with his dead gaze as he focuses on his mission, only accentuates how terrifying a figure the man is, and plays up the idea that he is more a force of nature.
The plot this season seems to be broken up a bit. In season one, all roads led to Wilson Fisk, but here we have a number of different criminal groups, looking to take over Daredevil’s home turf. The chaos that is descending on Hell’s Kitchen from the power vacuum that has been left in Fisk’s absence, leads to some great moments, showing what really makes Hell’s Kitchen tick. While the Punisher is the overarching adversary of the first few episodes, it seems this season is determined to flesh out the predators of New York, and bring a bit of variety to Daredevil’s rogues gallery.
Lastly, we cannot talk about this show without delving into the fight choreography. This season we are seeing more growth in Matthew’s style as he becomes the kind of combatant we have seen so often in the comics. While Daredevil still gets injured badly in his fights, he is more dominating towards many of his opponents. It takes someone especially skilled to really give him a fight for his life, as demonstrated in the opening scene, the average jewel thieves are little more than a nuisance to him. Matt Murdock has not become a magical ninja who can defeat anyone with ease, but he has become much more dangerous and his utilization of stealth and intimidation in season two, is truly something to behold. The fights are still brutal and can make you wince a bit at certain moments, but in all the best ways.
Three episodes deep and I hope everyone is enjoying this as much as I am. Full review soon to come, but for now it seems safe to say that Daredevil season two has achieved the difficult task of being a successful followup.
Nick Ramirez is finally on Twitter – peer pressure really works! Check back for the full review this week for Daredevil’s Second Season!