Marvel’s Daredevil is shaking things up in season 2 with a faster pace, more romance, and some morally complex storytelling that introduces the controversial gun-toting super-antihero The Punisher.
When the Netflix series changed showrunners after season 1, we’ll admit to being a tad concerned. The first season was TV’s first superhero show targeted exclusively to grown-ups and writer-producer Steve S. DeKnight pushed Marvel’s envelope with brutal violence and bold storytelling risks.
So will Daredevil morph into Marvel’s Agents of Hell’s Kitchen for season 2?
Not at all. After visiting the New York set earlier this month and watching the first two episodes of the upcoming season, we can report showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez retain what fans loved about the first year while also flooring the narrative accelerator. Remember how the first season waited until the end of the third episode to give fans a glimpse of Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio, who isn’t expected to appear this season)? The delay worked as the show focused on introducing its heroes and building up Kingpin’s sinister reputation. By contrast, season 2 opens with an action scene and very quickly introduces Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal). This also works. “The advantage of any sequel is you can dive right in,” Petrie says. “We hit the ground running and then we ran as fast as we f—ing could.”
As comic fans know, Castle is an ex-Special Forces soldier with a tragic past who becomes a New York vigilante. He has the same clean-up-the-streets mission as Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), except he uses guns instead of beatdowns and quite simply murders every criminal he can find. Whether he’s a hero or a villain is left open to interpretation (and has long been argued both ways by fans online), but the first couple episodes will have many viewers supporting his techniques.
The Punisher is considered a divisive character because Marvel and D.C. superheroes, as a general rule, avoid ever using guns. Notable exceptions include Captain America when he was fighting in WWII and a few others like Hellboy and Deadpool. But Castle is like a walking NRA ad who hunts down and executes everyday street criminals and gang members, not just supervillains and their henchmen. Expect the show to compare him to Murdock as viewers are pressed to analyze the difference between the two.
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