Thursday, March 31, 2016

Daredevil, Season Two: The Punisher Rises, And Elektra Arrives

Marvel Comics has had great success on the big screen in recent years with their superhero film franchises such as The Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America. They’ve also enjoyed some success on the small screen with series such as Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Daredevil & Jessica Jones. Daredevil recently premiered its second season on Netflix. The show focuses on the adventures of Matthew Murdock, who was blinded in an accident when he was a child, but finds the rest of his senses are heightened. He fights injustice in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen as a lawyer by day, and the red clad superhero Daredevil by night. The first season focused on Daredevil taking on crime lord Wilson Fisk, otherwise known to comics readers as The Kingpin. It was a well-done arc, nicely balancing action & character development as Matt grows into his role as a hero.

The current season introduces two additional Marvel heroes. In fact, the first half of the season focuses mostly on the take no prisoners vigilante, The Punisher, played by Jon Bernthal, best known to viewers as Shane on The Walking Dead. His lethal style of crime fighting is to take down criminals, permanently, by killing them. This brings him into conflict with Daredevil, who is willing to bring the bad guys to justice, but draws the line at killing. While the character’s origin is changed slightly from the comics, Bernthal is excellent in the role. His physical & verbal sparring sessions with Daredevil (Charlie Cox) are among the high points of the first few episodes. In fact, you could almost call this run of episodes “Punisher: Year One.” It’s a nice counterpoint to Matt’s sometimes angst-ridden heroics to show The Punisher’s revenge-focused, single-minded war on crime.

The other well-known character that shows up this season is Elektra, a deadly ninja who is also Matt’s former love interest. She clearly has a hidden agenda, and draws Matt back into her life, and her intrigues, just as he’s starting a romance with Karen Page, his co-worker at the law firm he founded with his friend Foggy Nelson. I’ve viewed half the episodes from the season thus far, and if you’re a fan of the characters, this is a must see. The series is well cast, well produced & solidly written & directed. If you're an action fan, the fights on the show this year raise the bar on well-choreographed action sequences. Drawing its inspiration from classic comic runs on the character from writers such as Bill Everett, Frank Miller, Brian Michael Bendis & Ed Brubaker, among others, Marvel's Daredevil is one of the best superhero series on television. Both seasons are now available on Netflix. Here’s a link to a trailer for Season 2:

4/24/13: Review update: I've now seen every episode of this season, and I can honestly say the rest of the storyline lives up to the promise of the first half. The season of Daredevil truly delivers, and builds on the promise of the series first year. This is an excellent run of shows, and fans of the character (as well as newcomers to the Marvel Universe) will not be disappointed.

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