You know you’re one bad day away from being me.
That’s what Frank Castle (aka the Punisher, in a incredible performance by John Bernthal), tells Daredevil. But as he says it, it seems to be not only a commentary on Matt Murdock’s style of vigilantism but an address to all of us. Who among us when hearing of some new act of horror and injustice hasn’t secretly wished that someone would just kill the person(s) responsible for it?!? The whole concept of superhero crime fighters after all is that they’re the ones who can deal out the retribution that the regular justice system can’t deliver. The genius of Netflix’s series Daredevil, now celebrating its second season, is that it’s willing to look at that truth directly – and the darker side to that ethos.
It also serves as the best representation of the Punisher yet to come on screen. In fact it’s arguably Castle’s season as much as Murdock’s. Too often in the past he’s been dismissed as just a random gun toting psycho, (Deadpool without the humor or breaking the 4th Wall), or worse yet celebrated as some emblem of “badassery” we should all emulate. But this version of Frank Castle is both profoundly human and profoundly disturbing, a former war hero and dedicated family man who lost everything in a few moments of random violence. We can see the humanity still within the man, but we are also witnesses to the carnage he dispels as well; going so far as to hang cartel members on meat hooks, while they’re still alive. Castle of course serves as a dark foil to Matt, but his best scenes are usually with Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) who can’t help but feel some empathy for him despite her belief in his madness.
While Season One was focused on Daredevil’s war to take down Wilson (The Kingpin) Fisk, Season Two doesn’t really have a main villain as such. It feels more like a set-up to later events in presumably Daredevil Season Three and/or the promised Netflix defender series in terms of plot drive. In terms of theme the season functions as the main build-up for Captain America: Civil War by showcasing how and why the public is becoming increasingly fed up with the whole notion of super powered persons who act as though they’re above the law.
Overall as much as Wilson Fisk is to be missed, the series holds up well in the second season. Besides Bernthal we have Elodie Yung who as Femme Fatale Electra is the Girl We Love to Hate, and the return of some other favorites. Not only does Matt’s personal journey continue but Foggy Nelson and Karen Page each have independent story arcs as well, and the season as a whole is much more fast paced than Season One – though again it feels more like it’s setting the stage in the future than as a complete story in and of itself.
Daredevil can be streamed on Netflix.
As the countdown continues to the eagerly anticipated second season of Netflix’s critically acclaimed streaming series Daredevil, let’s take a moment to appreciate one of the secrets to the show’s success; it’s knockout cast. Here’s what they’ve done before (and since!) bringing the grittier side of the Marvel Universe to life.
Charlie Cox Before mesmerizing us as Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox unsuccessfully pursued Lady Mary on Downton Abbey (above), played Lorenzo in The Merchant of Venice, got romantic in Casanova, got entangled with gangsters in Boardwalk Empire, and formed a romantic triangle with Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He’s next scheduled to appear in the vampire action/horror movie Eat Local.
Vincent D’Onofrio His take on Wilson “The Kingpin Fisk was absolutely revelatory, but of course he’s had a very long and varied career before that. He first really came to public attention as the mentally disturbed Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket. This was followed by memorable turns in such films as Mystic Pizza, JFK, Feeling Minnesota, Men in Black, The Newton Boys, Steal This Movie, The Cell, Thumbsucker, and most recently Jurassic World. Not to mention his many, many years as Bobby Goren on Law and Order: Criminal Intent (above). He will be seen next in the tv series Emerald City as the Wizard, and has also been cast in Antoine Fuqua’s remake of The Magnificent Seven.
Deborah Ann Woll She may be Karen Page on Daredevil, but to many Deborah will always be Jessica the baby vamp sired by Bill on True Blood (above). Deborah also played Paul Dano’s former flame in Ruby Sparks and starred opposite Bruce Willis in Catch .44.
Elden Henson Before he stole our hearts as Matt’s best friend and legal partner Foggy Nelson, Elden was stealing the scenes in the 90’s teen romantic comedy She’s All That as Laney Bogg’s smart, chubby best guy friend. Elden would later be part of such films as Cast Away with Tom Hank. O with Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles, and Josh Hartnett. Lords of Dogtown with Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch, and most recently the role of Pollux in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1&2 (above).
Toby Leonard Moore Chilling as Fisk’s right hand man Wesley, Moore’s played bad guys before such as Russian thug Victor in John Wick. He can currently be seen on the Showtime series Billions as point man to crusading D.A. Chuck Rhodes (above, right, with Paul Giamatti).
Eyelet Zurer Israeli actress Ayelet made quite an impression as beautiful gallery owner Vanessa who becomes Wilson Fisk’s love interest. Before she stealing D’Onofrio’s heart though, she played wife to Mossad agent Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana) in Munich, a terrorist in Vantage Point, love interest to Tom Hanks in Angels & Demons, and biological mother to Superman in Man of Steel. She’s set to play the role of Naomi in the latest remake of Ben Hur (above) alongside Jack Huston in the title role and Toby Kebbel as Massala.
Vondie Curtis-Hall It was Vondie’s performance that made us feel the pain of Ben Urich’s loss. Not surprising considering the career he’s had that began with a cameo in Coming to America. He starred as Dr. Dennis Hancock on Chicago Hope and was featured in such films as Eve’s Bayou, Romeo + Juliet, Heaven’s Prisoners, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Cymbeline. He also wrote, directed, and performed in the cult black comedy-drama Gridlock’d. His most recent work includes a guest appearance on Rosewood, and the upcoming Breaking Brooklyn (above).
Rosario Dawson The stunning Rosario has now appeared on two Netflix streaming series (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) as Claire Temple nurse to superheroes but the actress/singer has been a leading lady of Hollywood for a long, long time. She made her debut in the controversial indie film Kids and went on to do He Got Game, Sidewalks of New York, 25th Hour, Sin City, Unstoppable, Trance, and Gimme Shelter. She’s currently filming the thriller Unforgettable (above) alongside Kathryn Heigl and Cheryl Ladd.
Bob Gunston Wilson’s slimeball lawyer Leland Owsly has one of the longest resumes in Hollywood with credits going back to 1981. He’s best known for his work playing the corrupt warden in The Shawshank Redemption, General Harker in Glory, and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in Argo (above).
And now to look at some new names who will be appearing in Season 2…
Jon Bernthal Currently best known for playing Shane on The Walking Dead, Bernthal will be joining the cast of Daredevil as Frank Castle aka The Punisher. He’s also been in The Wolf of Wall Street and Sicario. Bernthal will be appearing in the upcoming Ben Affleck thriller The Accountant.
Elodie Yung French-Cambodian actress Elodie will be playing Matt’s infamous Greek assassin love interest Electra ( above, who was hinted at in Season 1.) While she’s been a star in her native France for many years, her first major role in a English language film was Lisbeth Salander’s love interest Miriam Wu in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She then went on to play ninja Jinx in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and goddess Hathor in Gods of Egypt.
Stephen Rider is set to play crusading D.A Blake Tower in the second season. Notable work in the past includes The Great Debaters, Safe House, and The Butler (above).
Daredevil’s Season 2 is available March 18, 2016, on Netflix.
Top photo: Bigstock