Hear Her Roar! (Wonder Woman Review)

On any other day, if you were asked who comes to mind when told to think of a “female superhero”, it’s almost always gonna be her. For a character as iconic and trailblazing as Wonder Woman, there were many failed attempts to bring her into the live action mainstream media (save for the 1970’s television show starring Lynda Carter). So when the DC announced that she was getting her own movie, many people cheered while a bunch of us groaned. Remember, this was the studio that brought us such instant classics such as The Green Lantern (in his CGI costumed glory), Batman V Superman (MARTHA!!!) and Suicide Squad (This is Kitana!! She’s got my back!). In their defense, they also brought us the Dark Knight Trilogy. And now, they gave us Wonder Woman

I was so glad to leave the theater when the credits rolled. This is not only a desperately needed win for DC, but once again proves that women (both behind and in front of the camera) can lead the charge in a big blockbuster film, as well as finally giving Wonder Woman her overdue spotlight. Here you got great character development, excellent direction, intense action scenes and of course, superb acting from the whole cast, with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine deserving special recognition for their roles here.

The film follows Diana, Princess of Themyscira, as she embarks on a journey with pilot Steve Trevor after he crash lands near her island in the midst of World War I. Diana leaves behind her utopian home for our complicated world and learns that she must do all that she can to put a stop to the war. If you weren’t sure if you liked Gadot from her few scenes in Batman v Superman, this film ought to put those doubts to rest

Gadot fits the role of the Amazonian Princess perfectly and adds her own touches to make it hers alone. She can be both nurturing, but aggressive, naive, but wise, graceful, and full on warrior mode. She also manages to get a couple of laughs along with Pine who serves as the comic relief in their adventures. Another thing I noted while watching this move is the shift in tone compared to Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. While those movies turn the bleak factor up to 11, there is a surprising sense of hope by the end of the movie (which is sad when I’m talking about superhero movies that are sorta meant to invoke hopefulness to their audience, but I digress).

In an interesting move, the film balances its superhero elements with war movie features as trench battles and gun fights take center stage during the big action scenes. I also really liked the structure they went with for the film, which presents all the events as a flashback so we learn more about Diana and how she became the woman we met in Batman v Superman. This makes her character more matured, as we see how far she has come and changed since her first days in our world and where this can lead in future films. She’s portrayed as a war hero in the same manner as how we view our veterans, except she’s got superpowers and is immortal.

Now, no film is without its flaws. The many slow motion scenes that occur during the action both highlight the beauty of the scene, but there were so many of them that it got a little distracting after a while. I’m assuming producer Zach Snyder must be behind that, while director Patty Jenkins was probably forced to compromise. This only justifies my fears that Snyder is the main problem of the DCEU. Though no fault of its own, the exposition does drag the film a little in its first act. That I can excuse only because the film wanted to explain Wonder Woman’s place of origin in more detail. If you can muster through it, you’ll be fine.

Other than that, this film definitely sets the bar for other DC films to follow and I cannot wait to see what else Gadot will do with the character. She’s pretty much become the main reason I’m considering watching the Justice League movie. With a couple of applause worthy moments, Wonder Woman is a delightfully refreshing thrill ride with a star making performance from Gadot.

Remember to always dress right to fight!

Rating: 4.25/5

 

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Thank You Hugh (Logan Review)

17 Years

Hugh Jackman has been playing Logan/Wolverine for 17 years, and by god, it was an amazing ride. It’s difficult enough for directors to find actors who are able to play a character well, but even less so to find an actor who fits so well into a role, that just watching it happen before your eyes feels like magic. You really can’t imagine these characters being played by someone else (Heath Ledger as the Joker, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, or almost everyone in the Harry Potter movies)

Logan is meant to be Jackman’s final performance as everyone’s favorite curmudgeon mutant, as well as Patrick Stewart’s final appearance as the wise telepathic Charles Xavier. Both actors are marvelous here as their old characters, but whom have gone through rough times over the course of more than a decade. Logan’s healing factor is receding, the adamantium that coats his skeleton is beginning to poison him and he’s now working as a chauffeur. All while having to take care of Professor Xavier who has seemingly gone senile and is losing control of his telepathic abilities. They are also accompanied by Calaban (played by Stephen Merchant), an albino mutant who’s ability is to track other mutants.

