(Review Written By: Brian Childers)
Before I get started let me set the tone for my review. Though I am a comic fan at heart, I don’t believe that the movies or shows need to be in direct correlation with the source material. I’ve never agreed with the concept that a movie can’t be good because it did not match the original book. In my opinion you’re just asking someone to make up for your lack of imagination. I want something that resembles the source material enough that I can recognize and relate with the characters, but still allow room for growth and potentially something new.
With that being said let’s move on to Daredevil. First season was pretty friggin’ outrageous. I think they may have had too many episodes that caused a slight lull, but they brought it home down the stretch and maintained an amazing season over all. The highlight of the entire first season was Carlton Fisk. Vincent D’Onofrio finally gave us a larger than life Villain in his portrayal of the “Kingpin” of Hell’s Kitchen. The best types of Villains are the Villains that don’t realize they’re the Villain (That’s a lot of Villains). They always convey this inkling of normalcy to the audience that almost pushes you to the point where you want to say “F&*( it, let him win”. I thought Charlie Cox delivers a great Matt Murdock as well as a more than suitable Daredevil. The rest of the cast is kind of a mixed bag. I personally like the dynamic of Foggy as the goofy grounded side kick, but I grew tired of the Karen character. I think the repercussions of her finally taking a life could end up making for some interesting character dynamics down the road, but as is the love triangle thing seems a bit shore horned even though the chemistry between the three is pretty solid. Cram all of that in with Daredevil beating up a bunch of people but deciding not to kill Fisk, and that leaves us at the beginning of season 2 where Hell’s Kitchen is up for grabs, and every gang in New York is plotting their next move.
I wasn’t crazy about the opening scene. I kind of sense they were hinting that he’s mastered his game in the passing time from season 1 to season 2, but seeing him fight Kingpin at the end of last season and just chasing some random jewel thieves to start of this season just seemed…meh. I do like the transition from the super dark ass whoopin in a church to the lighthearted banter of Foggy and Murdock on the street as they walk to their office where Karen is awaiting with a handful of clients. It could very well be my genuine disinterest in her character but the whole scene in the office bothered me. She seemed stressed by the amount of clients and the budgetary concerns of the firm, but the way she was acting you would have thought she killed another guy before the guys walked in. It only really bothered me because apparently saying “We’ll figure it out” was a cure-all for manic depression that was caused by the job she kind of forced her way into it.
A little time progresses and we go to what I was thinking would end up my favorite scene of the show, but turned out to be my biggest disappointment. I absolutely loathe the scene in the Irish Mafia’s bar. You could tell with the lack of any real character development or interest they were all there to die, and I went from six to midnight because it meant The Punish was about to kick in the door and start wrecking shop, but he didn’t. We don’t see him. We don’t get any real combat. These twelve gangsters stand in a perfect line on either side of the table and never once make a move for any kind of cover or evasive moves of any kind. It really felt like the old Steven Segal movies where all the bad guys stood in line and waited to attack him Segal. Even after he just took some guys collar bone out through his arm pit and stabbed him with it, everyone wanted to wait to get their shot at “1v1” with the pony tail of doom. It was disappointing considering this show usually delivers on the action and fight scenes. I was a sad panda.
One guy survives the Steven Segal style shoot out and seeks out Nelson and Murdock for assistance. They eventually book him in the hospital under a false name and story to protect him. While he is hospitalized Daredevil whoops the dog piss out of some random thugs tracking down information on who was doing the shootings. The general consensus was that it HAD to be a new gang because of how much damage had been caused. I’m pretty sure Foggy almost get’s raped, but then doesn’t as he tracks down a guy he hasn’t seen since third grade, but somehow knows the guys in a local biker gang.
All of this leads to the Irish gang member waking up to Karen in the hospital. She assures him everything is going to be ok. They flash back and forth to show the progress of Daredevil and Foggy as they update us on the physical condition of the survivor. Daredevil follows the most solid clue he has on the recent attacks as he finds he is looking for one man in the meat district. He discovered a bunch of cadaverpops when he arrives. He is able to find one survivor as Daredevil tries to get information to him we flash back to the hospital.
Ohhhhh sweet baby jesus it’s time. They never show Shane’s face (He’s Shane until they officially introduce him as Punisher, I will not acknowledge Jon Bernthal, only Shane) through the entire scene but the handling of the hospital scene is masterful. This is what I wanted earlier in the episode. The very first shot of Shane is strictly the back of his head and shoulders. They do a good job making him look physically imposing in the image of the Punisher. The fact he’s casually strolling through the hospital with a shotty under his coat (and not even disguised that well) gives me chub. He disarms a security guard and continues his casual “I’m here to murder someone” stroll. Karen and the Irish Gangster know it’s time to get the hell out when they hear the commotion. They escape and go to drive away, but with no knowledge that they are actually in the Punishers crosshairs. At this point, I assume the Irish Gangster is done, but Daredevil makes a good save to begin the moment we’ve all been ready for. The hand to hand fight that was what we have come to expect from the show; realistic and fast pace hand to hand combat mixed with some gun play. Loved it. There is a good cliffhanger at the end I won’t completely spoil as if I haven’t handed you eighty percent of the episode as it is. I have to save you something.
Season premiers after the original are difficult. The originals are generally some kind of origin or background story on how everything came to be. It’s the second season on you have to actually start fully developing the character out of the originally design development. This is where they grow. I wasn’t crazy about this episode, but it definitely was not bad. I feel like all my original doubts of Shane as the Punisher are being cast aside as he moves, and carries himself exactly how I hoped. I’m hoping the dialogue and rest of the story follow suit. I give this episode a solid seven out of ten. I
Score 7 out of 10