“Daredevil,” Netflix’s hit superhero series, premiered its highly anticipated second season on March 18. The second season continues the story of Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), a blind lawyer who fights crime as a masked vigilante in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.
Based on characters from Marvel comics, “Daredevil” is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sharing continuity with films like “The Avengers” and “Iron Man.” Although “Daredevil” may take place in the same world as these characters, the series differs from the Marvel movies. The show’s dark, gritty atmosphere is completely unlike the lighthearted action and humor popularized by “The Avengers.” Outside of a few references and connections to the films, “Daredevil” stands alone.
Not only does “Daredevil’s” serious nature provide a welcome change to the typical Marvel formula, but it also elaborates on the communal and personal repercussions of super-heroism, a facet of the genre often neglected by Marvel’s big-budget films. “Daredevil” provides an insightful look into the natures of justice and heroism.
From its first season, “Daredevil” has been recognized for its achievement in action- and fight-choreography. The second season does not falter on this front, as it continues to boast impressive martial arts displays and action scenes. The R-rated violence and gore introduced in the first season carries over into the newest batch of episodes. While the violence does not necessarily get much more grotesque, it does increase in volume, with nearly every new episode featuring scenes that will bother the squeamish. This increased quantity makes the action feel repetitive at times.
“Daredevil’s” first season was also lauded for its focus on the villain Wilson Fisk, a vicious crime lord played by esteemed actor Vincent D’Onofrio (“Full Metal Jacket,” “Men in Black”). D’Onofrio’s Fisk takes a back seat in the second season, allowing two new characters to come to prominence: Elektra (Elodie Yung) and the Punisher (Jon Bernthal). Both characters are brilliantly played and bring Daredevil into dangerous and exciting territory. That being said, both are anti-heroes rather than villains, leaving the second season without an overarching villainous presence to tie together the various storylines. This lack of a central antagonist makes the latest batch of episodes feel disjointed in comparison to the tightly plotted and focused first season.
While the second season may not be as strong as the first, “Daredevil” is still one of Netflix’s best series, combining the strong acting, cinematography and writing of a cable drama with the intrigue of the superhero genre. Although the show has not yet been renewed for a third season, Daredevil will be seen again in “The Defenders,” a mini-series featuring all of Netflix’s Marvel superheroes.