In most cases of binge consumption, there is a necessity to purge the superfluous – something that simply does not apply when it comes to Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. Though I’m not sure I would (or could) have been in danger of an overdose, there are certainly very serious withdrawal symptoms surfacing on day one of having no new episodes to watch…
A Brief Recap of Season One
The first season of Daredevil served several important purposes which can be easily overlooked. Other than the obvious origin stories for both the titular character (portrayed by Charlie Cox) and his foremost adversary Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), it also serves to introduce avid fans and new viewers alike to the on-screen world of “Marvel Knights” – the darker, more adult-themed side of Marvel Comics. Unbeknownst to most viewers when the series started (or in many cases even by the end of the first season), it’s also the first chapter in what will become The Defenders; a team comprised of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
We enjoyed easter eggs throughout Daredevil’s first season, such as mentions of the attack on New York (a reference to the events of the first Avengers movie), helping connect this series to the entire Marvel Cinematic universe while simultaneously allowing for a narrower focus in setting (and a darker tone overall). Otherwise, it stood confidently with its own mythos and presented the conflict between hero and villain in a well-crafted, self-contained story. We watch a man no longer able to stand idly by take on the injustices within his neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen in New York City. He evolves from a man wearing black beating on thugs, to an armoured vigilante taking on the upper echelon of organized crime in a perfect rendition of Frank Miller’s run on “Daredevil: The Man Without Fear”. The tone is eerily similar to that of “Batman: Begins” which makes a lot of sense – it is itself the on-screen version of Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” story.
Daredevil’s second season builds on season one without a sense of Deja Vu. Perhaps Netflix is to thank for the lack of flashbacks or “previously on” scenes (either at the start or nestled within); the show makes no attempt to reintroduce you to characters or ongoing plots. I suspect having no commercials, and no need to wait a week (or more) for the next episode, lends itself very well to allowing the character-driven story to play out naturally; with conviction, and without pandering to the short attention span of most channel-surfer types. In other words, it stands on it’s own merits and doesn’t spoon-feed the audience.
This season introduces us to fan favourite anti-hero The Punisher (Jon Bernthal), as well as the deadly assassin Elektra (Elodie Yung). Their stories are expertly woven into the rich tapestry of Daredevil’s, and remain quite close to their comic book counterparts. The actors do such a great job of portraying the more subtle aspects of these characters that spin-off series of their own would hardly be a surprise (rather a welcome addition to the growing army of Marvel Netflix series)!
Where the plot for season one was almost strictly related to organized crime, season two continues to explore that seedy underbelly, while simultaneously branching out to delve deeper into the ancient (criminal? evil at least) order known as The Hand which we’d caught a glipse of in season one. Ninjas with seemingly no heartbeat for our hero to hear, they pose a much greater threat than the usual thugs and gangsters; not only because of their elusiveness, but their fighting prowess as well.
The quality of this show is, simply put, astounding. Gripping sub-plots, iconic imagery straight from the comic book page, and enticing characters brought to life perfectly by a very talented cast (let alone the cliff-hanger endings to most episodes) will have you glued to your couch from start to finish. I know fans of the comic book are pleased, and the public reaction proves many new fans are made every day. The only truly heartbreaking aspect to the entire series is running out of new episodes to watch!