Their lives are uprooted by the appearance of Laura/X-23, a young mutant who resembles Logan and needs to be brought to a safe haven no one is even sure exists. She is played by 12-year old Dafne Keen, who is remarkable here. Equal parts bad ass, likable and adorable, Keen definitely holds her own while paired up with Jackman. The film turns into a road trip/ chase film as our heroes our pursued by the menacing Donald Pierce (played by Boyd Holbrook) with intentions to capture and kill Laura.

Perhaps, the most obvious thing I loved off the bat was, because of the film’s R rating, Logan is able to be his true visceral self. Bloody, foul mouthed and unleashed, this is probably the best portrayal of Wolverine ever shown on film. Despite that, this is also the most sympathetic we’ve seen of the character. Not just because of his weaker state, but because we see him take on more of a father figure to Laura and Professor Xavier.

Also noticeable is the complete change of tone compared to the previous films. While the rest of the X-men films felt more action packed and were prone to over-the-top moments, Logan goes for a more bleaker realistic look that emphasizes the gravity of our heroes’ situation. Whether in the middle of the desert or deep in the woods, there’s always a sort of desperate aesthetic that shadows the film, even during its warmer moments. It definitely makes this film stand out compared to the other films in the series

Without spoiling the ending, I will say that it is a fitting, if painful, send off for Logan and Hugh Jackman.The final battle is both satisfying and gripping, with all the players involved getting their time to shine. If you are even slightly susceptible to tears, you might wanna bring your handkerchief.

In all seriousness, even at his lesser films (*cough Origins: Wolverine) watching Jackman playing Wolverine for almost two decades was a joy to experience. We only get these occurrences once in a while and they rarely last as long as Jackman did with Logan. As the that old saying goes “All good things must come to an end”

Thank you Hugh

Rating 4.5/5

ALWAYS keep the flash on (Get Out Review)

I wasn’t a devoted viewer of the hit comedy series Key and Peele, but I have enjoyed the few skits I did see and was aware of the show’s acclaim, citing its biting satire and relevant social commentary.

So when I heard that Jordan Peele, a noted comedian, wanted to direct a horror film, my interest was piqued. I love it when comedians take up something that is outside their spectrum; Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine, Robin Williams in every dramatic role he takes on, and Louis CK’s own show when it gets pretty deep. With Peele’s debut film Get Out, I gladly have another entry to add to that list.

The film follows Chris Washington (played by Daniel Kaluuya) driving down countryside with girlfriend Rose (played by Allison Williams) to meet her parents (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). Chris and Rose are an interracial couple and he voices his concern that Rose’s parents are unaware that she is dating a black man. Though Rose assures him that there’s nothing to worry about, Chris’ suspicions start to grow true as her parents and the housekeepers (all of them black FYI) act strangely around him.

From the first scene of Chris and Rose together, you know that the topic of race is taking center stage. But part of the brilliance of the film is the way Peele uses it as the source of most of the suspense, tension and some comedic moments sprinkled in the relieve said tension. You can almost see it start off as a skit for his show, but then it grew into something new.

Daniel Kaluuya has been a favorite up and coming actor of mine since seeing in the Black Mirror episode “500 Million Merits” and Sicario. He is likable, funny and shows immense star potential in this film, only complimented by his co-stars who are all up in their A-game. I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.

Speaking of funny, a shout out to Lil Rel Howery for his role as Chris’ best friend Rod for providing some of the best comic relief I’ve seen in a while. Every scene he’s in has gotten the audience dying of laughter.

Get Out is an effective Social Horror film that is a breath of fresh air for the genre and inspires lot of interesting ideas. Jordan Peele has proven that he’s got as much talent behind the camera as he does in front of it and I can’t wait to see what other concepts he’s got in store. The cast nails their roles just right and the film gives out some interesting messages about the nature of race, relationships and identity. That twist at the end by the way is as bonkers, messed up and creepy as you can expect from the mind of Jordan Peele.

