Warning: this post may contain some very mild spoilers for Daredevil season 2…
Exhilarating action, unforgiving violence and solid writing made the first season of Daredevil a scintillating watch. Season one’s showrunner, Stephen S. DeKnight, created the gritty blueprint in which Jessica Jones laid its ground and, no doubt, Luke Cage will share as well. However, with DeKnight out of the picture and the hotly anticipated season two streaming now on Netflix, can this season match the excitement of the first?
Last year, Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox) quickly created a swell of unwavering fan support and the initial reviews of the second season have been mostly favourable. However, after eight episodes, I’m finding my patience wearing thin. I want to feel something. I want to find that addiction again.
For me, the first episodes of season two were a little limp and lacklustre. Ladened by the bureaucracy of the ins and outs of Nelson and Murdock along with the focus on Karen Page’s (Deborah Ann Woll) flirtations and advances towards Matt, my attention span had near vanished until the Punisher arrived.
This had almost been billed as season two’s main event (along with the appearance of Elektra) and Jon Bernthal actually does a good job as the violent, unforgiving vigilante. But, alas, at the halfway mark, it felt as though the momentum had slowed again in favour of Karen and Matt’s awkward romantic scenes and more ‘law stuff’.
When ex-girlfriend Elektra Natchios joined the frey, my interest piqued again. It was like a little jolt of excitement! I wanted to love Elektra but Elodie Yung‘s unconvincing delivery and wooden performance left me cold.
Yes, I need to finish the season and perhaps it gets better but my feeling is that if it’s not grabbing me after eight episodes, it’s probably not going to get any better for me.
Season one built each character beautifully and the central villain – Wilson Fisk – was almost more magnetic than the whole cast combined. It wasn’t just Matt Murdock’s story we were interested in anymore, it was Fisk’s too. I could’ve watched a whole series of Vincent D’Onofrio‘s rise to become The Kingpin just on its own.
I could easily take the piss out of those aforementioned love scenes, my dislike of Elektra and so on but that would be lazy. I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out the reasons why I’m not connecting to Daredevil anymore and a few points have come to mind.
I feel much of the blame, isn’t the cast, but the showrunners. Last year, I read endless interviews with DeKnight pouring over the details of the characters, the comics, the feel of the series and the strength of the script – his knowledge and passion were incredible. I believed in him 100%, he convinced me… I was sold!
I don’t doubt season two’s showrunner’s Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez‘s passion for the project, it’s really not that. The best way I can explain it is like this… there may have been a time when you’ve had a job you love but there was a change in management. Maybe you didn’t like the changes, even if they were small. You pootled on and stuck with it but you realised, deep in your heart, that this job was no longer for you. Definitely for some, but just not you. This is what it feels like for me now that DeKnight is gone. The foundations seem weaker, the characters aren’t quite as layered and there’s an overall ‘feel’ to this season that just doesn’t sit right with me.
Secondly, it’s clear that having a strong, well-written villain, a polar opposite is important. In season one, Fisk was Murdock’s perfect counterpoint. They fed off each other and motivated each other, the plot moved alongside them and everyone around them grew too. However, there isn’t a strong ‘hook’ anymore – it’s all a little messy. There’s a court case, a confusing relationship (Matt and Karen) and, all the while, Daredevil’s pissing about with Elektra and forgetting he has friends, a job and a girlfriend!
I am aware there’s more to come though… Yes, I do need to finish this season. I will finish this season. Jessica Jones had its problems but at this point I’m remembering it more fondly than I am enjoying Daredevil. I’m hoping going forward that I’m proven wrong but, for now, I remain hesitant.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know – give me a shout on Twitter!