In recent years, the Marvel brand has become a powerhouse in cinema, releasing two films a year. This continuously broadening MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has branched out to small screens too, most impressively with the Netflix program “Daredevil”. The series recently aired their second season, and frankly, I loved it.
“Daredevil” is a show that, had it been like any of the other parts of the Marvel franchise, could have been another cookie-cutter addition to the Universe. Thankfully for the faithful viewer, this series packs a Hulking punch in terms of tone, action, and overall design.
Upon returning to Hell’s Kitchen, we find the blind lawyer by day, masked vigilante by night, Matt Murdock, and his legal team partners Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, plunged into an even darker world than before, when the The Punisher begins his bloody quest for vengeance. No spoilers here, but faces new and old begin to surface and it makes for one endlessly interesting show.
Tonally, this is Marvel’s darkest world. Violence is shown up close and personal, with blood and viscera up for display in an unflinching fashion. The fight scenes are handled immensely well. In an age when directors typically use the technique of quick cuts/shakey cam to confuse the audience into submission, the “Daredevil” team sets up fight scenes so that the viewer can actually see the performers moving coherently. It proves to the viewer that the production team actually cares about what is being made, and that’s alright with me. That being said, shot composition is beautiful throughout, and I noticed many long takes.
The addition of new characters was both needed and well executed, like with Frank Castle, AKA The Punisher, and Elektra. Their stories play out in a way that seems fluid to the story already in motion, and backstories are slowly given through flashback, or dialogue. It also happens that I found these two characters to be the most interesting throughout the season.
I typically watch Marvel films as a source of mindless entertainment. Each film feels like the last, structurally. While this show also builds upon the world already being built by the Disney owned company, it feels much different. No longer is the comic book film dependent on its humor to get the audience on board. "Daredevil" employs characters with depth and struggles in order to present a world that very well could happen.
The only problem with this season is that it loses steam by the end. After bringing back some auxiliary characters from the past season, Season 2 lost some of that exhilarating momentum it had built up. Also, while it’s clear that The Punisher is an absolute badass, even he cannot know where Daredevil is fighting at all times, making his constant interrupting and helping unrealistic and deus ex machina-y. But those are quite minor, in the scope of these 13 fantastic episodes.
“Daredevil” is a fast-paced, character driven action series which feels more HBO than Marvel, and it deserves your viewing, or rather you need to view it.