DAREDEVIL – SEASON 2 (2016)

Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll in a still

An exceptionally well made series that is brimming with pulsating action, simmering drama and intriguing plot

— Ambar Chatterjee

Daredevil Season 2 picks up from where the first season left off. The story moves along in three tracks. Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) are trying to rebuild their law careers. Mat gets considerable success in cleaning up crime by being Daredevil and striking fear among the criminals of the area. Sadly, Hell’s kitchen becomes the hunting ground for a new vigilante who is dubbed as The Punisher by the masses. He not only guns down goons and erases the existence of gangs but also seems to be out for blood in a way that points to vengeance. Daredevil cannot accept the ultra violence that he is unleashing on the neighborhood and hence sets out to incapacitate him and hand him over to the police.

The next track involves a mysterious woman from Matt’s past, Elektra (Élodie Yung ). The two have had a past romantic relationship. Elektra was not only in love with Matt but also coerced him into unleash his inner devil atleast on one occasion. Thereafter, Matt realized the negative influence of her company and walked away from her. She is now back in town and requests Matt’s support to clean up the infestation of the Yakuzas that is poised to threaten the safety and security of the people of Hell’s Kitchen and will also be a bigger menace than what he has dealt with thus far. As Matt decides to help her in her endeavors, he starts seeing a connection between the Yakuzas, his mentor Stick (Scott Glenn) and Elektra.

The third track of the story involves Matt and his relationship with his friends, Foggy and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and also how it is affected by Matt’s involvement in the other two tracks of the story. Karen starts developing feelings for Matt and that creates some interesting dynamics between the three. Even Matt seems to be interested in the relationship but things turn confusing when Elektra resurfaces and Matt starts feeling that she might be trying to change so that she could be with him for the rest of her life. If all that was enough, we also have a small portion involving the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and his efforts to use the Punisher to his advantage to wipe out his competition in the Hell’s Kitchen that would in a way help his release and getting back in power in  the territory.

Jon Bernthal as the Punisher

The second season of Daredevil is just as good as the first season if not better. I Just loved how the creators ensured that the action and the drama felt as close to reality as possible. In a series like this, one assumes that romance and interpersonal drama would always take a back seat but that is not the case here. Take for example the budding romance between Matt and Karen. The directors build up their chemistry through the course of atleast 4-5 episodes. They come physically close on numerous occasions and everytime that happens one can sense a heightened feel of emotions. When they kiss for the first time, it is electric. Even after so much, they never get physical. This just elevates their romance to a whole new level.

Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal ) plays his character in a manner that fills if with a sense of heightened emotions at every action that he is shown committing. He feels every kill. He barks his dialogs as much as he mouths them. He is shown to be emotionally tormented and it is depicted through his longing looks at various characters who he is not out to kill. His mannerisms, movements and his eerie comfort with pain make his character stand out and exude the exact feel that was needed to make it believeable. The same can be said about the character of Elektra played by Élodie Yung who ends up on the other end of the spectrum to Frank Castle in terms of character design. Many felt that the Elektra track dragged and unnecessarily elongated the runtime of the series. I didn’t feel that way and infact enjoyed this bit immensely.

The action of the series is still scintillating. I would like to draw the attention of my readers to two action sequences in particular that I felt was of a whole new level. The first takes place in the stair cases of a shady building where we see Daredevil muscle his way through an ever increasing number of attackers. He uses his mitts and a chain to tear through them like a knife through butter. The next takes place in a jail cell where we witness the obliteration of a large number of convicts by Frank Castle using nothing more than his fists and some indigenously made blunt weapons. This action sequence doesn’t last long but the intensity that it brings to the screen is unbelievable.

Vincent D’Onofrio  as the Kingpin in a still

The ensemble cast does a phenomenal job but it would be wrong if one didn’t single out Jon Bernthal for his exceptional portrayal of the Punisher. It felt as if he was born to play this character. The kind of gusto that he brings to the character makes it what it is. He not only feels absolutely at home in the action sequences but does even better in the dramatic bits that just catapults his performance to a whole new level. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Élodie Yung as Elektra. It isn’t easy to pull off a character that is so conflicted between good and bad. Interestingly, she sells her character so effectively with her performance this it becomes impossible to not take her for what she playing. Vincent D’Onofrio is barely there for a few episodes but once again he proves to be bigger than the protagonist of the series both in terms of physicality and dramatic prowess. I just wished that he had a bigger role in the series.  

The series has a lot of subplots running parallel but the creators are able to tie them all up in one coherent story that doesn’t leave room for any confusion or any unanswered questions. The series also sets up things that are going to come next and ends on a thrilling note. I appreciate the risks that the makers took in terms of where the three protagonists of the series are shown to be at. It will be interesting to see how they raise the stakes for these characters in the next season of the series. I am also waiting with bated breaths to reach a point from where I can dwell into the Punisher series.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

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