Sunday, March 20, 2016

Daredevil's Fire Still Burns

Daredevil returned for its much anticipated second season after a positive debut last year that was welcomed by fans. The only thing better than the plot of the show was the chemistry of Charlie Cox playing the blind Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio playing the infamous Kingpin, Wilson Fisk. The first season was mainly an origin story, exposing fans to a darker world in Marvel than most people have seen in the movies. Much like the world of Jessica Jones which was released later last year, Murdock’s world is full of death, destruction and supernatural threats that most people don’t know exist in Hell’s Kitchen. The only question to ask after the success of the first season is, “How are we going to top this?”

The answer to that question would be the introduction of two of Marvel’s most beloved anti-heroes in the form of Elektra and Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher. This was a bold move for Marvel because while both characters are popular in the comics and games, they’ve had unfortunate results in the box office. Adding these characters to the show seemed more like another chance to bring them into the mainstream rather that an introduction.

The Punisher had a virtual non-existent debut with Dolph Lundgren back in the late 1980s, then Thomas Jane brought a more serious tone but wasn’t successful and then came the bomb Punisher: War Zone with Ray Stevenson in 2008. In the end, the only people that were getting punished were the fans so all ambitions to keep going stopped. Now the reigns have been passed on to Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, Fury) as the man who should’ve been dead. For viewers who are unaware of Frank Castle; this will be an origin story for you and for fans, a brutal view into The Punisher’s world and his brand of justice. A world of full of bullets, bodies and enough blood to fill the Hoover Dam.

The only person who has a darker world than Frank Castle would be Elektra Natchios or Elektra for short. Raised to be an assassin and never known anything other than violence, Elektra’s has always lived her life in hiding while posing as a person of privilege in the world of the upper class. She was introduced to fans on the big screen by Jennifer Garner’s portrayal in Daredevil played by Ben Affleck. While her portrayal led to her own film which bombed, the popularity in her character rose as Daredevil’s love interest. Now the character has been brought back by actress Elodie Yung (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Gods of Egypt).

So now we get to the second season and find out what’s going on in Hell’s Kitchen and how does it involve these two. It takes place weeks after the events of the first season with the demise of Wilson Fisk and while Daredevil has been hard at work, so have others. Copycat vigilantes have sprung out but only one is taking matters to new extremes and Murdock is forced to confront not just a person but his own moral code. The results of Frank Castle soon begin to sway public opinion away from Daredevil and more into harsher vigilante justice. With the arrival of The Punisher, Hell’s Kitchen is divided between what works and what is right.

The only thing worse than a psycho who has an arsenal and knows how to hurt you physically is a woman who knows how to hurt you emotionally. Elektra comes back into Murdock’s life after a significant meeting in his past to help him confront an enemy from the first season. Murdock soon realizes that he’s part of something much more complicated than a simple gangland vendetta. Being pulled in all sides, Murdock begins to be stripped apart of everything he thought he was and begins to realize who he was meant to be. The only thing that is guaranteed at the end of this season is there will be more questions than answers.

Charlie Cox took fans into a deeper level of Matt Murdock’s life with the introduction of Elektra and the significance of her to Daredevil. Much like Catwoman to Batman, these two are opposite sides of a coin but can’t truly be whole without each other. The chemistry between Cox and Yung was fair considering there wasn’t much time together in the season, you have to conclude they have a long history. The chemistry between Cox and Bernthal gave a better connection with Bernthal’s portrayal of the punisher. They have a scene that was both intense and important in the convictions of The Punisher and the challenge of morality in Daredevil.

Overall, this season was as good as the first and the reason I truly feel that it didn’t out due was because it felt rushed. In the first season, there was one main focus and one main villain to conquer in order to save Hell’s Kitchen but there were too many subplots. First there’s Castle, then there’s Elektra, Matt’s personal life is falling apart, and then there’s a threat that turns Hell’s Kitchen into a war zone. I honestly feel that the subplot with Elektra could’ve been stalled for a later time since most of the season was focused of Frank Castle and his pursuit of redemption. I give this season a strong 8 out of 10 and anxiously look forward to seeing who comes next season.

As for The Punisher; it’s clear that he will most likely get his own spinoff because while Thomas Jane was a good Frank Castle, Jon Bernthal fit the character to the barrel. Yung’s was a good fit as Elektra and her new look was more professional and reasonable. If you were looking for something all red and sexy like Jennifer Garner’s look then you’re going to be disappointed but Yung was plenty of sexy in this season. If fans thought that Murdock had a rough start becoming a hero before, then you’re going to be in for a rollercoaster that has an eerie cliffhanger at the end. Season 2 is full of action, intense fight sequences and emotional drama that will leave the audience wanting more; but we will all have to wait another year.   

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