To begin this review, I must start with an apology to my readers (whomever you may be). I have not been extremely active of late and for that I'm truly sorry. A lack of things to write about has been the main cause of my absence, but after giving Season Two of Daredevil a quick binge, and then reading the reviews, I just had to throw in my two cents.
Wow. I simply have to address the utter and complete stupidity of quite a few reviewers first. You decided to excoriate a show that you only watched SEVEN episodes from! I'm looking at you, Entertainment Weekly and Time Magazine, and a number of other publications who frankly ought to issue the showrunners of Daredevil an apology. The reviews that many of these platforms gave were foolish, unfounded, and simply poor journalism. Anybody who wrote a searing review of a show that they barely watched and based most of their gripes on just a few short episodes is NOT a good reviewer. I, on the other hand, watched the entire show and have plenty of things to say about both it and their comments.
Spoilers for the entire season ahead (covered, of course).
So to start with, I have to applaud the showrunners for their efforts. It cannot have been easy to lose both Drew Goddard and Steven DeKnight, and that is something that they handled extremely well. They deserve praise, not attacks. The show is still just as well put together as it was before. The theme hasn't even changed, so clearly these guys were trying to make it look like the old guard hadn't even left. So great work, and I will be getting into the specifics of what makes Season 2 awesome.
Firstly, the new cast members. My God, these two have brought SO MUCH to the table and performed excellently in two roles that have NEVER been done right, and I'm talking in multiple films for both. Jon Bernthal is one hundred percent the BEST Punisher that could have been casted in this series, or any series/film from Marvel Entertainment for that matter. He is a nuanced, well-established, and brilliantly acted character. Bernthal is no amateur and he brings a great amount of subtlety to an extremely difficult character to portray in such a manner. On top of that, the writing is so good that it actually manages to make one feel sorry for a man who has murdered many people. His story is one of extreme tragedy and though I may have spoilers elsewhere in this article, I will not reveal it here. And yes, it does deviate from the comics, but it is very well done nonetheless. Furthermore, Elodie Yung has brought life back to another character that everyone reviled in her two film appearances, Elektra. She is another well-written and extremely well-acted character that brings new life to Daredevil's story. Both her and Bernthal's character bring a new ideological conflict to Daredevil; whether killing is right or wrong in defense of justice. This results in some great ideological exchanges, which many reviewers didn't appreciate; however, they bring depth and life to the characters and story and if you don't like them because they interrupt the fight scenes, you really should not be watching this show.
In other news, the returning cast is just as amazing as they were in Season One. Charlie Cox continues to be one of the best actors on television and continues to brilliantly portray a tortured Matt Murdock. Deborah Ann Woll gets a far more evolved role as Karen Page, and contrary to the statements of multiple reviewers, begins to fill the role of Ben Urich in later episodes in a way that I honestly didn't expect but thoroughly enjoyed. Elden Hensen once again does well as Foggy Nelson, though in one of my rare gripes about this season I will admit that he seemed a tad whinier and his dynamic with Matt was not as fun. However, he still was very well portrayed. Other returning characters (mostly in guest roles) included Ellison and various others, and they all did extremely well.
Entering spoiler territory here, I have to talk about the villains. Many reviewers moaned about the loss of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), arguably one of the best villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, I'm here to tell you that once again the reviewers got it wrong. Fisk DOES appear. He appears in a big way, and I won't get into that territory here but he absolutely is in the season and even his presence is a spoiler. More than that, he does an AMAZING job in a two-episode cameo, and it is extremely likely that he will return. Madame Gao from Season One also makes a fun guest appearance toward the end, and she was one of my favorite characters so of course I appreciated that. The "main villain" of the season, besides the obvious ideological issues between Daredevil and the Punisher, is either the Hand, portrayed straight out of the comics and featuring the return of the leader Nobu (who, yes, died in Season One), or the Blacksmith, an enigmatic character that is Punisher's nemesis. These two story arcs coalesce well in the season finale.
As I said, the story is twofold. One arc focuses on the Punisher and his war on those who wronged him. The other focuses on Elektra and the Hand, finally revealing the war that Stick talked about in Season 1. These two arcs eventually meet in the season finale in a way, which I won't get into. Also, they thread through the subplots regarding Matt's burgeoning relationship with Karen (not a spoiler, it was in the trailers), the future of Nelson and Murdock, and the general idea of Matt's double life. The writing and storyline are absolutely excellent. They follow the comics in some ways and adapt them in other ways. It is so fun to watch a show dig into backstory right out of the comics but also make new variants of it for its own purposes.
THE FIGHT SCENES AND SPECIAL EFFECTS
I'll make this one brief as it is not necessary to get into much. The fight scenes are just as good as Season One, if not better. The dynamic of the Punisher and Elektra in the fighting is absolutely amazing when added in. The costuming and special effects are also great. They alter Elektra's costume from the comics in a modest and very utilitarian manner that is possible for everyone to enjoy, and the Punisher's outfit is identical to his from the comics. Those who despised Matt's costume from the end of Season One will find that it is very similar until he gets an upgrade, and I for one loved both versions. The special effects are all great, though really they seem all practical and there is once again next to no use of CGI. Overall, all of this is excellent and done very well.
Don't listen to the haters. Daredevil Season Two is one of the best seasons of television I have seen in my life, as part of the best show I have ever seen. I cannot express how wrong some of these reviewers were, and I hope that literally no one listens to them. Daredevil is still trucking on, in a season that absolutely delivers.