DARE­DEVIL Sea­son Two

Crime And Pun­ish­ment

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 2016 | Avail­able to stream

Showrun­ners Doug Petrie, Marco Ramirez

Cast Char­lie Cox, Deb­o­rah Ann Woll, Elden Hen­son, Jon Bern­thal

If Bat­tlestar Galac­tica ( Ron­ald D Moore ver­sion) was the sci­ence fic­tion se­ries for peo­ple who don’t like sci­ence fic­tion, then Net­flix’s Dare­devil is the su­per­hero show for comic­s­pho­bes. When it de­buted in 2015, it seemed to have been made more for con­nois­seurs of Break­ing Bad and Mad Men than for fans of the likes of Ar­row.

Sea­son one cer­tainly wore its su­per­hero clothes lightly. With limited SF el­e­ments and a pro­tag­o­nist who only suits up in the fi­nal episode, it was barely a su­per­hero drama at all. Sea­son two at least feels less ashamed about its iden­tity as a Mar­vel se­ries. In­tro­duc­ing some light fan­tasy to the show, as well as some proper cos­tumed hero­ics, this feels a lit­tle bit fur­ther away from The Wire ( sea­son one showrun­ner Steven S DeKnight’s main in­spi­ra­tion) and a bit closer to Agents Of SHIELD.

Much of the pre- pub­lic­ity fo­cused on Walk­ing Dead alum­nus Jon Bern­thal’s Pu­n­isher, a comics favourite who’s proved no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to get right in three di­men­sions. Thank­fully, the testos­terone- drenched Bern­thal proves heaven- sent cast­ing. Even with lit­tle di­a­logue, he crack­les on- screen, with the ac­tor mak­ing us ache with em­pa­thy for this man whose life was ripped apart by three stray bul­lets. Sadly, af­ter a Frank Cas­tle- cen­tred first half- sea­son, the se­ries then takes a nar­ra­tive lurch to­wards a group of mys­ti­cal- headed drug smug­glers named the Hand; af­ter the gut- punch of the Pu­n­isher, they’re a dis­ap­point­ingly face­less and in­dis­tinct threat.

Élodie Yung proves sim­i­larly note- per­fect cast­ing as Elek­tra Nat­chios, a char­ac­ter also pre­vi­ously screwed- up on- screen. Hav­ing an­other leg- chop­ping, as­s­whup­ping vig­i­lante by Dare­devil’s side has upped the chore­ographed beauty of the fight scenes, cer­tainly – though there’s still noth­ing here that trumps sea­son one’s cel­e­brated hall­way scrap.

Struc­turally, there wasn’t a dropped stitch in sea­son one. Sea­son two, how­ever, feels awk­wardly paced and un­fo­cused. Not only does the nar­ra­tive take a few jar­ring swerves, but the sea­son’s two show­case char­ac­ters – the Pu­n­isher and Elek­tra – don’t share a sin­gle scene to­gether, or even ref­er­ence each other. The show is still se­duc­tively brood­ing and tough as nails, but new showrun­ners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez lack Steven S DeKnight’s sure­ness of touch and clar­ity of vi­sion.

There’s still much to love though, in­clud­ing some pleas­ingly un­der­played ref­er­ences con­nect­ing this se­ries up to Jes­sica Jones, and ( mi­nor spoiler) a wel­come ap­pear­ance by the re­li­ably scene- steal­ing Vin­cent D’Onofrio as Wil­son Fisk. Sea­son two isn’t a stinker by any means, but it strug­gles to stand as proud as its de­but sea­son. Steve O’Brien

Jon Bern­thal is the fourth ac­tor to play the Pu­n­isher on screen, af­ter Dolph Lund­gren, Thomas Jane and Ray Steven­son.

De­spite the new li­brary guard, noisy cus­tomers per­sisted.

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