What is a hero? What makes us heroic? What is the true meaning of justice and who is in charge of imposing it? Those are the ever present questions in every single superhero story. And when these stories are presented in a cinematic format, the same questions do not go away. They just simply get magnified.
Daredevil season one was not only groundbreaking, it was also a fantastic piece of work. Although tv series based on comic book characters are not a rare item, Marvel's and Netflix's attention to detail set this particular show on a category of its own. The result was not only enjoyable and believable, but also faithful and extraordinary. It changed the way we see this type of stories on the small tv screen.
Now with season 2 finally here, the excitement is running really high. Obviously, we want to know if this season is as good or even better than the previous one. In the next few minutes I will answer that question and many more. I will try my best to keep this review spoiler free, but as you know, some things are necessary to be mentioned. I can assure you though, your time will be well invested.
The first thing you are going to notice in this season is the high level of action. From the first 4 episodes the adrenaline kicks in and it rarely slows down. The action is brutal but it is highly effective. Every fight scene is executed to perfection. If you thought that season one was good in that department, get ready to be blown away. This season has more explosions, gun battles, ninja assassins and hand to hand combat than you can count.
One of the fears many fans expressed prior to this new season, was the departure of some of the main writers in season one. As we have seen in the past, changes like this can affect the tone and the direction of any story. But thankfully, season 2 flows very naturally and maintains seamless continuity with season 1. Not only that, the show feels like a comic book story more than ever before. While many TV shows brag about doing this, only a handful do it accurately. Of these selected few, Daredevil is without a doubt the front runner.
What separates good shows from bad shows is the acting. In that regard, Daredevil's cast is clearly at the top. By now, we have grown accustomed to the main characters and we have established a connection with them. We share their goals and ideals. We even feel their pain and their doubts. This level of intimacy allows for viewers to invest themselves into the story. Although I enjoyed the previous Jessica Jones series for the most part, I felt that some of the supporting characters and their side stories were flat and uninteresting. Fortunately, I don't feel the same way about the actors and actresses on Daredevil. Each character adds a new layer of complexity to the main plot.
If there is one thing that Daredevil has above anything else, it is flair. The show's presentation is immaculate. From the grittiness of the film to the effectiveness of the music score, all visual and aesthetic aspects are right on point. Colors, shadows and sounds help to enhance the sense of tension and suspense at every opportunity.
Before getting into this part of the review, I would like to point out that my views are a reflection of my personal experience and they need to be taken as such. Unequivocally, every person thinks differently based on his or her own experience, therefore, opinions always differ.
The thing that surprises me the most about this show is the level of violence. Gory and extreme violence. It is fair to say that season 1 had its share of dark scenes, but season 2 takes it many steps further. There are plenty cringing moments throughout. Personally, I have no issue with the final product. After all, Daredevil's world has always been dark. But it is important to note that this show earns its Mature rating with flying colors. Some viewers may find this violence refreshing while others may find it offensive. At the end, everyone needs to take this into account before attempting to watch the show.
Punisher played by Jon Bernthal and Elektra played by Èlodie Yung are certainly the biggest highlights of the season. But also, they are some its weakest points. This has nothing to do with their histrionic talent, which by the way is exceptional, but with the way the characters were written and with their screen time. As anti-heroes they are very likable and you want to see more of them, but unfortunately, the time restrictions limit the development of these two important characters. Whether this is the intention of the studio for future seasons or separate series, it is matter of speculation. I hope and pray that we can get to see more of them in the not so distant future.
The biggest point of contention for me about this season is its ending. In some ways it is predictable and a bit disappointing. The show starts very strong and moves swiftly towards a final showdown. Throughout each episode you are kept in the dark wondering about the next. There are visible and invisible players fighting for control. But when we come to the final chapter, somehow the outcome feels like a letdown. Some may argue that the end was necessary, but in my opinion, it was just the easy route. One thing is for sure, it allows for the series to keep building upon its foundation.
Daredevil season 2 has all the elements of a winning formula. It does more good than what it does wrong. In many aspects it is superior to season 1, but in many others it is not. One thing is clear, through this collaboration with Netflix, Marvel has found a way to engage with an important sector of its audience. A sector that not only lives, breathes and loves comics, but one that is hungry for more mature content. It is definitely a slap in the face to those constantly claiming that Marvel cannot handle dark and serious stories. The success of Daredevil proves that Marvel is listening very carefully to the wants and needs of its fanbase. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it surely is a great piece of cinematic art. It may not be a guarantee for the future, but it is another giant step towards it. One thing is certain, Marvel is going full steam ahead and we are already on the train. Whatever tomorrow brings, I'm all for it.
Final Score : 9/10 - Excellent