The sophomore slump of ‘Daredevil’ is still better than most of television

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The first season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix was one of my favorite new shows last year. It was dark and gritty, but more importantly, it was a good representation of an important canon comic hero with enough interpretation to make it feel fresh.

The second season, which comes after Marvel’s better Netflix series – Jessica Jones – is still good. But it’s not as good as the first season, and it comes nowhere close to JJ.

Here are the pros and cons of the second season of the blind vigilante’s show.

daredevil season 2 posterPro: the fight scenes

The show is brutal. The fight sequences – I’m including the hand-to-hand combat as well as the gun assaults – are some of the best in the business. Definitely the cream of the crop when it comes to television action, but near the top for film as well. See the infamous “stairwell fight” below.

Con: the fight scenes

The show is dark. Literally. It’s all at night and the cinematographers do a good job of making it realistically dark. Since Daredevil uses the darkness as his ally, we get to barely see him in action. It’s not something that bothers me, but it bothered a lot of people I’ve talked to.

Pro: character arcs

The best thing about the season for me was the Punisher. I didn’t think I’d like him because I didn’t like the films. However, Jon Bernthal’s take as the ex-military antihero was top-notch. Backstory: he doesn’t have PTSD. He’ll tell you that. His vengeance is based on his family’s murder. He, unlike Daredevil, is willing to kill. The show handled Punisher’s arc beautifully. Even when he isn’t used in a lot of episodes, you still feel the weight of his characters.

I also appreciated Froggy to a lesser extent. He is used considerably less this season than the debut season, but he lightens up each scene he’s in.

Con: character arcs

I know I’m supposed to love Elektra. I don’t. I know ninjas are important in Daredevil’s lore, but the Hand (the ninjas in his world) and Elektra (who is entangled with them) both fall flat. She’s introduced a few episodes in, which is about the time the show gets muddled and forgets what it’s good at, but then disappears a few episodes later. Don’t worry, though; she comes back.

It just seems like Daredevil (the show and the character) has a women problem. Karen Page was my favorite part of the first season. I love her altruistic heart and her attempts to uncover the truth. I really appreciated her arc with Punisher and her (spoilers) budding professional relationship with a new journalist, but it felt like she was too involved in too much crime. A cop even makes fun of the fact that she’s at every single crime scene.

Pro: lack of Daredevil

Matt Murdock is obviously essential to this show. Duh. But the show wasn’t afraid to shy away from him for large chunks.”The Man in the Box” (episode 9) is one of the best of the season. Not because of Murdock either. I don’t want to give any spoilers away. But I felt everything about this episode was stellar.

It was either in this episode or one of the final ones where I actually said out loud while watching: The best part about Daredevil is when Daredevil is missing in action. He’s not a bad character. I just think his role became repetitive.

Con: Daredevil’s moral code

Every superhero has his or hers moral code. Most don’t kill. We get it. Trust me, we get it. We understand Matt Murdock is a Catholic and has to pray or talk to priests when he’s feeling guilty. The first season balanced it well. This season used a heavy hand with Murdock’s morals. It’s first noticeable during “New York’s Finest” (episode 3) when Daredevil and Punisher have their long-winded argument about who is right and wrong.

There’s a laughable moment in one of the final episodes where Daredevil is telling Elektra that they can do things her way. But in the middle of the sentence, he takes a moment to pause and bless himself with a cross. It was during an intense scene and totally ruined the momentum for me.

Overall, I’d say this season was entertaining as a whole, but there were instances when I wasn’t grabbed by the collar for long periods of time. Not that a show needs to be 100% intense, but the softer moments just seemed off somehow.

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