Matt reviews the new Punisher series
Err… Daredevil season two
Last semester I did a Jessica Jones season one review after binge-watching the entire damn thing in one night with a friend of mine. Last Friday, Daredevil season two dropped on Netflix, and while we weren’t able to finish it in one night, the binge-fest was still strong. So here’s my review of Daredevil season two, AKA, The Punisher Fucks Your Shit Up.
While Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock is easily the most faithful adaptation of the character (sorry Batfleck), he has what I would call, the “Batman problem.” Daredevil is almost always the least interesting character when he’s on screen. His villains, and even his allies overshadow him. That’s not to say that he’s bad (he’s great), or that he isn’t a badass fighting machine, it’s just that he’s not particularly interesting, and is always overshadowed by everyone else around him. Foggy, Karen, Frank, Stick, Fisk, all have greater screen presence than poor Matt Murdock. But, to be honest, while the show has strong character moments, the real strength is found in its action scenes, and that’s really where Cox shines as Murdock. Daredevil has easily the most visceral and exciting actions scenes of any comic book show or movie. It’s right there with the fight scenes between Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Oh yeah, they’re that damn good. Daredevil is the third best part of his own show, and that really tells you something about the quality of Marvel’s flagship Netflix program.
I’d like to finish this review with the strongest points of season two, so we’re going to have to delve into what didn’t work. Namely, Elektra. When reading up on rumours, I read that Elektra creator Frank Miller said that this version wasn’t truly comic book Elektra. I thought Miller was just being the crotchety old bastard that he normally is, but he was actually right about this. Elektra, while not awful, just kind of drags down the story after an incredibly hot start. Elektra’s action scenes are phenomenal, and she has some charisma, but just doesn’t feel like her comic book version, in a show where the comic book characters are all so faithfully adapted.
I’ve decided that this review will be spoiler free, so you, dear reader, are just going to have to figure out what the second best part of Daredevil is on your own time. But, the best part? Without a shadow of a doubt, is Jon Berthnal’s Punisher. I believe that Punisher has never had a terrible adaptation – between Dolph Lundgren, Thomas Jane, and Ray Stevenson – but there has never been a truly great Punisher. Bernthal has succeeded where those men fell short. Bernthal plays the tortured badass with such a commanding presence that I was confused why the show was titled Daredevil, instead of The Punisher for awhile. Even when he’s not blowing criminals away with lethal precision, Frank Castle commands everyone’s attention when he’s on the screen. While season one of Daredevil brought out Wilson Fisk in a slow and methodical manner, season two jumps right in the fray, with Castle blowing the scum of Hell’s Kitchen to kingdom come in the first couple minutes.
Overall, season two of Daredevil improves on season one in just about every way. The show runners have done an excellent job of establishing this dark and gritty corner of the Marvel universe that is the complete opposite of what the movies, and even the television shows are. My only major complaint? Why hasn’t Marvel and Netflix green lit The Punisher season one?