Daredevil season 2 is almost here! It’s been a long year, but the wait is almost over. All signs point to season 2 being even better than the first, so anticipation is high, but many people may still need to kill some time in until they can get the Devil back on their screen in live action.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of movies and TV shows that just might scratch your Daredevil itch. Be they a throwbacks to the days before the MCU, movies that share inspirations with Daredevil, or any of the movies or TV shows that have some shared universe tie-ins, these are 10 Things You Should Watch Before Daredevil Season 2.
10 Daredevil (2003)
Daredevil (2003) came at a time when the modern superhero movie revolution was still in its infancy. The Joel Schumacher Batman days were over, and everyone was still riding high on the massive success of Spider-Man and (to a lesser extent) X-Men.
Season 1 of Daredevil and the 2003 Daredevil movie both drew inspiration from similar Frank Miller Daredevil comics, but their respective quality doesn't show that. Several fundamental issues prevented the Daredevil movie from being a critical success, and it has since largely faded from public memory.
Still, despite its failures, Daredevil is a great movie to watch for anyone looking to gain an understanding of the evolution of the genre. There was clearly still an urge at the time to lean in a very campy direction - an urge that was fairly resoundingly squashed a few years later with the release of Batman Begins - but the seeds of the darker grounded comic book movies are evident in certain moments.
Who knows, if Daredevil had been released a year or two later, it just might have caught the wave of the serious adaptation, providing a drastically different product. But then we might not have the Netflix series or Ben Affleck as Batman, so there’s still a silver lining to lackluster first outing.
9 The Punisher
Believe it or not, there was a time when R-rated Marvel movies were the expectation, not the exception. The late 90s and early 2000s saw a string of violent, bloody, R-rated Marvel movies, one of which was The Punisher. This was before the days of the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe, so there’s no Samuel L. Jackson cameos here, but The Punisher is still a great way to contrast the massive improvement in quality we’ve gotten in the past decade while still getting a moderately accurate representation of the violent vigilante.
The Punisher wasn’t successful enough to earn a sequel, although Lexi Alexander did direct a rebooted Punisher: War Zone a few years later. War Zone is definitely the preferred version by most, even though it bombed, but the 2004 version with Thomas Jane provides the full origin story, so it might be more appropriate before the introduction of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher in season 2 of Daredevil.
Also, Thomas Jane returned as Frank Castle for Punisher: Dirty Laundry, so a lot of the sins can be forgiven thanks to this gem.
If you want to know just how far the superhero genre has come, find a copy of Elektra (if you can), the ill fated not-a-sequel to the marginally less ill-fated 2003 Daredevil movie. If you ever wonder why studios are so reluctant to get behind female led superhero movies, this is half the reason (Catwoman is the other half).
With Elektra showing up in season 2 of Daredevil, it might be helpful to know just how poor her last outing was. Or, you could just take our word for it and watch some YouTube clips to save yourself the time. Elektra is one of those movies that’s not bad enough to land in the “so bad it’s good” category. Or maybe it is bad enough, but it's just too boring. For the most part, it's been completely forgotten.
There aren’t any rumors of an Elodie Yung Elektra spinoff like there are for Jon Bernthal's Punisher, but that doesn’t mean a strong outing from her interpretation of the character won’t help cleanse the the palate from Jennifer Garner’s lackluster turn as the femme fatale.
7 The Raid: Redemption
In case you thought this list would just be suggesting a bunch of bad movies… here's The Raid: Redemption. You’re welcome. The Raid: Redemption presents some of the best action in any movie ever. The choreography is elaborate, and the violence is nearly non-stop.
Daredevil season 1 presented a massively popular single take hallway fight scene, and season 2 is said have a scene that’s “like that scene on crack," according to Charlie Cox. Considering The Raid is basically the gold standard for hand to hand combat, one can only hope that Daredevil comes anywhere close to what The Raid accomplished.
With a more experienced Daredevil, the introduction of Elektra, and lots of ninjas, Daredevil will have ample opportunity to wow viewers again. If the final trailer is any indication, it won’t let you down.
6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had some issues, but it was still a fairly fun popcorn flick at the end of the day. Why is it on this list? Daredevil comics were actually a significant influence in the original design of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics from Mirage.
In fact, Splinter the rat sensei is nearly a direct rip-off of Stick from Daredevil. Except for the fact that he’s a rat. And Stick isn’t. That small detail aside, the miniature master serves as a harsh father figure to the turtles, and raises them to one day fight back against crime.
The turtles in a half shell are a fun reminder that not all good entertainment needs to be so self-serious, and having fun is the most important part. Even if Daredevil season 2 doesn’t satisfy your every need, it’s all but guaranteed to provide a worthwhile 13 hours of Netflix binging.
