Daredevil was an outstanding hit in 2015; if you’re interested check out my review. Cliff notes though; the Daredevil Netflix series allowed Marvel to move into darker territory than their major cinema releases. See the darkest the Marvel Cinematic Universe got before Daredevil was The Winter Solider which is a brilliant film, but still wouldn’t really classify as “dark”. When I say dark I don’t mean the “brooding tough guy who quips often and likes to punch things” stereotype, I’m talking actual darkness; flawed characters, grim realism, etc. Daredevil’s first season had that in spades from the brilliant portrayal of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime and his ability to seamlessly transition from dignified socialite to violent psychopath with a penchant for decapitation via car doors to Daredevil himself and his constant struggle for balancing his law-abiding life as a blind lawyer who helps people and his night time vigilantism.
Daredevil successfully captured a tone found in a handful of really good Marvel books and made it work across its 13 episode run. Season 2 basically continues that trend while fleshing out certain ideas and characters on a greater level; the introduction of The Punisher, a no nonsense anti-hero who quite happily kills any and all people connected with organised crime is fantastic. The Punisher, like the titular character, had to suffer through some really bad cinematic adaptations before finally getting the chance to be portrayed well and it’s worth it; Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead) is absolutely fantastic, nailing the character perfectly and presenting the ideal image of a man possessed. The entire storyline between The Punisher and Daredevil boils down to a moral argument of justice vs vengeance over a backdrop of amazingly choreographed fight sequences and bullets.
The second major introduction this season is that of Elektra Natchios, the Greek assassin is portrayed expertly by Elodie Yung, who breathes life into yet another character that had to suffer through poor adaptations, (seriously, go watch 2003’s Daredevil or 2005’s Elektra with Jennifer Garner). Yung’s version of Natchios is much more in line with the characterisation originally envisioned by Frank Miller; she’s on par with Daredevil in terms of physical prowess, she doesn’t share his moral compass when it comes to killing and she fills out the femme fatale trifecta by being the most seductive character Marvel’s ever put to screen. Elektra’s storyline also works to set up the upcoming Iron Fist series by expanding on the secret ninja organisation The Hand who had a limited debut in the first season of Daredevil. The Hand storyline does feel a little rushed, but it’s held together by the excellent performances by Yung and lead actor Charlie Cox, their chemistry is absolutely amazing to watch.
While the second season in general holds up to the stellar benchmark set by the first, the absence of Vincent D’Onofrio is certainly felt. While The Punisher and Elektra are both excellent characters and do well to add depth to the Daredevil roster, the absence of an identifiable season villain or Big Bad is unfortunately noticeable. Much like sister series Jessica Jones, Daredevil needed a Kilgrave this season, hopefully next year when we get to see the arrival of Daredevil’s arch-nemesis Bullseye and the return of The Kingpin this hole will be filled. For now, Daredevil season two will have to deal with its 8.7/10. Well earned, in my view.