After the Marvel-ous inaugural season chronicling the origin of the Scarlet Swashbuckler and his struggle against the Kingpin, we revisit Hell’s Kitchen once more.
The second season of Daredevil is a deeper dive into the dark underbelly of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show examines the fine line dividing the heroes from the villains and furthers expands the universe while still being saturated with kick-ass action sequences.
After the events of the first season, blind attorney Matt Murdock is enjoying his newfound acceptance as The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, taking advantage of the interregnum in the criminal world caused by the Kingpin’s arrest. However, the peace in Hell’s Kitchen is cut short by the explosive arrival of The Punisher, played by John Bernthal, a vigilante who has no qualms about cutting down any criminals who get in his way.
The conflict between The Punisher and Daredevil, and their respective methods of crime-fighting, provides much of the intellectual heft for the story. The show does an amazing job presenting the pros and cons of both men’s positions and letting the audience decide before both characters try to bash each other in a stylishly, choreographed brawl.
Daredevil tries his best to work within the system of law, but his nocturnal activities undermine his efforts. The Punisher isn’t a hypocrite when it comes to the morals of what he does, but his actions do have a negative effect on the psyche of the residents of Hell’s Kitchen.
While the struggle between The Punisher and Daredevil is at the heart of the plot for season two, viewers are, also, introduced to Elektra and The Hand. The Hand is a secret order of assassins who are looking to exploit the vacuum left behind by Kingpin’s departure. Much like The Punisher, Elektra is a darker reflection of Daredevil since she has no issue with killing and engages in vigilantism purely for the thrills.
The action sequences for this season are some of the best I’ve seen. There are so many moments that are visceral, intense and ultimately gratifying. The show will have you jonesing for the next episode purely on the action. From ninjas invading a hospital, to Daredevil clearing a building full of bikers with a chain in hand, to The Punisher dispatching a hitman with a coffee pot, this season is a prime example of action choreography at its finest.
While The Hand lends itself to some eye-popping action sequences, I’m not exactly a fan of the venture into mysticism. To me, Daredevil works better as a noir superhero tale, a story of one man who fights the ills of society as a lawyer by day and as a vigilante by night. Ninjas are cool, but I don’t really think they work in a show that’s trying give both visions of the character their due.
Another minor complaint is that Bernthal is so amazing as The Punisher that he slightly overshadows Daredevil. I really do hope that he gets his own show because that is fertile ground for storytelling.
Overall, the second season of Daredevil offers more bombastic action while expanding the universe. The performances are still great, but the show really shines when there are fisticuffs on-screen. There are things I would have changed, like reducing the number of episodes featuring The Hand and focus more on Matt balancing his work with his nightly incursions.
That said, Daredevil is still quality work, showcasing a character near and dear to my fanboy-ish heart. Now, if only Bullseye could make an appearance.