Side Note: To anybody who might find this film offensive or racist in any way or for any reason, I just got two words for you: Get Out

Rating: 8.5/10

You Can’t Turn it Off and On Again (Black Mirror Season 3 Review)

CHILL OUT. NO SPOILERS HERE

So I only got into watching Black Mirror after stumbling by the trailer for its third season. I only heard about the show and I didn’t really get interested until I saw the trailer. Like most good trailers, it had me thinking “What the fuck did I just watch and where can I watch more of it?”

To any potential viewers, Black Mirror is a British anthology series that is basically what the Twilight Zone would be if the stories were set in the not too distant future and they revolved misusing technology. And WAAAAAY more fucked up.

There are thirteen 44-75 minute episodes as of now and if you’re like me, that is nowhere near enough to keep satisfied. The show’s creator and main writer Charlie Brooker unleashes almost every possible what-can-go-wrong scenario with humanity’s use of technology and does extraordinarily well. If the episodes aren’t unsettling enough, it’s more unsettling because you could definitely see us going down those paths if we’re not careful.

Season 3 has recently come out on Netflix last weekend and after binge watching them (which is mistake that lead to many mixed emotions), I am ready to review them. Being that each episode deals with a different plot and character, I will review each episode in a paragraph or less. Ranking these episodes was a challenge as Season 3 proved to be Black Mirror‘s best season yet. Maybe I’ll do a similar version for seasons 1 and 2, but enough about my future plans!

S3 E1: Nosedive (4.5/5)

Imagine Peeple (that App that lets you rank other people), but taken to the extreme. Now imagine if a low ranking can have real life consequences, now THAT’s scary. Bryce Dallas Howard is our protagonist as Lacie Pound, a young woman who is trying really hard to get everybody to like her for a better ranking. This is definitely one of the funnier episodes in the series as a whole, being that it was also co-written by Rashida Jones and Michael Schur (Parks and Rec anyone?). What I like most about this episode is its critique of society’s obsession with our need of approval from others and vice versa. The humor was also a nice touch which, if you’ve seen the entire series, is not present that often. And yes, I noticed the irony of me ranking an episode about….well, ranking.

S3 E2: Playtest (4.5/5)

A young man traveling the world is hired as a video game tester in hopes of using the money to get back home. I will say this: I did find the idea of VR video games interesting and innovative, but after watching this episode, I’m gonna give it a HARD pass. There’s not much social commentary here, so it’s an episode mostly focused on the paranoia and terror of wondering if what you’re seeing is real or just a simulation. Mixing terror and comedy just right, Playtest will have any gamers crazy enough to try VR Gaming to proceed with caution. Oh and…ALWAYS call your Mother.

S3 E3: Shut Up and Dance (4.9/5)

This and San Junipero are my favorite episodes of the season for the exact opposite reasons. An all-too-real story about a teenager who is blackmailed by hacker who secretly filmed him in his “private time” on his laptop. Alex Lawther’s performance as the teenager is spectacular here, perfectly capturing the anxiety, panic and desperation that one would go through in his situation. But the ending, OH MY GOD, that ending will leave you infuriated and broken but probably not for the reason you’re thinking. If this episode doesn’t get you to put a strip of tape over your laptop camera, I don’t know what will.

S3 E4: San Junipero (5/5)

On the other hand, here’s an episode that made me feel tons better after that soul scorching conclusion in Shut Up and Dance. Here we have love story about a woman searching for her friend in the paradise of, you guessed it, San Junipero. If you’ve noticed by now, most of Black Mirror‘s appeal is the dark outcomes of the story that’ll leave you worried if we are really heading in that direction. This is one episode,however, will make you wish we ARE heading there. The main protagonists (Mackenzie Davis and Gugu MBatha Raw) are perfect together and the story effortlessly combines science fiction, romance and a sense of optimism that’ll just leave a goofy smile on your face by the time it ends. Heaven IS a Place on Earth, am I right!?

