We hear, for several moments, what Daredevil does, which means — thanks to his heightened senses — we hear everything: sirens, night chatter, bad men up to no good. Then the hero vaults into action, and he so owns the night that the camera can't keep up. We see the city. We see the villains. We see the devil spring from the shadows and then vanish again.
Simply put, there's more giddy comic-book glory in the first five minutes of this season than in the 12 or so hours of the first. Last time around, the show's creators treated with high seriousness every mad element of Daredevil’s convoluted backstory: He can tell by listening to your heartbeat whether or not you're lying! His dad was a crumbum boxer murdered by the mob! The crime-fighting too often was a Sin City noir bummer, the fleet martial arts intercut with close-ups of busted-out kneecaps, and the action forever a prelude to soggy old “We're not so different, you and I” hero-villain colloquies. The show had nothing new to say about fantasy vigilantism, but boy was it eager to say it anyway.
After those 13 episodes of setup — he wasn't even in costume until just before season one's end credits —
That holds true for most of the action, which improves on the first season’s. One early episode pits Daredevil, wielding a chain, against a Double Dragon game's worth of enemy bikers in the corridors and stairwells of a decrepit walk-up. The fight feels endless in a good way, wave after wave, each heavy dispatched with imagination, each
The Punisher drives the story of the first few episodes, but then Daredevil turns — swoons, almost — with the arrival of Elektra (Élodie Yung), a billionaire assassin ex-lover of Daredevil's. Her backstory is as convoluted as Daredevil's, but Yung makes her cruel and commanding, a viperous charmer nursing surprise agendas. Like everything in Daredevil, this is high nonsense, but it's ripely compelling — the complications are something to savor rather than just plot points to binge-rush. She's Marvel Studios’ richest character this side of Jessica Jones.
Also improved: the plotting, the pacing and the palling around with the workplace crew of Daredevil's secret identity, Matt Murdock. Elden Henson's Foggy Nelson, Murdock's best friend and co-counsel in a do-gooder law firm, has found Foggy's heart, and the
Daredevil's Hell's Kitchen remains a gritty-city throwback, a mob-run outer-borough neighborhood somehow situated in Manhattan, rotted through with run-down tenements and gangland executions. Blink away the real Hell's Kitchen of bistros and Bareburger, and the show offers a surprisingly engaged take on the institutions on the brink in the real New York and in all American cities. The emergency rooms are overrun; the newspapers run click-bait and dispatches straight from the mouths of city flacks; the D.A. is prosecuting according to the dictates of her political ambitions; the collaring of one