The Devil’s back in the kitchen

Daredevil’s sophomore season builds on the momentum of its first season and somehow outdoes itself this year. When it premiered in 2015, there was a lot of pressure of bringing Hell’s Kitchen savior to life. In contrast to its bigger family friendly avengers, Daredevil separated itself immediate by taking us to the gritty and violent world Matt Murdock lives, but you knew that already. With season 2 just having premiered we’re brought back deeper into Hell’s Kitchen for round 2.

Is season 2 any good? No, season two is fantastic! Below are some highlights from this season that are worth noting.

Punisher

punisher

Jon Bernthal as The Punisher

I wasn’t excited when it was announced that the Punisher would be the antagonist this season. Call me jaded but I’ve seen 3 different actors try to bring Frank Castle to life. Gradually they each brought little slivers of him to screen but ultimately the writing, the acting, the tone was never good enough. Thankfully I was wrong, Jon Bernthal is the Punisher, no question.

The Punisher works so damn well here thanks to so many lights aligning at the right time. Bernthal is the brutal damaged Punisher we’ve always read in the comics. Bernthal portrays the vigilante as brutish, mad, sad, disgusted with criminals and the justice system that fails to keep them locked up.

Listening to the Punisher explain why he recites a line from his daughters book made me feel for him in a way I hadn’t in previous incarnations. We don’t even see scenes of his family being murdered, instead its all done via spoken word through Bernthal and damn it if he doesn’t give a killer speech (pun intended).

Make no mistake, Punisher is a murdering maniac and they’re scenes where they don’t hold back the blood and brutality. At times I didn’t think they’d show certain kills, but nope, full on HD hammer to skulls. This is the Punisher we’ve always wanted and it would be a real shame if he doesn’t get his own mini series. (imagine Frank Castle going from town to town chasing big time criminals and helping the little guy, like the tv show “Burn Notice” but with a lot of blood)

Elektra

Elodie Yung as ElektraThis season had a lot of overlapping story arcs and the writers did a great job of balancing plots perfectly. Such is the case with Elektra Natchios, who gets introduced in the 2nd half of the season. Elodie Yung did a great job brining the crimson killer to life. There is a nice duality of character development we get with Elektra. First introduced to us as rich bored debutant we gradually learn she’s a vicious killer with no remorse for to taking a life.

As opposed to the Punisher, who kills criminals in order to permanently stop them: Elektra kills purely because she enjoys it and is very good at it. Elektra is down right crazy. We definitely see the struggle she has with herself being a killer but wanting to believe she can change for Matt Murdock whom she loves. I like that we got to see Stick again and learn a great deal between his connection to Elektra and Matt Murdock. I won’t say I completely cared about Elektra here, I’m very 50/50 here since this seasons revelation about her wasn’t very good, but isn’t the journey better than the destination?

The Fighting

fightingninjasBy far the one thing I looked most forward to in season two was the fighting. When season one arrived, I had never seen such realistic “I’m tired I need to breathe” fight sequences shot before. I believed Daredevil was fighting these bag guys and getting tired with each swing. Watching Murdock continuously deliver punch after punch to a bad guys face is both gritty and rewarding. You can feel the anger in every punch and not for a second do you not believe. Also, lets not forget the infamous hallway scene, which was one glorious beautiful fight scene. I strongly believe the fighting is one of the many things which made this Daredevil show a break out hit.

Season two definitely outdoes itself with the fighting. Daredevil’s boxing/Krav Maga-esque fight style was a nice juxtapose to Punishers brawler style. Watching these two guys throw each other around and trading blows felt like I was watching a cosplay themed MMA match. What made matters even greater was this first fight scene was the first time we hear the Punisher speak with “bang” as he shoots Daredevil right in the head. Who does that???, the Punisher that’s who!

 

The Fighting – Stairwell scene

stariwaysceneThere is no way I can talk about fight sequences without covering that damn stairwell scene. I thought season 1’s hallway fight was unreal, I was wrong! This scene was just incredible and I still can’t figure out how it was filmed. Fresh off of the intense rooftop scene with the Punisher, Daredevil has a gun taped to his hand and has to escape the building (a la a reverse “the Raid” scenario).

The action was fast paced and we got to see Daredevil really let lose on a bunch of bikers floor by floor. With each floor seeing our hero take a breath or get beaten while he tried to recover, just surreal to see. The icing on the cake was watching Daredevil grab and use the chain to kick so many Asses. Every time our hero walked past a ceiling light fixture and broke it with the chain, made it very clear to the bad guys, the Devil was coming. I get goose bumps remembering the blood ruby red eyes from Daredevils cowl coming through the staircase.

Spoiler – Watch the fight scene here!

Interesting note, before the fight starts, Daredevil tells a innocent bystander to get to safety as he points the gun taped to his hand at a criminal and shoots. Only after he realizes the gun is empty Daredevil nervously laughs, as if he’s relieved he actually didn’t take a life. This was a perfect way to let us know that the Punishers view of justice had gotten to Murdocks head.

Special call outs

newcowlThe Suit – Really love the new cowl design and suit upgrades. One of the deterring design flaws I saw was with the weird cowl. Thankfully we now see Daredevil has a full on Red mask with bright eye inserts that encompass the devil persona to another level

 

tangocashRed – Loved anytime Punisher referred to Daredevil as “Red”, these guy became the best of buds at the end of this crazy season. I was sorting hoping they would high five like tango and cash

Melvin – I really like this guy, and its obvious that’s hes very on edge. But to know he’s making Daredevils suits and even gifts him a new fighting stick because he acknowledges the good work DD is doing, makes it bittersweet to know what eventually happens.

Name Dropper – It was nice to hear Luke Cage and Jessica Jones being mentioned this season. It lets us know there are bigger things at play in this world not just limited to Hell’s Kitchen.

The Nun Chucks – Damn it Melvin, you just had to give Murdock a grappling hook/Nun chuck upgraded billy club. I cant say how much I enjoyed seeing Daredevil actually fight the Hand with his nun chucks. Not to mention the first time he uses the grappling hook on the rooftop as well was a lot of fun.

The Hand – Don’t mess with them, no really, they are insane. How cool are these ninjas tho? There seemed to be an endless supply of these guys this season. It was really interesting that the threat they posed to Daredevil was there ability to mask their sounds so he couldn’t really fight them.

Foggy Nelson – Nowhere as annoying as the first season. Foggy is actually a badass this season and as he states “is really good at his job”. We get a lot more of Foggy here and I’m happy they gave him big scenes to prove he’s important to the overall story. Also, if it wasn’t for Foggy, Daredevil would be butt hurt in some rooftop dyng, just sayin’.

Clancy Brown – I just know whenever he shows up, as great as an actor as he is, he will most likely play a double crossing bad guy. Kinda knew that the minute I saw him.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – You damn right, the TMNT were inspired by Frank Millers Daredevil stories (and Jack Kirby too!). There is the comparison with the Hand/ the Foot and martial arts ninja fighting superheroes who transform through “ooze”. Really love knowing that there’s a connection to this series.

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