I've seen Season 2 of Daredevil and I'm going to talk about it. I may or may not reveal potential spoilers, so be warned.
There was a time when I cringed whenever I'd hear about a Comic Book being brought to television. It is a testament to how far we've come that the great glass teat has transformed itself away from the three network sway that held us like zombies in its etherial glow for so many decades. The bar was so low for so long, stupid is as stupid does. We have HBO to thank. And Expanded Cable. And YouTube. And Hulu and Amazon. And Netflix. And large screen HD televisions. The emergence of "Home Theater" and the power of choice.
If you happen to be young enough not to have lived thru the circus of the 1960's era Batman TV Show, or the horrid inanity of the 70's Spider-Man or Incredible Hulk shows, then good for you. Some of us survived them, somehow. And yes, I admit, they still hold their own unique nostalgic charms to lesser or greater degrees, but make no mistake they really stink.
Daredevil does not stink. It helps that it exists in a new world devoid of commercials interrupting the storyline every ten minutes. It helps that Netflix allows the viewer the choice to view the entire 13hr film in whatever way they choose. And it certainly exists in a world in which the Super-Hero genre is in the midst of an incredible renaissance. All of these factors contribute to elevating the entire genre and giving viewers the chance to witness the results. Finally we have what those of us who lived thru the age of crap always wanted. Not crap.
Season one of Daredevil was very good. And it helped usher in an even better first season of Jessica Jones. But season two of Daredevil is a whole other level, and while in places its dramatic chops may not measure up to Jessica, it is the greatest portrayal of a comic book property on the small screen ever created so far. As a life-long fan of the Man Without Fear comic books, this latest season of Daredevil seems ripped right from the panels of the comic book. Translated, adapted, churned, changed, and altered in ways that make total sense in the world it has created for itself. What used to exist as an excuse for stupidity, "We can't have THAT on TV!" is now being used as an excuse for greatness - "We CAN have that on TV!"
As good as Jessica Jones was, DD Season Two feels as much like a comic-book come to life as I have ever experienced. And I mean that in a good way. The DD comic series has always been home to some of the best storytelling in all of comics. The character of DD is the perfect foundation upon which explorations of faith, justice and other big ideas about our own humanity can be told. It is a rich canvas and it feels like the creators of the show have embraced that dynamic, or are working towards embracing it. Daredevil feels like it is going somewhere.
I've seen complaints from other sources about the current season. It is too dark. It is shot poorly. The action sequences are great, but the rest of it falls apart. I'm not here to tell you it is perfect, by no means, but it is wonderfully dark. It is shot beautifully and purposefully. The dialogue is often not groan-worthy. And the action is incredible, personal, close, tight, and full of weight and meaning. But no it isn't perfect. I was no fan of the casting choice for Foggy Nelson in season one. I felt like he was the weak link both from a performance and a writing stand-point. And while I still feel the casting choice could have been better, Foggy Nelson is much better in season two. Not perfect, but much better.
I didn't much care for Jon Bernthal's character on The Walking Dead and I thought his casting as The Punisher was an odd choice. But he truly brings humanity to a role that could so easily be a one-note anger performance. Extremely well done. He is given the room and the space in season two to bring his character fully to life in ways it has never been before. And Élodie Yung simply is Elektra in all the ways that character needs to be and has never been before. Elektra is such a great character with such a rich history, it is great to finally see her being given her proper light. Her second act should be mythic in season three!
This isn't really a review as much as an appreciation to all those involved. The Marvel Netflix universe is full of potential and I think it can be even better as we go along. I'm anxious to see how Luke Cage develops. I'm concerned about the white guy casting choice for Iron Fist, but I'm willing to see how they handle that. And I'm curious how all of these pieces finally come together into the Defenders.
It certainly is a great time to be alive.