S3 E5: Men Against Fire (4/5)

In a future where modern warfare has changed, a soldier begins to experience glitches that mess with his tech that helps him identify enemy targets, as well as his mind. While I did enjoy the story (depending on your definition of “enjoy”) and the cast, my only gripe with this episode is that it was pretty on-the-nose with the social commentary. That, however, doesn’t take away from the message it’s trying to send and how relevant it is now.  Sometimes, you don’t really know who your enemies are unless you open your eyes.

S3 E6: Hated in the Nation (4.75/5)

The longest episode of the season and it uses every minute to good use. A pair of detectives investigate the mysterious death of a journalist, which might be linked to the internet hate she received for an article she wrote. What makes this episode stand out is its take on how easy it is for us to express hate over someone on the internet without considering the consequences. In other words, in a world where anybody can become scrutinized by the internet, shouldn’t the scrutinizers also be punished? In true Black Mirror fashion, the ending is going to leave some jaws on the floor. And if you hate bees, watch with caution.

And that’s Black Mirror Season 3. The whole series is definitely worth a watch. It’s relevant, thought provoking and is total mindfuck.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have to contemplate how we as species are doomed by the very thing we created. Have a nice day!

P.S. If you wanna know what the title “Black Mirror” means, turn off your device 😉

Who you gonna call? (2016 Ghostbusters Review)

Calling this film’s journey up to its premiere a “shitstorm” would be a MASSIVE understatement. Yada yada, most hated trailer on Youtube, yada “women shouldn’t be Ghostbusters”, protests over the film, blah blah “I didn’t see it, but I know it’s going to suck” blah blah blah

I will say one thing that is perhaps the films BIGGEST failure from the start. Whoever was in charge of the marketing behind Ghostbusters should be fired and never work again. Seriously. This is not a case in which “If a lot of people are talking about it, then we must be doing something right” It’s not. This is the complete opposite effect. I was willing to the give the film a chance despite not being that excited about the trailer. And as months flew by and more ads came out, I was even less certain if the film was worth watching. And I’m somebody, despite all that, who was willing to give it a chance. I can safely bet there are probably who can only handle too much before they decide “Nope! Not doing it!”, which as a result can lead to not so stellar box office numbers.

The marketing did ONE thing right. It brought some much needed discussion about judging a film by its trailer and how careful marketing teams should treat movies. Having seen the movie, I can safely say that the just because the trailers are underwhelming doesn’t mean the film is destined to be ( As shown from Kingsman, Cabin in the Woods, Eternal Sunshine, to name a few). The same can be be said vice versa; Awesome trailers doesn’t always equal awesome movies (Tomorrowland, The Last Airbender, The Phantom Menace).

But I digress….

Contrary to what most people wished it could be, 2016’s Ghostbusters is not a film that is meant to do the original film justice but still works as a fun and funny movie to catch. If you watch it hoping that it can match the wit, charm and all around classic feel of the original, then you’re going to be let down. In the film’s defense, trying to recapture the original Ghostbusters iconic status is near impossible task. And let’s not pretend that this is the first time a Ghostbusters movie failed in doing so (*cough Ghostbusters 2)

People should also remember that this is a Paul Feig movie, as in, not an Ivan Reitman film. The style will be different, the comedy will be different, the look will be different. In a nutshell, DIFFERENT. MOVIE. That said, it’s definite new spin on the franchise, with vibrant colors in almost every scene in the movie and the signature Feig comedy seen in his past films. Something else Feig does differently here is how the characters react to the dangerous situations. In the original, the stakes were high but you could feel that the characters weren’t taking their obstacles seriously, even when threatened with death. Here, the stakes re also high, but there is a clear sense of danger and risk, which feels odd in a movie involving ghosts taking over New York.

