2016 is a crazy year for live-action superheroes. Deadpool is still going strong in theaters around the world, the second season of Daredevil is about to drop on Netflix, the Dark Knight is about to face off against the Man of Steel, and The Avengers are on the verge of a schism, not to mention the rest of the highly anticipated movies scheduled for release this year. Content overload is real for some people. Can we all watch everything right away, or will some of it need to go on the back burner?
The struggle is especially real when it comes to the second season of Daredevil. This isn’t a low commitment afternoon at the movies, but 13 hours of heavy duty live-action comic book entertainment. Should you binge watch it right away, or just add it to your queue for later viewing? To help you make your decision, we present Pros vs Cons: Should You Watch Daredevil Season 2?
Pro: Season 1 Was Amazing
The first season of Daredevil did a lot of things right. At a time when people were becoming convinced that the superhero origin story was a worn out concept, Daredevil proved them wrong. Instead of skipping over the traditional weary plot points, Daredevil kept the pace slow, embracing the familiar arc to great effect.
It would be a different story if the series had gotten off to a middling start, but given how thoroughly entertaining and well done season 1 was, committing to another 13 episodes isn’t going to be a very difficult decision for most fans to make. Most people were already begging for another season last April – before we even had a season 2 teaser. If that was you, then you probably already have all of May 18th blocked off on your calendar.
Pro: Elektra’s Introduction
The introduction of Elektra was a huge point of change in Daredevil comics, and it forever affected the character. Her introduction has the potential to be just as significant in season 2. Her presence not only expands Matt Murdock’s backstory, but presents even more conflict to his present. If her arc is anything like the comics, then her existence will provide excellent drama for both Matt and Daredevil as he continues to define what it means to stand for justice without crossing the line.
Elektra also presents opportunity for more crazy action. Most of the fights in the first season were between Daredevil and street thugs, but one of his most intense encounters was with the ninja, Nobu. With Elektra around, more ninjas can’t be far behind. Elektra traditionally has received as much, if not more, martial arts training as Matt. Her involvement means the action is typically going to skew far closer to the Nobu fight, upping the stakes significantly.
Pro: Daredevil vs Punisher
According to Frank Castle, Daredevil is just “a half measure,” and only “one bad day away from being me.” This hits home on the main struggle faced by the Man Without Fear last season. When instituting justice, how much is enough, and how far is too far? Just when he seems to come to grips with the proper balance, Punisher, like Elektra, shows up to tip the scales again.
Frank Castle has always been a nearly perfect foil for the Guardian Devil, so this feels like the best time to introduce him. On top of that, Jon Bernthal’s performance seems to have captured the essence of the Punisher so effectively that Marvel is looking for more ways to get him involved, possibly even giving him his own show.
Pro: Daredevil is Fully Formed
One of the highlights of the first season was the slow burn examination of Matt Murdock’s transition into Daredevil. He starts off without the name, the experience, or the suit. By the end of the season, he has all three. Without any more major “becoming Daredevil” milestones to hit, the second season has the freedom to explore a multitude of amazing Daredevil stories.
With the origin story out of the way, season 2 is going to feature 13 episodes of full speed, fully formed Daredevil. Sure, there’s still more character development (especially for the new characters), but the story now has the freedom to move at its own pace instead of bearing the burden of retelling a familiar origins story and performing the various worldbuilding duties of an introductory season.
Pro: The Hand vs The Chaste
Stick was only a brief part of season 1, but his arc provided the set-up for some events that could play out in several epic ways, most of which involve ninjas. Conflict between the ninjas of The Hand and Stick’s allies, The Chaste, could land Hell’s Kitchen in the middle of a full blown ninja war (if you haven’t picked up on the trend…there will be ninjas. And Ninja’s are cool).
If you thought the fight scenes in season 1 were good, these will be insane. Daredevil has the better protection of his new suit and has had time to better master his abilities. The introduction of Elektra means we’ll also get to see whole new style of team combat choreography will be used, upping the action quality drastically from season 1 – a high standard to beat!
Pro: More Marvel Crossovers
Daredevil marked the first installment of Marvel’s Netflix universe – a universe that will culminate in a Defenders team-up series. There wasn’t much to crossover with in the first season, since it was… well, the first season. Now there’s all sorts of potential for tie-ins and set-ups for the shared universe.
Jessica Jones already had some minor Daredevil tie-ins with the appearance of Claire Temple, but it also created opportunities for much more crossover potential. We’re not necessarily going to see Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones teaming up this season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see things like Nelson and Murdock acquiring the services of Alias Investigations, or Punisher facing off against Frank Simpson/Nuke – who was introduced in Jessica Jones.
Outside of Marvel Netflix, Captain America: Civil War shows a world that is growing distrustful of vigilante heroes. It only makes sense that Punisher and Daredevil do their part to play into that sentiment. They may not be destroying New York or Sokovia, but with several nasty run ins with police – usually resulting in questionable fires and explosions – #TeamIronMan would probably consider them a part of the problem.
Despite these pros, some people might not see enough incentive to call in sick and binge the entire season the day it’s released. There are a few negative aspects that may make people second guess the urgency behind checking it out. Maybe it would be better to catch up on Flaked, Fuller House, or House of Cards first?
