Sunday, March 27, 2016

Daredevil'ish Thoughts Omnibus

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 Yes, I've combined by two original Dardevil'ish Thoughts into one, mainly because it's interesting to see how my mood soured.

Part 1 - Orignally published March 21, 2016
Hello and welcome to The Basement...

While many have binged watch all 13 episodes of Daredevil Season 2, I am going at a much slower pace... as the time this video, and it's corresponding blog , was produced after viewing episode 6 of this season, meaning I have seven episodes to go. I will keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Right off the bat, let me say the lighting is still absurdly bad to the point I have to watch the show with the lights on, just to see any damn thing when it's set at night or in a dark location. And I've watch it on my phone, TV and PC, and basically it's a poorly lit show. That's my major complaint, it carries over from last season, but let's hit do the run down of the things that are obviously talking points for the first six episodes

Frank Castle, aka the Punisher, is a one man army, gunning down gangs, punishing them for what they did to him and his family... and it appears that the DA Samantha Reyes (who appeared on Jessica Jones), is out to get Frank, and our heroes Matt 'Daredevil' Murdock, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page are caught in the middle... of stopping Castle from his murderous campaign and playing nice with the DA... plus there's the added complication of Elektra, a love from Matt's past, arriving to draw him into her issues that she has going on.

Damn... keeping this spoiler free is going to be tougher than I thought...

Anyway!

From the first six episodes, it appears that this season is being broken down into the chapters, episodes 1-4 deal with Daredevil and The Punisher at odds, in particular with methodology in dealing with crime... and we get a lot, I mean a LOT of plot exposition... I would say it's overly talky when Matt and Frank are face to face, but since they have make the Punisher a 3-Diemensioanl character, there's only one way to do it, as he does get some actual character development, particularly when he interacts with Karen. As mentioned earlier Reyes, the DA, has it out for Frank, and there is a lot of mentions of the cartel and, in less than subtle fashion it's implied that she is quite dirty (in the political sense)

Once the apparent issues with The Punisher are 'resolved', things switch gears as Elektra is introduced at the end of episode 4, with episode 5 having flash backs, and her basically luring Matt into her world, with him trying to stay out of it (which he fails too). Basically Elektra knows Matt is Daredevil, and knowing what he can do means she sees him as an ally (UN-willingly mind you) in dealing with a Yakuza styled organization. While I have an idea of how this is going to fit with The Punisher side of the story, the obvious bit from the start is that Matt is going to have a dual-loyalty problem, which is heavily indicated in episode 6, when it's clear he's really needed to be with Frank, Foggy and Karen when a... ah crap... so much for keeping this spoiler free. Basically Frank is captured thanks to Daredevil and ends up pleading not guilty and Reyes is fast tracking his trial to give our heroes 'no chance' when Matt is off with Elektra.

So, both story lines are compelling... but obviously not as good a season one with The Kingpin's rise and fall, but I'm going half way through the season. I think every character is very well defined, and the interactions come across to me as natural. If there are negatives with the story telling, it probably is at least up to the point I watched is the implied juggling act Matt is going to be doing heading into episode 7.

But I'll give my thoughts on that when I watch the remainder of the season.

Part 2 - Orignally published March 24, 2016
I'm not really sure what the make of what we saw (or didn't see as my same complaint about the poor lighting still stands)... and I'm not fully sure where to begin to try and make sense of this. Actually the best starting point will have to be with where the main focus was for the first chunk of the season.

Frank Castle... aka The Punisher... we get his trial.... and the subsequent implosion of Nelson & Murdock... and it's treat all as a subplot thanks to the Elektra story line, and I have to say... that's real damn shame. I get that the things that went down with Elektra, The Hand and so-forth are all apart of the Daredevil mythos... but man, did some things get royally screwed here. As I said before, The Punisher by far isn't the most interesting character in the Marvel Universe, but when he is on screen and in particular with Karen Page (whose own character growth is tied to his), it gets and actually got frustrating to see his story arc being treated with less importance. He goes to prison, escapes, there's a manhunt, the DA Reyes and other folks tied to the death of Frank's family is killed, he finds out WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE and has some awesome character moments with Karen who is going through her own character turmoil with Nelson & Murdock imploding... and its all treated as secondary. The Trial alone which should've been the focus of the second half of the season, was over and done within two episodes, Frank's in-prison for all of one episode, which sees Wilson Fisk return and we see what he got up too, The Police are going all out find him for 1/2 an episode (And is only brought up when Karen is on the screen)....this raises the question of why wasn't The Punisher just given his own series if basically they were going to shove him aside like this. The best thing that came out of this was the sit down conversation he had with Karen in a diner where he basically set her straight as it relates to Matt Murdock.

And speaking of Matty.... Why is it that every single Superhereo ends up going to through a screwed up hybrid of the Batman-Spider-Man mindset, as in 'the weight of the world is in my shoulders and no-one understands that the mask is more important than the man' b.s. that turns the character into a freaking idiot? We've seen this recently on The Flash with the Earth-2 stuff and it's a reoccurring theme on Arrow. Hell the only actual character development Matt gets is that he got his famous billy-club.

Now lets talk about the mess with him, Elektra, Stick and The Hand...first up, it's this storyline that leads to the rapid implosion of Nelson & Murdock, as it distracts Matt from the task at hand, putting all the weight (as brief as it was) of the Punisher trial on Foggy, who ends up going to a big law firm as a result, but it's treated as a non-issue the further into the season you go despite being what the season was building towards. Because the real focus on the season was all about Elektra and everything else was secondary, we get flash backs of her past, her relationship with Stick, the fact that she is a living weapon. She is the cause of the budding romance of Matt and Karen to falter, the cause of the end of Nelson & Murdock (not to mention a huge reason why the trial of Frank Castle ends up being a non-issue, she's the macguffin used to eliminate a key witness). Now I know she has closer ties to Daredevil than The Punisher does, hell they made sure Elektra was a huge part of the Ben Affleck movie but her presence forced so many rapid changes to the status-quo on the show that I wasn't exactly moved when the character died. Now I know I wouldn't have minded it so much if her story line was the whole season, because the effects caused by her presence from a character standpoint really have no time to breath to feel the weight. Not to mention that her story line basically ends up having nothing to do the with The Punisher story line in no way beyond her presence screwing up the trail.

Damn....

Okay... If I had to describe this season in one word it would be 'crowded', and I think this would've been better served if the focus was kept on Frank Castle, turning the season into about the trial for a longer period of time, his escape from Prison with the investigation of the cartel that's bringing in drugs in large shipments to Hell's Kitchen, as it does tie in directly to events from Season 1. Elektra could've been introduced with a slow build up to tease things for the 3rd season, where the implosion of Nelson & Murdock could've taken place, with her pulling Matt away from his actual job. Not to mention the obvious tie-in with The Punisher and Wilson 'Kingpin' Fisk is very much underplayed.

Grading the season on the whole.... I'd give it a C-.... they had great ideas, but having two very different story lines that had zero to do with the each other other than the one derailing the other just because you want to use more than one Marvel Universe character was an idea that weakened the season as a whole.

Of course you don't have to take my word for it, check Daredevil Season 2 out for yourself on Netflix.

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