Monthly Archives: March 2016

Review: Daredevil Season Two

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted, internet. I’d apologize, but I’ve been busy! I’ve taken on a lot of recurring work over the past year, and it’s edged out most of my available free and/or work time. The good news is that I’m able to financially support myself again; the bad news is that it doesn’t leave me with an awful lot of time to write. That said, I’m doing what I can, and over the next couple of months, I fully intend to sink into a comfortable rhythm from which I can start producing some decent fiction.

Until then, I want to talk about Daredevil Season Two.

I’ve told pretty much everyone who will listen what an amazing time it is to be a nerd. For decades, nerd culture was shunted to the side, scoffed at, or was otherwise ignored and labelled “kid stuff.” The Spider-Man trilogy started to change that, but even their box office returns weren’t quite enough to begin calling that kind of thing mainstream. Batman Begins helped a lot, but even that felt more like a niche audience; the Dark Knight trilogy didn’t really catch on until… well, The Dark Knight, and that was entirely based on the performance of Heath Ledger as Joker.

No, the rise of nerd culture in the mainstream is, in my opinion, pretty much the result of Robert Downey Jr.’s insanely charming performance of Tony Stark and Jon Favreau’s guiding ideology for Iron Man. Eight years ago (yes, Iron Man came out in 2008), Hollywood proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that comic book movies could be made for adults, that they could be accessible by kids, that they could be financially successful, and that they could be done right.

You know the rest; Marvel began churning out new IPs until they couldn’t find any more; we’re getting Doctor Strange later this year, along with Black Panther (which sounds way more racist than it actually is) in 2018. I fully expect them to continue scraping the bottom of the barrel until they start using Namor, the Marvel ripoff of Aquaman, but I’m going to go ahead and see every single thing they put out, because I’m a slave to this kind of stuff. They also kind of have the highest batting average of any studio I’ve ever even heard of; they haven’t made a bad movie since the Hulk franchise was killed.

Anyway, Marvel proved that they could do camp and brightly energetic stuff early on, but there were a few people who liked the darker style that the Dark Knight trilogy is known for— the realism, the washed-out lighting, the brooding, and the edginess that makes you feel like every scene could play out at your local Hot Topic. Because their cinematic universe was built around colorful and exciting movies, they couldn’t exactly execute a tonal shift well enough to produce a hardcore series of films that fits the mood of Daredevil and still have it feel like a Marvel movie.

So instead they went to Netflix, where they were given thirteen hours to tell something dark, edgy, and interesting, without the insanely high stakes that the Avengers franchise needs in order to function as a vehicle.

Season One was pants-crappingly awesome. I loved every second of it, despite its flaws— and there were some. The narrative did drag in the middle of the season, they tried really, really hard to find something for Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Paige to do that was also plot relevant, and…

That costume. Oh, that terrible costume.

But I was able to overlook what was wrong with Season One mainly because of Vincent D’Onofrio’s portrayal of Wilson Fisk. Every scene that guy was in was my favorite scene of the episode; he really was that good.

I was ecstatic to hear that it was cleared for a second season (pretty much moments after it aired), but I was left with a nagging doubt: could the series continue to be as good without the Kingpin to caulk up the cracks in the narrative? Continue reading

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