The cast, while likable and funny, was probably where I feel a bit mixed and not for the reasons you’re probably thinking. Kristen Wiig’s Erin Gilbert is basically a more nervous and adorably shy female version of Harold Ramis’s Egon. She’s as funny and sometimes manic as you can imagine Kristen Wiig can be in her characters. Mellisa McCarthy’s Abby Yates is the persistent scientist who is pretty much what you’d imagine if McCarthy played a scientist: Funny, brash and passionate at what she does. Leslie Jones is the street smart Patty Tolan who is basically a more useful version of Ernie Hudson’s Winston. She was a subway worker who joins the team after a close encounter with a ghost and has a few tricks up her sleeves to show her value. Then there’s Kate McKinnon’s Jill Holtzmann. She I feel little mixed about. Yeah, she’s the kooky eccentric scientist who acts cool and in control, but maybe that’s kinda te problem. She’s REALLY crazy, so crazy in fact she kinda takes you out of the movie. There’s not a moment where she’s not moving around. She definately the funniest of the four but if there is such a thing as overdoing it, that would be her character. 

With that said, I would definately reccommend a viewing just to settle the debates that plagued its pre-screening journey. It’s a greatexample of  how a movies trailer does not define the movie itself
Rating: 3.8/5

 

Let’s get ready to Fumble!!!! (Batman V Superman movie review)

Like most of you guys, I grew a little worried when I saw the less than stellar reviews. I mean, a Batman vs. Superman movie HAS to be an exciting endeavor that even a lack of story can’t bring down. That’s not to say that the story shouldn’t matter. It certainly mattered in the influential Frank Miller graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, which the movie is partially based on. Alas, after having seen the movie, I kinda have to side with the critics on this one

Zach Synder is a pretty weird director for me. Its seems like whenever he includes less in his movies, they turn out great (Dawn of the Dead, 300). But when he goes the other way and attempts to cram everything he can, they kinda fall flat (Watchmen, Man of Steel). Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice unfortunately falls in the latter. This is not one movie, this 5 different movies being stuffed into 2 hours and 30 minutes, which can leave viewers wanting more.

Let’s get the positives out of the way first:

If you get Zach Snyder, of course you get great action and BvS certainly delivers. The action scenes, particularly the ones with Batman, are thrilling and intense. The special effects may go overboard with some scenes, but for a movie with this much intensity fused in, I’m willing to let it slide.

Ben Affleck is a delightful surprise as Bruce Wayne/Batman, as he conveys him as a brooding and world weary aging man who has a bone to pick with Superman. Almost every scene involving him are definitely the highlights of the movie and I can’t wait for the stand alone Batman film that Affleck is planning to direct AND star in.

I was more surprised at how well Gal Gadot plays Wonder Woman, as I wasn’t really crazy about her casting for the Amazon Warrior. I was really rooting for a sorta UFC fighter Gina Carano look alike casting, but whatever. Gadot is pretty likable and bad-ass here and like Affleck, I would really like to see where she takes her character in future films, if I’m willing to (more on that later). My only gripe with her being in the movie is that she didn’t really have to be in this movie. That’s not to say she was in any way a negative factor, but what I am saying is that cutting her out of the movie would have shortened the film’s runtime of 2 hours and 30 minutes and leaves open the option to do better justice (haha, get it?) for her in her own origin film.

Henry Cavill and Amy Adams are still great as Clark Kent/ Superman and Lois Lane, respectfully. Their chemistry fares a little better here than in Man of Steel and I find myself still rooting for their relationship and seeing how things have changed after the events of Man of Steel.

The intro is where I’ll bridge the good and the bad of this movie because I was pretty divided about it. The intro is cut into two halves (Not a complete SPOILER ALERT) Bruce Wayne as a child during and after his parents’ death and Bruce Wayne as an adult running through the city while Superman and General Zod duke it out. The intro with the ADULT Bruce Wayne is perhaps some of the best character introduction I have ever seen. We meet Bruce as the man he becomes and see what his values are. It was then and there I realized that Affleck would be a pretty convincing Batman and I can’t wait to see what he brings to the table. Now let me refer back to the OTHER half of the intro with child Bruce Wayne

The negatives:

