Remember how three reviews ago, I criticized the otherwise awesome Netflix TV show DAREDEVIL for having a boring lead who takes up the life of costumed vigilantism because of some fucked up sense of entitlement to heroics and martyrdom? Apparently, someone over there in Netflix thought the exact same thing and decided to shit all over Matt Murdock’s crusade of justice and expose how much of an idiot he is.
You see, DAREDEVIL Season 2 does what very few Superhero Stories set out to do unless the director’s name is Christopher Nolan: deconstruct the license at hand while paying respect to it and may I say Season 2 does a fucking good job at doing both for Marvel’s most famous ninja.
No, Zack Snyder didn’t make it to that list but let’s ignore his bullshit nihilism for a bit and focus on a blind attorney at law who actually delivers the goods in terms of realistic takes on Superheroes.
If DAREDEVIL Season 1 was all about reintroducing an old Marvel hero to the public, Season 2 goes the extra mile and shows the ramifications of his heroics from 13 episodes ago. Thanks to his vigilantism, Matt Murdock accidentally inspires a new breed of heroes and criminals to thrive in Hell’s Kitchen who could rip the place in half twice over with the amount of firepower they bear and now he’s on some seriously heavy damage control duty. Add in some heavy legal battles and honest to goodness ninjas and you’re in for 13 episodes of one hell of a clusterfuck, which is what Matt Murdock finds himself in when he’s both in and out of the Daredevil costume.
DAREDEVIL’s second season ups the game already shown in its previous run by emphasizing the debate about how effective or otherwise Daredevil’s squeaky clean morals and principals regarding justice are and by god does the show have a heyday wrecking Murdock’s shit. Right from the get go, characters like the best live-action portrayal of the Punisher question Daredevil’s overall impact and just how minimal change for the better is in Hell’s Kitchen but these conflicts of ideologies aren’t as exciting as one may hope for. Things get annoying when these so-called debates almost always end up siding in Daredevil’s favor because he IS the titular character of the fucking show but when the writers go through great lengths to paint the other side of the argument as either mentally damaged or just plain psychotic while putting Murdock on a pedestal of sanity, some of the pro-legal system pointers fall flat because Murdock’s essentially debating with strawmen and people who seriously need a psychiatrist. On one end it does shine a new light to established characters like how the Punisher is stuck in an almost permanent state of aggression thanks to a bullet lodged in his head but on the other hand, it’s character demolition before the debate even fucking happens.
But before you call season 2 biased, DAREDEVIL Season 2 spends an equal amount of time drilling holes into Murdock’s ideology and man is it fucking glorious when pretty much everyone in the cast calls him out for his stupidity, especially when his boy scout mentality literally endangers the people fighting with him. More than once, Daredevil stops his allies from delivering the killing blow because murder is against the Ten Commandments and in doing so, Matt gives the enemy ninja with a sword the opening to fucking stab Elektra with a poisoned blade. Fucking smart, Matty.
Sure, it gets annoying and frustrating when Daredevil stops others from doing the most sane thing in the middle of life-or-death combat especially when in doing so, he looks more like a teacher’s pet rather than someone who just believes in following the law to the letter but the show more than makes up for it by exposing Daredevil as the pompous self-righteous twat he really is. Thanks to this, the heavily advertised crux of the season where Murdock questions his entire crusade is shown spectacularly and you’d be a fucking liar if your opinion didn’t flip flop from one side to the other at certain points in the show’s 13 episode run.
While the show does get the previously mentioned parts right, it still manages to bungle up the same shit that stopped season 1 from being perfect. Again, everyone else in the cast is more interesting than Matt Murdock and this is never more evident when DAREDEVIL Season 2 ambitiously branches into having multiple character arcs that happen alongside Murdock’s. Here, you have Murdock’s crusade for justice being questioned and happening alongside that is the Punisher’s introduction and establishment in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Elektra’s relationship with Matt, the personal struggles of the aspiring lawfirm Nelson & Murdock and the introduction of this series’ version of HYDRA, the ancient ninja clan collectively known as The Hand. The show does a good job of balancing all of these yarns and spreading them evenly over the course of a single season but when you put these story threads side by side against each other, it’s hard not to pick a favorite and wish one arc would just fucking end so that the episode could get back to the more interesting shit. Case in point, I couldn’t really give a fuck about the whole Elektra-Murdock romance plot because it was easy to guess where it would go plus the whole “I’m not a killer” conflict gets boring really fast but every time it ended to make way for the Punisher arc, I’d find my interest in the show shooting up when just a second ago it was close to flat lining. Add the fact that majority of the mysteries being hinted at in this show could’ve been ended quickly if Matt just fucking asked someone what the fuck was going on and it’s hard to take The Hand seriously even if everyone in the cast keeps hinting at how dangerous this group is via vague foreboding statements.
Then again, since Murdock’s being portrayed as a naive idiot half the fucking time, I wouldn’t put it against the other characters like Stick and Elektra for keeping him in the dark because who in their right mind would want the goddamned boyscout wannabe on their side in a war that’s sure to cause a lot of human casualties. People are going to fucking die and then there’s this asshole busy backseat driving and repeatedly yelling about how murder is bad. Who the hell wants that kind of jackass on their team? It also doesn’t help his case when this version of the Punisher proves to be a goddamned beast who steals the show every time he’s on screen and Frank Castle’s turn for the dark is a hundred times more engaging than watching Daredevil fight some vague blood sucking threat that’s only around because Season 3 of DAREDEVIL is going to fucking happen and Marvel would be damned if they didn’t hint at it more than a hundred times in a story that would work perfectly well as a stand-alone arc.
But when all of this crap happens in a show that features ninjas and stereotypical gangbangers as its primary antagonists in a story headlined by a trio of ambitious legal practitioners that work in the same world where the global security agency of SHIELD exists and is still one of the most human stories in the Marvel roster, you know the guys calling the shots are doing a fucking great job. I’ll always have my issues with Daredevil as a character because he was always one of the most boring boyscout heroes I’ve seen in comics (unless someone like pre-HOLY TERROR Frank Miller wrote his adventures) but this is the first time I actually gave a fuck about the lawyer in spandex and Netflix deserves a lot of credit for that. I doubt I’m alone in admitting that when I first heard of a Daredevil TV show on Netflix, I had a lot of doubt concerning the credibility of the final product, only to be proven wrong and two seasons later my amused disbelief stands strong and it’s a feeling I won’t mind lingering for a while longer.
Every time DAREDEVIL Season 2 looked like it wrote itself into a corner, it always managed to find a way to awesomely kick the negative expectations in the fucking ass and rise to the occasion as one of the more mature storylines Marvel has to offer. As annoying as some flaws may be (especially those related to Murdock’s boring black-and-white morality), this show still beat up all expectations and proved itself to be one hell of a worthy watch.
Do yourself a favor and watch this show ASAP.
Also, Netflix, if you’re reading this, please make a Punisher TV show. I fucking love the character and your interpretation of Frank Castle is fucking amazing, one that deserves thirteen episodes dedicated to his gun wielding brand of justice. Make it happen.
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