I’ve seen every Netflix Marvel series so far. I adored both seasons of Daredevil, I enjoyed Jessica Jones—even if I did find it a bit slow and heavy—and I really liked Luke Cage, despite its rather rushed and weak ending, so I was excited for Iron Fist, the last individual hero we would see before they all joined forces in Defenders.
Iron Fist is the story of Danny Rand, a billionaire whose plane crashed in the Himalayas when he was a child. Found in the snow by warrior monks, they raise him in K’un Lun, a sacred place that exists in another plane and connects to the rest of the world every fifteen years. As he grows in this mystical land, Danny learns several forms of martial arts, overcomes many trials and eventually becomes the next Iron Fist, the sacred guardian of K’un Lun. Continue reading Review: Iron Fist
This season of Daredevil is a dark one. There’s violence and mayhem like never before. The season opens with Irish mobsters having dinner and someone shooting the place up, killing all but a single man, Grotto, one of their flunkies. Suspecting a rival gang and wanting witness protection, he reaches out to Murdock and Nelson and convinces them to help him get a second chance, bringing them all into the line of fire. To complicate matters further, Matt’s college girlfriend Elektra is in town and she’s after something big, enlisting Daredevil’s help. Matt soon finds out that he’s the only one following the no-killing rule.
As the season continues, we see new pieces added to Elektra’s mystery, as well as her and Matt’s backstory. On the other case, we discover it’s not an army but a single man doing all the killing across the city’s underworld: Frank Castle—nicknamed The Punisher by the authorities.
This Daredevil season has two ongoing storylines, a risky move as you need the writing to be on point not to muddle the storytelling. Thankfully, the writers for Daredevil know how to do their jobs and the stories flow brilliantly throughout the season, keeping it paced perfectly. When the Punisher plot slows down, the Elektra story picks up, gaining momentum, until something new breaks in the first narrative.
But what I liked the most was that the stories never mix. These two plots stay apart, the only link being Matt Murdock and how hard it becomes for him to keep his two lives going at the same time. How does he keep the city safe and still work as a lawyer, be a good friend and have the time to date? The twin-storylines help show the conflict in Daredevil. They help the character come to terms with what his priorities are, and in doing so create the opportunity for the other characters to evolve, to become stronger and better.
This is a season of growth for the Daredevil ‘world’ as well. Although it’s part of the cinematic universe, the first season of Daredevil kept things as close to reality as possible, but with the success of Jessica Jones, Daredevil season two brings in some of the more outrageous elements of the comic’s mythos, such as the Chaste and the Hand. There are undead ninjas, cults, and much more this season and it works really well, better than I would’ve imagined.
Performances are once again incredible. Charlie Cox continues to shine as Matt Murdock, and even more than last season, I had to look up if he was actually blind or not, because he even acts the tiniest of mannerisms someone in his condition would have. Vincent D’Onofrio pops back into his Kingpin suit for a couple of episodes and it’s always a pleasure to see him play the character. The strength and barely restrained violence he shows, is amazing.
But the best this season has to be Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle. He plays the badass, the hardened vigilante with a bleak outlook on humanity and justice, but there is a vulnerability hidden below the surface, one that you can see in Bernthal’s eyes. When he’s telling the story of his family, the tears he sheds feel real, as does his muttering, the trembling lips and gasps for air to control his emotions. Bernthal might be the latest to play the Punisher but he’s the best, making Frank Castle relatable, makes us see the human behind the tactical armour and weapons. It’s a phenomenal performance by a truly talented actor.
That is not to say that Élodie Young doesn’t do a phenomenal job with Elektra. She does, but if we compare her character with Bernthal’s, her emotional conflicts aren’t nearly on the same level. Still, I love how her playful and seemingly carefree demeanor hides pain and a strong resolve, a will to do whatever is necessary. It’s refreshing to see someone tackle this character and actually pull it off.
With Punisher, Daredevil, Elektra, ninjas and of course, Stick—and I love Scott Glenn portrayal—there are dozens of fights and they’re still as jaw dropping as ever. The choreographies are perfect, the violence feels real and each hit has a satisfying thud—I grimaced every time Daredevil threw his billy club at someone’s face. The downside however is that many of the pivotal confrontations this season happen in dark places, such as tunnels, basements or just dark roofs, and because of that, sometimes it’s very hard to see what is happening and that’s a shame with these astounding fights. The ones in the last episode are especially bad, with sets so dark you can’t make out half of what Elektra is doing.
This was a wonderful season for Daredevil. It’s darker and grittier but it’s also superior in its storytelling, pulling off a dual storyline with perfection.