Con: It Can’t Live Up to Season 1
The vast majority of the first season of Daredevil was excellent, but it unfortunately didn’t keep up the tension through to the finish line. The best drama in the show so far has been the drama surrounding Matt Murdock learning the ropes of becoming Daredevil. This tension seemed to vanish the second he put on the classic horned Daredevil costume. If the show can’t find a way to shake it up from where season 1 ended and return to the same tension, then it’ll be a big letdown.
Daredevil also lost Steven DeKnight as showrunner, meaning the potential success of season 2 can’t be predicted based on the quality of the first season. The new showrunners, Marco Ramirez and Douglas Petrie, served as season 1 writers, but are still untested as showrunners.
While this doesn’t mean this season will be unwatchable, it does question whether it can reach the same heights as the first season. It may be better to wait for the first reviews come in before pulling an all-nighter to bingewatch.
Con: There’s No Clear Villain
There’s a lot going on in the season 2 trailers, but one thing that’s lacking is the clear establishment of any major villain. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk leaves some shoes that are hard to fill. He was intimidating yet vulnerable; fearsome yet empathetic. The bar for any new Daredevil foe has been set fairly high.
Sure, Daredevil will face off against Punisher and (likely) Elektra, but both of those characters are more the anti-hero type. They exist to provide contrast against Daredevil, not to be the primary source of conflict. Kingpin might still have an influence (maybe pulling strings from his jail cell?), but the lack of a clear villain could bog this season down with an over abundance of minor characters and no main opponent.
Con: Marvel’s Cinematic Installments Ignore the Small Screen
One thing that’s become abundantly (and unfortunately) clear since Marvel began its TV endeavors is that the larger MCU isn’t interested in including any major TV crossovers in its cinematic installments. Not to say there aren’t nods and winks, but there are major events happening on Marvel TV that have seemingly no effect on the movies.
With the events of Civil War so close, Daredevil’s role in this universe could feel out of place and insignificant if the events of the show don’t play into the motivation to reel in vigilante action as we’ve seen in trailers for Civil War, especially when Spider-Man – another newer street level hero – has a role in the movie. Why does Peter Parker get the call from Tony Stark and Matt Murdock doesn’t? The lack of an in-universe answer to that question will sadly only erode any claims that Daredevil and the Avengers really share a universe.
Con: It’s Going to be Too Crowded
Live-action superhero adaptations have a long history of collapsing under their own weight when the cast gets too large, and Daredevil could be at risk of joining that list. Sure, Elektra and Punisher are cool, but how many side characters can the show handle without feeling bloated?
There’s enough incomplete plot threads from season 1 to give each pre-existing character a new arc in season 2, but the introduction of both Elektra and Punisher means the story is going to either require some threads to get majorly shorted on development time, or the entire story could suffer.
Popular opinion rarely looks favorably on superhero movies with a large cast. Sure, it worked in The Avengers, but most of those characters already had stand alone introductions. The Spider-Man franchises were killed twice by making the mistake of rushing the introduction of too many characters. Daredevil might be making the same mistake.
Con: The Costumes Don’t Fit the Tone
One of the biggest strengths of the first season was the grounded aesthetic and tone. The Hell’s Kitchen portrayed on screen felt real, and Daredevil’s presence was completely believable. That illusion began to vanish at the end of the show when Matt Murdock makes the transition from masked vigilante to the red-suited Daredevil, largely due to the costume.
The trailers for season 2 don’t do much to alleviate those concerns. In fact, it complicates them a little more with the addition of glowing eyes and what appears to be a black and red suit modeled after Daredevil’s armor suit from the 90’s, which is one of the least popular costumes in his history.
Punisher’s shirt also poses a similar issue. This universe, which started out very grounded and believable, includes a vigilante gunman who wears a black shirt with a giant skull? The homage to the character makes a lot of sense, but it feels too on the nose, and (when viewed in context of Daredevil’s costume) represents another example of a major tonal dichotomy in the show.
Con: Expanded Backstories Could Water Down Continuity
More character introductions in season 2 means an increased likelihood of more flashbacks. Issues of bloat (as mentioned above) aside, this could cause some continuity issues. Punisher’s backstory may not pose a problem, since his history likely isn’t linked to the past of any other main characters, but that’s not the case for Elektra. We already know that Matt and Elektra met in college (thanks to a season 1 Easter egg), and there’s a strongly implied history from her introduction in the first trailer.
The problem here is that there’s not a lot of room for her history to be told before it starts to conflict with what’s been established for Matt Murdock’s journey to Daredevil. Matt is still relatively inexperienced in the first season, so he can’t plausibly have more combat experience prior to his season 1 exploits, but avoiding a shared violent past between him and Elektra could also diminish her character’s relevance. You can call this “The Arrow Conundrum.” If there was more time for a nuanced delve into their past relationship, this might not be a concern, but with everything this show has on its plate, it’s doubtful it can all be cleanly set up.
Obviously the show is highly anticipated, but there are both reasons for and against making it a viewing priority. What do you think? Do you plan to binge watch season 2, or are you going to take your time in diving in? Let us know in the comments!