The film’s awesome second half of the intro, however, is brought down by what I think is one of the worst intros I have ever seen. This first half of the intro is where we meet Bruce as child, dealing with the aftermath of his family’s murder while remembering the murder itself. (I’d put a spoiler alert there, but honestly if you don’t know THAT part of the Batman lore by now, I don’t know what to tell you). Anyways, the first half of the intro was jarring to watch, as the editor continues fading back and forth to the present and past, while fading to black before the next scene may point out. It was a bit disorienting to watch. (SPOILER ALERT sorta) After young Bruce runs away from the funeral, he falls into a well and finds a cave of bats lying dormant and things go from interesting to ridiculous. After Bruce accidentally awakens the bats, they surround him. Initially frightened, Bruce then stands his ground and begins floating upwards with the help of the bats. I shit you not, my jaw was open by the time that scene ended, in disbelief. (SPOILERS END HERE)

Jesse Eisenberg’s performance as Lex Luthor is just god-awful, like Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze awful. Every scene with him just made me want to gouge my eyes out and cover my ears. He plays Lex as this young billionaire jerk with a bit of ego problem; kinda like his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (a favorite of mine), but on the opposite spectrum. He tries to be dimwitted in the public so no one can see his “true evil genius side” in private, but I didn’t buy either performances. He doesn’t come off as an evil genius Lex Luthor is, but more like some brat kid who has a lot of money and just to show off how better he is than everybody. I have to give Eisenberg and the director credit for trying to take Luthor in a different direction, but this was a textbook example of how NOT to do that. Rather than wanting to see him be defeated, I just want him not to show up anymore. I seriously hope that he doesn’t show up in any future installments, but something tells me I’m not that lucky

One of the film’s biggest problems is that there is TOO MANY plot lines for it to cover. Let’s list some here that can easily be it’s own movie:

-Bruce Wayne begins as Batman

-Batman wanting to fight Superman

-Superman dealing with the aftermath of Man of Steel

– Wonder Woman begins

– Bruce Wayne encountering Wonder Woman

-Lex Luthor wanting to defeat Superman

(If you haven’t seen all of the trailers then SPOILER ALERT)

– Doomsday wrecking havoc

(SPOILER ENDS HERE)

You could take just two of these and still make a pretty compelling movie. If you have too much going on, each of the plots won’t develop fully, leaving much to be desired. As i mentioned before, this is a big problem with Zack Synder. Too much doesn’t mean it’ll be good. There were times I forgot this was technically a Superman film because some of the plot points don’t involve him

The Superman/God symbolism is very hard for me to choose a side for. It makes for an interesting idea to see how people would react if somebody like Superman were to show up to Earth, but there were times when the film alludes to that symbolism heavy-handedly that I’m like “Okay we get it”. The point of symbolism is not to bring to much attention to it and let the audience figure it out. Subtlety can work wonders if you trust your audience. Speaking of subtlety….

(SPOILER ALERT)

The film tries to cut into Marvel’s market of superhero movies and really wants to let you know that a Justice League movie is in the works. What Marvel does expertly is leave clues in their films alluding to a future movie for the audience to find and get excited about. Man of Steel did a good job hiding some references around to signal for what’s to come. But my god, this film really wants to let you know what’s coming. They pretty much show you who’s playing who and what they look like. This wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t stop the movie in it’s tracks!! Might I say again that this is a 2 AND A HALF HOUR MOVIE! The point of foreshadowing future installments is to leave hints around so that the main movie can keep moving forward. I was literally thinking “This is cool, but DUDE go back to the movie!”. This sucks because I really wanted to be excited about these cameos, but I’m more annoyed how abruptly everything stops for this scene alone!

Also, and this is one problem I have just as a fan of the Superman lore, but WHY would you have DOOMSDAY, the only villain capable of killing Superman, as the second film’s main villain with such short amount of screen time? The “Doomsday killing Superman” storyline is perfect for a stand alone Superman film, or even the Justice League’s first antagonist as a team! Anyways, I digress

(SPOILERS END HERE)

Overall, it’s a film with lots of potential that, instead, is wasted. I can’t say that it’s a bad movie because it has a lot of redeeming qualities, but I will say that I won’t pay to see it again should anyone ask me to go. My main concern is that Justice League will be directed by Zach Synder and honestly, if he doesn’t learn his flaws by now (which I doubt he will), I might not be amped enough to want to go see it. DC fanboys will probably love it, everybody else, it’s up to them to decide

Me?

