A year ago, Marvel changed the landscape of Netflix’s slate of original programming in a massive way. We’re of course referring to the studio unveiling Daredevil‘s first season, a move that got the ball rolling on a streaming universe superior even to their vast array of films. It wasn’t long before the next installment, Jessica Jones, followed suit with an equally stellar debut. That brings us to Season 2 of Daredevil, debuting on Netflix in its entirety on Friday, March 18. We got a peek at the first seven episodes, giving us just enough to draw some conclusions on how the show has evolved in its sophomore effort.
It’s worth noting, this whole review will be about as spoiler-free as it gets, both for your benefit and for Netflix’s legal team. So let’s dive in, shall we? We can’t rightly talk about what worked (and didn’t) in Daredevil‘s second season without first making the necessary comparison to its first one. Season 1 worked on a whole lot of creative levels, and Wilson Fisk as the main villain was singularly terrifying. The various crime bosses under Fisk’s employ made for an intriguing series of vignettes that served the greater narrative. All this was blended into your classic origin story, as our hero spends more time getting the tar beat out of him than any other in the MCU.
That takes us to Season 2, where things have changed in Hell’s Kitchen. The two-part trailer tells us a few things that are common knowledge right now among those who haven’t seen early screeners. The Punisher (played to ominous perfection by Jon Bernthal) is rampaging through the streets on an organized crime killing spree, the Hand is emerging from the shadows doing all manner of mysterious ninja stuff, and Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung) is in town asking for Matt Murdock’s help in vanquishing them. We won’t go into how all of these things tie together, but what we will say is this: After seven episodes, it’s still not entirely clear where this season’s story is going.
By the seventh episode in Season 1, we had a pretty good lay of the land. Wilson Fisk was gathering together the city’s criminal element in an effort to rule over a post-Avengers New York City. We had a pretty good idea that the story was bound for a climactic showdown between our titular hero and Fisk, and what our hero had to do to accomplish that goal. For this latest season, it’s difficult to see the end of the tunnel, as the show has struggled at times to balance a handful of conflicts, conspiracies, and interpersonal drama.
Don’t get it twisted though, Daredevil is still every bit the amazing spectacle you remember it to be. The fight choreography is still stunning. We once again see Murdock struggling with his own sense of morality in the wake of this violence, going up against the Punisher’s decidedly more murder-y approach to crimefighting, and those moments in particular make for some of the best ones the early part of the season has to offer. To the show’s credit, even a collection of episodes that seem a tad scattered are head and shoulders above the storytelling and tone of inferior shows; basically the roundabout way of saying the show’s own worst enemy is the standard it sets for itself.
We’re as much in the dark as you are as in terms of how the latter half of the new season will go, but you can bet we’re still excited. Past finales for both Daredevil and Jessica Jones have proven Marvel’s capability for bringing their stories to a satisfying conclusion. Despite a bit of a crowded early approach to the runway, we remain optimistic in their ability to provide us with a similarly smooth landing this time around. That being said, we’re mostly just unsure how they’re going to get us there, something that gives us a little reticence on providing a final verdict. A past of successful storytelling though affords us enough hope to give Daredevil a tentative thumbs up for its sophomore effort.
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