5 The Dark Knight
Fans were quick to point out the similarities between Daredevil and Batman Begins as soon as the first trailer dropped last year, and the parallels didn’t end there. Daredevil had a much longer format - obviously, it’s a TV show - but it still bore many structural similarities with Batman Begins, from the way it incorporated flashbacks, to the slow burn with the inexperienced hero, down to the restraint shown by both properties in not having the hero don the iconic duds until most of the way through the story.
Now that season 2 picks up with a fully formed Daredevil, it’s only appropriate to compare it to The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight introduces us to a Batman that has passed his first major trial and has to face off against the Joker, a villain that presents a struggle anchored more in principle than physicality.
While the Punisher definitely presents Daredevil with a more of physical threat, he also serves as a major crisis of principle in the same way. Will he be able to force Daredevil to betray his convictions? There’s a very similar dynamic at play between these two stories.
Not that the stories will be complete mirrors of each other, but why would you turn down an opportunity to watch The Dark Knight? Christopher Nolan’s second Batman installment quickly became the standard by which all superhero sequels are judged. Daredevil season 2 should be no different.
4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Marvel universe was rocked after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel TV and Marvel Studios don’t tend to collaborate with crossovers very much, but The Winter Soldier is the stand out here. The re-emergence of Hydra and the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. sent waves through several other MCU properties, and several remaining ripples are still affecting much of the universe. This is specifically seen in the public distrust of superheroes - seeds that were sown in The Winter Soldier.
Season 1 of Daredevil didn’t see any overt ties to The Winter Soldier, but the same public sentiment is visible. The people of Hell's Kitchen are wary of Daredevil. He functions outside the law, and there tends to be collateral damage whenever he shows up. This is obviously a big theme leading into Captain America: Civil War, and events in Daredevil season 2 can only perpetuate that perspective.
Outside the larger MCU plot, The Winter Soldier set a new standard for action choreography in the MCU. Daredevil is (so far) the only other property to hit a similar level of visceral violence. As mentioned above, we can only expect that to be a quality cranked up to 11 in season 2.
3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The public conflict over superheroes extends outside the Marvel cinematic installments, too. In fact, the majority of this conflict is portrayed in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (especially in season 3) with the Inhumans. The Government (and the public) are uncomfortable knowing there are potentially dangerous metahumans on the loose. Daredevil himself is a metahuman, so - even though he’s not an Inhuman - he’s not going to be the government’s biggest friend. As if he was in the first place.
Besides that, Matt Murdock and Skye (Daisy Johnson) were both orphans at Saint Agnes Orphanage. Who knows if they know each other, but the similar history does present possibly strong ties between the two characters. Aside from a couple of Easter eggs (such as the orphanage), Daredevil didn't have any major crossovers with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last season, but the mere possibility presents some exciting potential!
2 Jessica Jones
Daredevil kicked off the road to the Defenders team-up series, and Jessica Jones brought in the second major chunk of that Netflix universe, including the introduction of the 3rd Defenders member, Luke Cage. Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage (along with Danny Rand) are all fairly close in the comics, so their introduction will have significant ties to Daredevil. If not now, then definitely down the road.
Jessica Jones was able to stick to an almost entirely self-contained story, but the last few episodes did include a major character crossover with the appearance of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), the nurse that helps to stitch up Matt Murdock in early episodes of Daredevil. With Dawson returning for Daredevil season 2, the tie-ins can only get stronger.
Claire aside, Jessica Jones also took place in Hell’s Kitchen, so the actions of Kilgrave (which were no small deal) are bound to have affected the lives of Matt Mudock and co. to some extent. Hell’s Kitchen is a big neighborhood, but not big enough to insulate an event that large.
Jessica Jones also introduced Frank Simpson, AKA Nuke, who’s the result of a failed project intended to recreate the same Super Soldier program that created Captain America. Nuke was originally introduced in Frank Miller’s Daredevil: Born Again, so there’s even more opportunity for tie-ins with his character, especially with The Punisher coming to town.
1 Avengers: Age of Ultron
Daredevil is an intimate story of a vigilante’s struggle to keep his neighborhood safe, so the jump in scale to the global conflict of Avengers: Age of Ultron is huge, but the events of the latter will likely trickle down to affect the life of our blind hero.
Season 1 was full of references to “the incident” - the destruction of New York from the first Avengers. New York is rebuilding and, happily, the Avengers saved the day, but they don’t get completely absolved from blame. Age of Ultron didn’t cause any major destruction to New York, but it did have Ultron pick up all of Sokovia, nearly dropping it to disastrous impact, so people are likely even more on edge now.
The events of The Winter Soldier, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the actions of Kilgrave in Jessica Jones already put people on edge, but with Civil War on the way, any collateral damage resulting from conflict between Punisher, Daredevil, and any other antagonists in season 2 will likely land them all a spot on Iron Man’s naughty list come Civil War.
What do you think? What will you be watching in the run up to season 2 of Daredevil? Let us know in the comments!