It is a beautiful day outside so I will start with the good stuff, here is what I think was especially good about Daredevil season 2.
The fights are for the most part beautifully shot and choreographed of course not every scene is stellar but as a whole, you could not ask for much more this season. The addition of the Punisher definitely ratcheted up the brutality this season from his hallway scene complete with crotch shanking to him pistol-whipping a guy in a diner, I do not want to be on his naughty list.
Each of the main characters has a different fighting style, which allows the fights to feel and look very different. Elektra has a very acrobatic style incorporating lots of spins and flips to move around her enemy. Matt is a mix of Electra and the Punisher, sometimes he will just run in with a haymaker of a punch but he also can’t resist a nice barrel roll kick. The Punisher is the exact opposite of Elektra, he works with no wasted movement and is efficiently brutal, what he lacks in style is made up for in effectiveness.
The best fight scenes of the second season are the two hallway scenes, one for Daredevil and the Punisher each, and the final fight with the Hand. With the Defenders and a third season in the horizon it will be interesting to see if the choreographers can continue to come up with interesting ways to stage the fights to keep them from getting stale. I know I will be there week one to find out if they were successful.
I know that this in an unpopular opinion, but here it is, I dint care for the Kingpin in Season 1. I know most people consider him a highlight of the first season but I did not find his social awkwardness and delayed development or whatever it was, he had going on last season. I want a Kingpin that can rule a prison with a few bribes and some smooth talk. I want a Kingpin always on the edge of losing control and killing his enemies with his nearly superhuman strength and rage. I want a braggadocios Kingpin that says this is my city and I will own it and run it as I see fit try and stop me, and that was the Kingpin I got. With the threat from the Kingpin and the unsolved mystery that is the Hand, I could see either of them being what brings the Defenders together or as the focus of season 3, if they want the Defenders to be on a bigger scale.
I think that everyone that played a major character this season was better than the first season. Charlie Cox will make you believe he is blind as the master of the 1,000-yard stare. I could make a list of every character from my favorite to least favorite and it would nothing to do with the actor or actress portraying them. Some of them don’t always get the best dialogue or have that much to do for most of the season but whenever they are on screen I am happy that they are there and don’t want them to leave when the show is ready to move on.
The Good and the Bad:
I could jump right into what I did not like about season 2 now, but I think there is something important to mention first because it could go into either category. It is the best and possibly worst part of this season and it is the inclusion of the Punisher and Elektra. I know some people may have just closed this post because of that statement but for those of you that stuck around thanks for hearing me out. I think the season suffered from adding in both of these characters. I think it could have been much stronger with one focal point. With the way, the season was structured with the Punisher taking the first four episodes and then being the B or C story of the rest of the season it is left lacking. Elektra is introduced nearly 25% of the way into the show and this leaves her story feeling a bit rushed and unfulfilling. With the recent news of the Punisher spin off, I believe we will get more of his backstory and why he believes his way is the only way to serve justice. That leads me to guess that season 3 will focus on Elektra and the Hand. If that happens, I hope they will answer the many questions I have after the season finale. Where did Elektra come from, what is a black sky, is Nobu a zombie and if so, why doesn’t that seem to excite or terrify anyone? Now the hard choice that the creators couldn’t make for us, who would we choose if we were going to focus on just one of them? I would have gone with the Punisher and his war on terror and Matt’s personal life. I think the more mystical stuff that is tied to the Elektra storyline could have waited until after this November’s Dr. Strange.
Ok now that part is over let us get to what was bad about this season.
Matt was a horrible friend this entire season. Willing to ditch his team at the drop of a hat, refusing to trust them, yelling and belittling them when they will not bow to his desires or point of view. It mostly seems to be in response to the Punisher’s challenge of how effective he is as Daredevil. He is challenged briefly in several episodes but they quickly move on from that tactic letting him fall back into being a jerk. Foggy tries to call him on it and in the end issues an ultimatum that may end their partnership/friendship permanently. Karen runs away and avoids Matt for much of the season after the will they/won’t they quickly dissolves into she won’t. Claire is a do-gooder and will help Matt out when she can but for the most part, she does not want his chaos in her life so prolonged arguing with him is not worth it to her. With him having free reign to act how he wants he turns his back on his friends for Elektra then when she does not act the way he wants her to he tries to run back to his friends. I think the death of Elektra will allow him to be more of the Matt we loved in season 1. The very last scene is him trying to repair his relationship with Karen and I cannot imagine he will not be working on Foggy soon after.
While they make for exciting fights, they are mostly a mystery with only vague Stick-isms to provide us any clues to what they might be planning. Why can Nobu come back from the dead, what happened to the five creepy kids from the hospital, what is a Black Sky, and what will they do with Elektra now that they have her. You can tell from the final fight that the Hand was mishandled because I had no idea if they were willing to kill Elektra or not. They seemed to be pulling their punches at least a little but they were not just ignoring her in an effort to kill Daredevil and Stick. If they can do what they planned on doing, even after she is killed why didn’t they just do that with the kid from season 1? It may have something to do with the fake Children of the Corn and the blood sarcophagus but we will have to wait and see.
This is a very minor problem but I needed a third issue for the sake of balance so here we are. Karen is one-step away from Forrest Gumping her way through this series, I know that sounds silly but hear me out. She is a small town girl who constantly finds herself in situations that are out of her league but she somehow finds a way to best it. In two seasons, she has gone from a secretary to a whistleblower to the best legal aid ever, who is considering law school, to the hot new investigative journalist. At this rate next season, Foggy will become obsessed with some food item and all the ways it can be prepared. Her voice over and the end of the season was a low point that should have been cut out. As I discussed before her article did not fit any of the parameters that her editor gave her and it did not fit the season. She talks about how everyone in the town is a survivor and a hero, that is great, but this season did not care about the city. Other than Matt repeatedly referring to it as his city, and how he has to protect it, this season has nothing to do with the city. Nelson and Murdock are the lawyers for the little people in Hell’s Kitchen but the only clients we see them work with this time around have killed at least two people. Not the normal cases for men whose big focus seemed to be keeping old women from being evicted or local businesses from being shut down.
Overall, I really enjoyed season 2 of Daredevil and I cannot wait to see where they take season 3 and what will bring the Defenders together. Other than Foggy and Claire of course, because they are the contacts to the world of the other New York vigilantes like Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. If they decide to focus on one storyline even if it means cutting back from 13 to 10 episodes I think the third season could be their best.