*A non-spoiler review
When Daredevil came out on Netflix a year ago, a lot of viewers and comic book fans alike praised the series for its Christopher Nolan-Batman Begins adaptation of the “devil of Hell’s Kitchen”. The gripping reality compounded with the magnificent storytelling brought out a realism in a Marvel realism bogged down by the comic bookishness of Daredevil’s more cinematic brothers (Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor). Still connected with Marvel’s cinematic universe, the first season took a different turn and brought the story down to the streets, where the grit and the dirt combined with bruises and blood made the story real and true.
The first season was all about establishing the universe, while it didn’t necessarily tie up with the larger Marvel universe it operated within its fringes. The second season focused more on Matthew’s capabilities and his limitations, after beating the massively large Wilson Fisk the enemies this time around are different, ancient, and connected with Matthew’s past and reverberates to the present. This creates a situation wherein Matthew’s double life is put at stake and puts out the question of whether he should be a hero or be a normal person? Driving this struggle is the entrance of The Punisher who takes up the first half of the season. The Punisher is darker and Machiavellian in his pursuit of justice, a stark contrast to Daredevil’s own brand of justice and vigilantism. Rounding up the series is Elektra, Matthew Murdock’s mysteries Greek ex-girlfriend whose presence exposes more of the series’ backstory and rich history.
Elektra and The Punisher certainly add a lot of color to the series, giving the Murdock-Nelson-Page triumvirate a lot of area to cover and grow. Each of the characters finding their own conflicts with one another and the two antiheroes. Daredevil’s writers certainly didn’t pull any punches. But herein lies the problem, with so many stories and characters doing this and that a lot of strings start unraveling leaving me with many more questions and the whole series felt even more crowded when they sidelined the Punisher arc in favor of the Elektra arc. After a few episodes there were just too many things happening all at the same time. Unlike the first season where the only arc was the Wilson Fisk one, it gave the series a sense of direction but this season not so much. Like many Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the series tried to fit in a lot of stuff the second time around.
That isn’t to say Daredevil isn’t fun to watch, it is, especially when it starts building momentum. Each episode brings to the table another chance to see Daredevil grow and establish the character’s own backstory and universe, which makes the series exciting and filled with a lot of surprises.
Daredevil season 1 and 2 are available now on Netflix