Note: this review is SAFE to read if you have not yet seen season two, any potential spoilers have been marked with a spoiler warning.
tl;dr – While I think season one of Daredevil may have been just ever-so-slightly better, Daredevil Season 2 was near perfect, with a surprisingly well-done Punisher that almost outshined Daredevil in his own show.
One batch, two batch, penny and dime. Holy freak, season two of Daredevil was awesome. Last year, I enjoyed season one more than any of the superhero movies that came out that year, and while I’m still super excited for Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Doctor Strange (and even Suicide Squad), they’re going to have to be really good to beat how much I loved Daredevil Season 2.
Before I get into everything I loved, I do want to mention the few problems that I had with season two. Prior to the release of season two, I wasn’t exactly sure who the main villain of the season was going to be. After watching season two, I’m still not sure who the main villain was. Was it the Hand? Was it Punisher? Was it even in some ways Elektra? I don’t know. Not that it specifically needed a main villain, but this season definitely felt like it was lacking the high stakes that Fisk provided in season one. There was also kind of a weird plot-hole involving The Hand (the group of ninjas) that I never fully understood. (The following is a MINOR spoiler, but if you don’t want to read it, skip to the next paragraph). Long story short, Daredevil is finally able overcome the fact that the members of the Hand can mask their heartbeat by listening instead to their breaths. But aren’t breaths inherently louder than heartbeats? Stick me in a very quiet small room with five people, and I’ll probably be able to hear all of them breathing, but I highly doubt I’d be able to hear the hearts. Likewise, are the writers trying to imply that he never heard their breaths before Stick pointed it out? How does a guy with superhearing never notice the sound of breathing? Anyway, that didn’t really make any sense to me, but whatever.
To me, the relationship between season two and season one felt like the relationship between Age of Ultron and the first Avengers movie. It had a lot of fan-service and a lot of moments that felt as though they were ripped straight from the comic books and they made my inner nerd squeal with joy, however, I felt that the story was sacrificed in some instances in order to provide the fan service. (SUPER MASSIVE SPOILER AHEAD, skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t seen the season yet). I think the biggest instance of this was Elektra’s death. I knew that she would eventually die, as that is a very important storyline from the comics, but it felt a little rushed here. This to me felt more like they put it in here only to appease the comic fans, and not because it was necessary for the story. That said, it wasn’t terribly done, so I can forgive them, especially if they do interesting things with that plot point in season three.
Now, enough with complaining, let’s get into the good: PUNISHER. WAS. AWESOME. Let me explain to you the significance of my statement: I don’t like the Punisher. I never have. I don’t like what he stands for and I think he’s a psychopath. When they announced that he would be in season two, I was worried that I wouldn’t like the season, and with the rumors floating around that a Netflix Punisher show might be on the way, I thought that Marvel may have finally made a show that I didn’t plan to watch. Then Daredevil Season 2 happened. OH. MY. GOSH. Not only did they make a completely human, sympathizable, and grounded character, THEY MADE HIM FREAKING AWESOME. That scene in the jail. I won’t spoil it, but holy crap was that brutal in all the right ways. On a side note, I’ve not actually seen the film Watchmen, but having read the classic graphic novel and because this jail scene mirrored one from that comic, I actually half expected to hear Frank say in homage to the character Rorschach: “I’m not trapped in here with you, you’re trapped in here with me.” However, what he did say over and over throughout the season was “One batch, two batch, penny and dime” and that may have become my new favorite superhero catchphrase. Especially because of the emotion with which he delivered it, and the story behind why he says it. As I said, they took a character that I actively disliked and have suddenly made him make sense to me. I get it now. I get why he is a popular character. And I want a Netflix Punisher show RIGHT NOW. Not to mention the fact that I am seriously considering picking up the new Punisher comic series that is starting in May.
I suppose I should also talk about Daredevil, seeing how it’s his show. He was great. They’ve improved the look of his costume a bit. He still kicks butt as Daredevil. His personal life is still a mess. Pretty much if you loved his character in season one, you’ll still love him here. There is one super powerful character moment that I feel I need to discuss though. (This is another MINOR spoiler, but I recommend you read it, unless you want to know absolutely nothing about season two). At one point in time, a character (may be old, may be new, may be major, may be minor, I won’t spoil who it is) is gravely injured. While another character begins administering first aid, Matt takes the time to get on his knees and begins praying for their well-being. Maybe it’s just because I’m a religious person myself, but this very brief moment was extremely powerful for me. It’s made clear from both seasons that while Matt may not be a fully practicing Catholic, he is a believing Catholic. But up until now, we’ve pretty much only seen him go to a priest for advice (even his scenes in confession are just a search for advice) or mention his Catholic beliefs. This, for me, was the first time that we saw him actively practicing his beliefs, and in a world where religion is looked down upon by many and seen as something that only the uneducated or unenlightened practice, is was uplifting to see this character actually praying for the well-being of another. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a superhero pray on screen, and I may or may not have teared up just a little bit upon seeing it.
(If you have not seen season ONE, the following paragraph contains a major spoiler). So, in case you forgot, Karen killed Wesley last season. Straight up shot him several times in the chest. And it’s obvious that this is still eating her up. Terribly. It’s obvious that she is seeking forgiveness for what she’s done while also seeking affirmation from others that what she’s done doesn’t make her a terrible person. This makes her relationships with both Matt and Frank (the Punisher) incredibly complex and interesting. She needs to know that she hasn’t lost her soul for killing Wesley, and Matt isn’t really doing much to make her feel forgiven. Frank, on the other hand, seems to be her opportunity for redemption. Because of this, any time she interacts with either of these characters, there is so much subtext going on that it’s potentially one of the most well-written and well-acted parts of this season. I could honestly probably write a detailed analysis paper of Karen’s character from this season alone, but I’ll leave it here and suffice it to say that if you weren’t paying attention to Karen’s unspoken quest for redemption this season, you may want to go back and rewatch it for that aspect alone.
Foggy was also awesome. He’s proves in this season why he might even be the better lawyer from Nelson and Murdock. I would straight-up watch a courtroom drama with no superheroes with Foggy as the star.
Pretty much, if you liked season one, you have no reason not to watch season two. And if you haven’t watched either, you should seriously consider it. I cannot wait for season three to come out. In the meantime, I’ll probably watch this season at least two more times.
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