Overall rating: 2.5/5

 

Daredevil Be Damned! (DareDevil Season 2 Review)

SPOILER ALERT!!! TURN BACK IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING SEASON 2 IN IT’S ENTIRETY

Now that a week has passed since the premiere of Daredevil’s highly anticipated second season, now may be a good time to freely vent out my thoughts on it without concern for spoiling anything

Daredevil season 1 proved that Marvel and Netflix are a match made in heaven like peanut butter and jelly, with Marvel’s Jessica Jones also to show for it. It wasn’t held by the bounds of a PG-13 censorship like it’s movie counterpart, which allowed freedom to tell the story faithfully and at a modest pace, while still providing a thrill ride. Oh and hell of a lot bloodier I must say

The main cast still brings their A-game this season. Charlie Cox is still astounding playing Matt Murdock/Daredevil, who now has more on his plate this season as his personal life and vigilante life collide, all while a new threat is looming in Hell’s Kitchen. Eden Henson’s Foggy Nelson is still the likable, snarky and concern friend who now knows Matt’s double life and struggles to Nelson & Murdock afloat. Debora Ann Woll’s Karen Page definitely earns some street cred this season as she becomes more involved with The Punisher than any other character this season (more on that to come).

With Season 2, we are introduced with newcomers characters who will take center stage alongside the main cast. Elodie Yung is captivating as Elektra who proves to be the worst kind of girlfriend you still want to keep around. She returns into Matt Murdock’s life in need of assistance with her criminal-ish activities. Acting as temptation personified, Elektra complicates Matt’s already rising turmoils as she strives for things to be like they were before. Though we grow to like her, she wants to make it certainly clear that she is no hero and has no problem with that

Probably the biggest highlight and source of praise is Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle/The Punisher and I couldn’t be happier to report that Bernthal is PERFECT for the role. As a fan of The Walking Dead (seasons 1-4 only), I was hyped after hearing that Bernthal would don the skull faced T-shirt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s perfect playing a man who loses his humanity after his family dies from gang related violence and wages a war on crime. Though I did enjoy 2004’s The Punisher with Thomas Jane (look up Dirty Laundry for a better example), Bernthal’s Punisher is much more menacing, brutal and human at times.

Part of what I think makes the second season great is that it questions Matt Murdock’s actions and makes him reconsider what vigilantism means. With Elektra and Frank Castle joining the fray as two different vigilantes, this not only makes Matt question his actions, but Karen and Foggy’s perceptions on crime fighters as well. This is made more apparent when the Nelson & Murdock team takes Frank’s defense case and opinions are divided over whether Frank’s means justify the ends. I’ve always enjoyed the hero-questioning-their-actions story arcs as it tends to play out different and provides exceptional character development. For Matt, Frank repulses him with his actions while Elektra seduces him into it. Each of them provide a pivotal scene that brings Matt a step closer to his true nature; Frank’s conversation with Daredevil while chained to a wall and Elektra’s near death experience from the poisoned sword.

However, the true antagonist this season is The Hand, an undercover group of ninjas who are involved with organized crime and are driven by the idea of immortality. They provide a mystical sense of menace that pushes Daredevil to the edge. Did I mention they are led by Nobu? (the ninja who bested Daredevil multiple times in the first season). Despite this, I feel like they were the weakest link in the season. Sure they were dangerous enough to have Stick return (who is still as ambitiously motivated as ever), but I felt let down by their pretense in the series and they almost come off as another group of ninjas out to terrorize the city (kinda like The Foot….Hey, wait a minute!!).

Overall, this season still brought the tension, action, the well placed humor and grit that made it such a phenomenon in the first place. With some cameos and easter eggs sprinkled here and there, this season should satisfy viewers familiar with the comics, the series or people who haven’t seen it and are curious (please do, it is great!). Now to wait a full year for Season 3. PLEASE MAKE BULLSEYE THE VILLAIN!! I WANNA FORGET ABOUT COLIN FARRELL!!

Rating 8/10