The best series to date on Netflix is back and it’s bigger than ever.
We all know the story, a blind vigilante with super-senses and a virtual radar fights crime while defending the downtrodden by day as a lawyer. The first season of Netflix’s Daredevil saw Matt Murdock come up against Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of crime and (eventually) gain his famous behorned costume. In season two we’re introduced to even more characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the Daredevil canon and a much bleaker, grittier storyline. Oh and ninjas, shitloads of ninjas.
Charlie Cox is brilliant once again as Murdock/Daredevil and his fight scenes are nothing short of amazing. I’m sure we all recall the single-shot corridor fight scene in season 1 episode 2, well as unlikely as it sounds they out-do themselves here, when the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen takes on the Dogs of Hell biker gang in a stairwell of a high rise building. Brutal and athletic, Cox is not a man to be trifled with. In fact it’s the best fight sequence I have ever seen on the small or big screen. Another exciting new development for geeks like me is the first outing for Daredevil’s billy club, I almost wept at the sight of it.
This is also our first glimpse at The Punisher in the MCU, and what a glimpse it is. Jon Bernthal from The Walking Dead steals every scene he’s in. His Frank Castle will make you instantly forget all the other cinematic incarnations (like you needed any help doing that). In a fantastically ‘comic book accurate’ portrayal of Marvel’s greatest anti-hero, Bernthal piles on the emotion and takes you on a tour of the moral grey area that makes up The Punisher’s world. Some of the scenes featuring Frank Castle talking at length about his family are genuine lump-in-the-throat moments. This is a genuinely award-worthy performance that demands more screen time in the future.
We’re also introduced to Daredevil’s legendary love interest Elektra Natchios. Elodie Yung brings Elektra to life in a way that Jennifer Garner never could. She is beautiful and psychotic in equal measure. A pure cold-blooded killer with a soft spot for our optically challenged hero. Sure we get the costume and the Sai but more importantly we get a vulnerability that makes you feel sorry for Elektra, despite her murderous intent.
Did I mention ninjas? Well we have all the ninjas this season. The mysterious ninja clan named The Hand are the biggest threat to Hell’s Kitchen and maybe even the entire planet. We also get more Kingpin and Stick action. Vincent D’Onofrio was the real star of season 1 with his cold, calculated and incredibly violent, portrayal of Fisk. This season we get to see what he’s been up to while being behind bars: becoming a lot scarier. Scott Glen’s turn as Daredevil’s mentor and surrogate father Stick has a lot more storyline here, taking us into supernatural territory. This is certainly the start of a move towards the mooted Defenders team up series.
The theme in this season is the moral problems that come when you kill people for ‘justified’ reasons. Both Elektra and The Punisher take lives without a second thought. This is against Daredevil’s code but as the season progresses this line between right and wrong is blurred beyond recognition. The Punisher’s arc in particular takes us from vicious bad guy to Daredevil’s dangerous ally in the shadows. This feels like a natural progression thanks to some excellent writing.
Daredevil season 2 has everything I could wish for and frankly it’s the most entertaining thing on Netflix right now. I watched the first nine episodes on the day of its release, staying up till 4am in the morning. That is addictive television right there! It has brutally realistic action, fantastic performances and the Punisher we all deserve. In fact, if they don’t give Jon Bernthal his own series now then Marvel deserves to be shot in the face.