Last year, Netflix made a big statement when they entered the superhero genre with their original programming in the form of Marvel’s Daredevil. A brave, dark and gritty take on the lawyer Matt Murdock that quickly left Agents of SHIELD behind in its bid to become the best Marvel show on television. Until that is of course, Marvel’s Jessica Jones arrived hot on its heels and blew us all away again, with an excellent performance from both Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter and Doctor Who’s David Tennant as Jessica and the sinister Kilgrave respectively. So after expectations had been raised for the second season, Daredevil had to meet them again, a task proved harder by the inclusion of Jon Bernthal as The Punisher and the promise of Elektra to come.
So did Daredevil start its second season well? The answer is yes, and it opened with a very big “Bang” indeed, serving as a fascinating return to Hell’s Kitchen. In the wake of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin being put behind bars, there’s now a power struggle for the city. New mobsters are rising up and the old elite are emerging from the shadows. It’s been a few months since the first season and to make matters worse New York is experiencing its biggest heat wave in years. Both supporting characters Foggy Nelson and Karen Page return, with some good performances by Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson respectively. Foggy knows about Matt’s nighttime outings as Daredevil, but Karen is in the dark, so it’s interesting to see how these two characters are coping. It’s made pretty clear just because of their big victory last season they’re still new fish, and have to contend with the likes of uncooperative police officers and more as they turn their attention to the new vigilante in town.
The new vigilante in town is of course The Punisher, the lethal war veteran played by The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal. This was a perfect role for him to play and he just aces Frank Castle superbly. Although there isn’t much time spent with him in the first episode, we do get an effective display of just how powerful he can be. Matt Murdock might just be about to meet his toughest opponent yet.
The fight sequences are as bloody, gritty and brutal as ever. Much like with the combination of Daredevil and Jessica Jones’ first seasons, the dark and gritty tone makes it almost impossible to believe that somewhere in the same universe Rocket Raccoon and Groot are off having adventures with the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but it still works. Another common trait is shared with last season as well, there is no over-reliance on name-drops to the movies or even Agents of SHIELD, which the latter suffered from greatly in the first season.
On the whole, Bang is an excellent opener to Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 and really leaves a memorable impression and return to New York City. It’s dark, intense and, so far, in very good hands indeed. You can catch the entire season now on Netflix. I’m currently three episodes in, and it’s shaping up to be just as intense and awesome as the first.