The first reviews for Daredevil season 2 are in, and all any of us are thinking is, "Please be good, please be good, please be good." Well, we can rest pretty easy now, because although only a few reviews are out so far, they're all extremely positive. By all accounts, Daredevil's sophomore outing is every bit as great as its first; it may not have 100% rectified its pacing and dialogue issues, but the performances are great, the fight choreography is flawless, and the narrative is both exciting and thoughtful, with real emotional stakes.
But let's be real, there's only one thing we're all dying to know: does Jon Bernthal's Punisher live up to fans' lofty expectations? The answer seems to be a resounding "yes," as all of the early reviews are raving about the Walking Dead star's performance as Frank Castle.
Bernthal was born for this role
. The iconic Marvel
Comics character Frank Castle aka The Punisher isn't exactly a stretch for Bernthal, having played similar characters in Fury and The Walking Dead, but the talented actor nails the grim focus and unhinged nature of the murderous anti-hero. - Nerd Repository
Bernthal is terrific
, and there are a few moments where you can see hints of the man Frank Castle was before he decided to make it his business to slaughter gangsters. This isn't a charming leading man angling for his own series, it just serves to make Castle's story all the more tragic. - Den of Geek
It's no surprise that Frank Castle is a breakout character, or that Bernthal is up to the task. But the early reviews are equally glowing for Elodie Yung's Elektra, who was a little bit more of a wildcard:
Fans should be quite pleased with this extremely faithful incarnation of the character, as Yung is visually ripped from the panels of a Frank Miller comic
. She looks the part and plays it with confidence, seduction and dangerous intrigue. Oh, and she can kick ass too. Naturally. There's real, palpable chemistry between Yung and Cox, and whenever they're onscreen together there's an air of danger along with a feeling of a loss of control – for both characters. - Nerd Repository
Elodie Yung's Elektra Natchios is the character to watch. The mysterious woman from Matt's past is not only clever and cold, but every bit the physical match for Daredevil, as well as everyone else she crosses paths with... Just as surely as the first season of this show effectively erased the 2003 film from everyone's memories, Bernthal and Yung can safely be considered the definitive versions of these characters.
- Den of Geek
And of course, all of the virtues from the first season are still there, including Charlie Cox's equally definitive performance, his easy chemistry with Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson, and the unimpeachable fight choreography. There is an early action sequence that is clearly trying to top the success of the season one hallway fight scene, and although that might have been a too-ambitious goal, the scene is reportedly pretty awesome in its own right.
There's an extended fight sequence in a stairwell that's one of the more impressive action pieces this relatively modestly budgeted endeavor has produced. - Variety
[An early episode] includes an incredible fight sequence early on that was clearly meant to top the insane hallway fight from Season 1. I don't think I will praise it quite that high – it's close – but the ante is definitely upped in this sequence, and the choreography and carnage are undeniably badass. - Nerd Repository
[The] fight scenes are every bit as spectacular as you would hope (although one, clearly an attempt to one-up the incredible corridor fight from season one, feels a little self-conscious in its intentions...it's still damn cool, though). - Den of Geek
All that being said, there may be a few disappointments here and there, especially in the first few episodes. Season two apparently fails to address certain flaws from the first season, and starts out a little bit off-kilter. Like season one, it might take a few episodes to warm up and become less slow-paced and talky.
Having experienced behind-the-scenes changes (and returned with a staggering roster of 14 credited executive producers), the show looks a bit unsteady and feels inordinately talky in the early going. While it's established that the milieu is essentially R-rated territory, the beginning is so dark and brooding as to border on self-parody, with the Punisher portrayed almost as a Terminator, maiming and inflicting enough torture to feel like a Tarantino homage. - Variety
The bad news is that Daredevil season 2 fails to address some of season one's weaknesses... The pacing, handily season one's biggest flaw, hasn't improved, and there's no shortage of overwritten, overwrought dialogue, often delivered in long chunks. Sometimes it's expository (which is little excuse), and other times, well, it feels like these characters just want to hear themselves talk. - Den of Geek
However, there has been one dissenting vote so far, which claims that the dialogue is actually one of this season's strengths, especially the scenes between Daredevil and Punisher:
Even more impressive is the dialogue-only scenes between Cox and Bernthal, which come across more riveting than the punches and explosions. The episodes definitely slow down when necessary, and the scripts really capture the essence of each character, allowing Cox and Bernthal to run with the material and create gripping, emotional – even desperate – conversations between two men, both trying to find retribution. These moments are wonderfully true to each character, and just fascinating to watch. - Nerd Repository
Daredevil season two starts streaming on Netflix
on March 18.