The next report card is for season 2 of the Marvel television series Daredevil available on Netflix.
Daredevil Season 2—starring Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock / Daredevil), Deborahn Ann Woll (Karen Page), Elden Henson (Foggy Nelson), Elodie Yung (Elektra Natchios), Jon Bernthal (Frank Castle / Punisher).
There's not much to say about Matt Murdock that wasn't already spoken about the last season, as the character hasn't downgraded in the slightest bit. It's interesting to see him struggle this season with how he needs to be more reserved rather than as brutal as he was before. Of course, in comparison to The Punisher, Daredevil looks harmless.
Foggy gets to show off his intelligence more, to the point where I actually buy into him being a legitimate lawyer now. Last season, he was kind of a bumbling sidekick for a good portion of it, and although he wasn't an idiot and he eventually was instrumental in the case against Wilson Fisk, from the start of this season, he's clearly advanced in confidence and skill. I'm still glad he took a bit of a backseat, though, as I wouldn't have wanted much more than what we got out of him.
Speaking of taking a backseat, Karen Page may have had just a tad too many scenes over the 13 episodes of season 2. At times, I felt like she was sticking around just because she's a main character and not because the plot dictated that she appear. I'm also getting a bit sick of the "woe is me" act about her being a bad person. By the third or fourth time this was brought up, I wanted her to just get her comeuppance already. Karen fills that Lois Lane role where she digs up some stuff and eats up time looking into things that could have probably been accomplished much quicker. Having her as a journalist rather than a secretary for the majority of this season just made me want Ben Urich back rather than the tag team of Karen and Ellison.
The Punisher's story arc was my favorite of this season by far. The episode where Frank Castle has Daredevil tied up on the rooftop equals or surpasses the hallway action scene from last season for my favorite moments of the show's history. I loved the idea of the power struggle coming up from the vacuum left behind by Kingpin, whose appearance was greatly appreciated as well. This is definitely my favorite version of The Punisher so far and I want to see a spinoff series for sure.
The other major storyline was The Hand with Elektra and Stick. Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed that most of this was so simple as to just be "insert ninja fight" but that the more complex plot behind it all is still up in the air. I want some clarification as to what Black Sky really is, damn it! Stick is the man, Elektra is welcome back any time, but I'll be disappointed if The Hand alone are the sole villains of The Defenders.
Nice to see shout outs to Jessica Jones characters, the Stilt Man legs, Melvin Potter in general still being quite cool, and a decent use for Turk. No Bullseye appearance, though? Still? Very disappointed in that.
Everyone from the previous season matches up to what they were before, so let's just jump right into the two major newbies who are both fantastic.
Jon Bernthal is the best Punisher yet, hands down. Somehow, he was able to do the character justice when it comes to the hard edge brutality and also throw in some humanity. Over the course of the season, I found myself thinking he was legitimately insane, downright a villain, or the best hero of them all. As hard as it would be to cheer someone like this in real life, I was rooting for the guy so much more than the other incarnations.
And then you have Elodie Yung as Elektra, who is pretty much the total opposite of Jennifer Garner's version, thankfully. I buy into her being a foreign assassin instead of just some bored white chick from Oklahoma or wherever Garner is from. I feel like it's Oklahoma for some reason. Anyway, Yung provides another example of a character that I probably wouldn't like for real because of how murderous she is, but I actually liked. She's got that "bad girl" sexiness going on that I was digging a lot.
VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): A
For the limited budget that this show is working with, I don't remember a single time that I thought something looked cheap. I'm sure the sets are recycled, but they're redressed well enough that I couldn't pinpoint anything looking too similar. There aren't a lot of visual effects to be concerned with, the makeup for all the wounds is believable and the costumes are reminiscent of the comic book iterations while keeping them grounded in reality.
MUSIC & SOUND: C–
By no means is anything offensive to the ears with this show, but I'm not a huge fan of the main title sequence and it actually bugged me that Netflix didn't skip it like they did with Jessica Jones. Having to manually skip past that theme 13 times got frustrating, and nothing else stood out to me as a positive to balance it out. Stick's theme from the last season was probably my favorite track and I can't even remember that necessarily being too prevalent this time around (although I could easily be wrong about that and just didn't pick up on it as I was focused on the action). The sound is fine, but the music could use an upgrade.
TONE (ACTION, ROMANCE, COMEDY): A–
This is definitely the darkest that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten so far when it comes to violence (with the sex aspect of the R-rating going to Jessica Jones of course, and I'm sure Luke Cage will push the boundaries for racial issues while Iron Fist will...uh...have glowy hands)
ACTION: Guns and ninjas galore. Sometimes, the stunt choreography got a bit fantastical with how Daredevil flips to kick so many people, but I'll allow it.
COMEDY: Not too much to laugh at here...
ROMANCE: Elektra is so much hotter than Karen, am I right?
FINAL GRADE: A
If you liked the last season, I can't imagine you'll be disappointed with this one. The weak point continues to be the need to keep Karen at the forefront instead of letting her take some time off like Foggy did this season, but by no means does this suffer from the same pacing and stretching issues that Jessica Jones did. This is a strong season that I highly recommend.