* * * B
The first Marvel series made for Netflix, Daredevil is fairly entertaining. The series starts by introducing the character Daredevil and his alter ego, lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox). Matt is blind, but has a unique gift that allows his remaining senses to give him perception that is in many ways more penetrating than vision. He meets another blind man, Stick (Scott Glenn) who trains him in the martial arts.
After an initial battle where he is almost killed and kills a Japanese assassin called Nobu, he vows to never kill again. The remainder of season one is a mixture of court drama and combat as Matt and his partners battle Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), a criminal mastermind attempting to take over and redevelop Matt’s New York neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.
In the second season, the series is more exciting, but jumps around a lot more. There are two major plot arcs. The first involves the Punisher (Jon Bernthal) executing members of several gangs, and Matt defending him in his murder trial. The second involves an old flame, Elektra (Elodie Yung), and the mysterious criminal organization she is battling. The two come together in the conclusion.
I found the first season a little slow. D’Onofrio stood out, and his character was a nice change from the typical one dimensional villain. Season two was more exciting, but it jumped around a little too much. The Punisher was introduced, but is much better developed in his standalone series (see my review of “The Punisher”). Elektra is a bit unlikable (probably intentionally).
Overall, I found Daredevil entertaining, but The Punisher is far better. The narrative structure of season 1 worked well, as Daredevil’s and Matt’s lives interleaved. Season 2 does a poorer job of it, and seems to be trying hard to make the show interesting. In doing so, it becomes a bit frenetic, jumping from one story to another a little quickly. The end of the season does a good job tying it all together.