Reviews and entertainment articles by Dave Simpson
Marvel’s man without fear is back for another thirteen episodes of crime fighting frolics following his much lauded debut on Netflix last year. Featuring the return of the core cast as well as introducing more fan favourites, Daredevil’s second small screen outing is certainly exciting, even if it does have a few flaws.
The plot picks up where it left off last season. Archenemy Wilton Fisk is behind bars, but that doesn’t mean that the streets are safe. Some spectres from Matt Murdock’s past have descended upon Hell’s Kitchen and are out to cause chaos for the attorney turned hero and his closest confidantes.
Expanding the cast to include Elektra and the Punisher brings a lot to the table in terms of drama and development. Each of them acts as a catalyst for arcs that add extra layers to the character of Daredevil and the show as a whole. However, the way in which their respective plots go off in different directions makes the season feel fractured and unfocused at times. As narratives unto to themselves, what happens with both characters is well executed and compelling, but it would have been more satisfying had their stories integrated a bit better.
That’s not to say the show is any less enjoyable this time around though. Daredevil definitely delivers another relentlessly entertaining thirteen hours of television. The action is especially impressive, far surpassing the preceding season when it comes to aesthetic and spectacle. Highlights include a superb stairwell skirmish and a confrontation between the Punisher and a pack of prisoners.
All of the central characters, whether familiar or fresh, are very well written too. Everyone fulfils a purpose, even if all of their threads don’t intertwine with one another.
Charlie Cox is magnificent again, putting in a powerful performance as the titular character. The amount of charm and poise with which he endows Matt Murdock makes him a hero in whom it is extremely easy to invest.
Elden Henson is also likable as Murdock’s best friend/business partner Foggy Nelson, but the downward turn their relationship eventually takes feels played out and repetitive. It only serves to harm Foggy as a character, even if his issues are justified.
Exploring the romantic feelings between Murdock and Karen Page doesn’t work as well as it could have either. The main reason for this is that Karen ends up having better chemistry with Frank Castle, while Murdock has a better back and forth with Elektra.
Speaking of the exotic assassin, she’s something of an acquired taste here. Élodie Yung does a good job of conveying the character’s quirkiness, but it can be irksome during her initial appearances. It’s when her background begins to be revealed and she starts to show her more serious side that Elektra really starts to get intriguing. She also facilitates some excellent action scenes for Daredevil.
As talented as the rest of the cast are though, it is without a doubt Jon Bernthal that steals the show with his mind-blowing portrayal of the Punisher. While he’s involved in some absolutely exhilarating set-pieces, it’s during the more emotional moments delving into Frank Castle’s psyche that Bernthal is at his best. The intensity of his acting in these instances is simply astounding. This is inarguably the most human version of the vengeful vigilante to appear onscreen to date and he needs his own spinoff ASAP.
It might not be as perfect as its previous season and the lack of unity between individual arcs can occasionally disrupt the flow of events, but Daredevil’s sophomore year is still a cut above most other shows on the air at the moment. With complex characters, riveting action and engrossing stories, each episode should leave viewers dying to dive into the next.
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