Hell’s Kitchen

SH S1E20: Daredevil Season 2

SH S1E20: Daredevil Season 2
Screen Heroes

 
 
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This week, we break down the Netflix Original Series Marvel’s Daredevil season 2. Joining us this week is special guest Noah of Noah Smith Images. There’s plenty of spoilers in this one, so if you haven’t watched the second season of Daredevil yet, you’ll want to hold off on this episode.

We also provide the details on how you can have a chance to win a Wal-Mart exclusive Black Panther Captain America: Civil War Funko POP Vinyl! You’ll have to listen in to find out how to win!

Don’t forget to join us live each Tuesday night at 8PM CST on Twitch! You can chat with us live while we record our podcast plus we have video!

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Join us next week when we will be reviewing Captain America: Civil War and giving away the exclusive Black Panther POP!

Daredevil Season 2 Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Noah Smith

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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Email
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SH S1E20: Daredevil Season 2

Why we Should be Excited for the Punisher

Punisher is set to debut on Netflix’s Daredevil season 2 in March but the character isn’t terribly well known. In this age of jaded heroes that are flawed he is absent in public conscious. But the Punisher stands as quintessential anti-hero and he deserves a better place in the public mind. He has no powers or exceptional abilities except one, his willingness to use lethal force. This sets him head and shoulders above all other heroes in ruthlessness. Because of his brutal methods he is consistently rated highly as a fan favorite, IGN ranked the Punisher #27 out of 100 of comic book heroes. But he hasn’t fared all too well in a life outside of the comic books.

2 Punisher Films

His portrayal in movies hasn’t been that great. Sometimes his films capture the mood and the character but drop the ball when it comes to plot. While at others times only paying lip service to what he is as a vigilante super hero. His guest appearances in other media such as video games and animated TV series has been closer to the comics but despite how brutally simple the character is, they have never quite got Frank Castle right. Netflix’s Marvel lineup has been impressive and with The Punisher announced as a future spinoff it could be that Netflix has given the Punisher the justice he deserves in the up and coming appearances. This is an incredible opportunity to bring a character to life that always been bungled in films.

The Punisher in Brief

Frank Castle is a simple character. He was a Marine Special Forces commando in Vietnam where he picked up many deadly skills. He enjoyed combat so much that he changed his name from Castiglione to Castle to sneak past the military’s rule of 3 tours of duty in Vietnam. Later, during a family trip to a park his family witnessed a mob killing and the mob, not wanting any witnesses, killed Frank’s family. As if by sheer will the Punisher refused to die and sets about his war on the mob and crime in general. This has left him emotionally scarred and twisted. He is a man without a family or any connections. Maybe his only power is that he has nothing to lose.

Punish Origin

But this doesn’t really make the character special, I mean heaven is full of dead super hero families, and even some characters that are somewhat ruthless. But not as nearly so as the punisher. What makes the Punisher so unique is that he is waging a one man war. Frank Castle sees the world in simple terms, in the black and white. If a person is guilty of severe crimes then he declares war on them, everything is fair game; Psychological warfare, torture, and executions to name a few. Where a warrant declares a criminal as “wanted dead or alive” the Punisher always ops for killing. In fact he never sets out to capture or persuade, if you’re in his sites he’s coming to kill you, its as simple as that. Not many heroes can claim that. Where a character like Spiderman may rush in, relying on his abilities to capture the criminal, the Punisher stalks his prey and when the time is right unleashes lethal firepower, anywhere from a long range sniper shot to a car bomb. Or if its in is favor he’ll go in guns blazing, All’s fair in war.

The-Punisher

Punisher Compared to Others

He may come off has being too simple and boring, as a character who just runs around killing people but there is something more to the Punisher. Its his willingness to go all the way that liberates him. He doesn’t have to worry about morality, society or the law, punishment he is beyond that. The Punisher is free to go 100%, to let loose. Criminals may fear being captured by other heroes but they know they can wiggle out in courts with lawyers, or they can even escape from prison if it come to it. As seen with the revolving door that is Arkham. But the Punisher is different and in his own words
They laugh at the law. The rich ones who buy it and twist it to their whims. The other ones, who have nothing to lose, who don’t care about themselves, or other people. All the ones who think they’re above the law, or outside it, or beyond it. They know all the law is good for is to keep good people in line. And they all laugh. They laugh at the law. But they don’t laugh at me.” -Return to Big Nothing Vol 1 1

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When you compare the Punisher to other super heroes this is where he stands out most. In this modern age of the popularity of the “anti-hero” Frank Castle out does them all. No other hero is as much of an anti-hero as Castle. Take for example the premier anti-hero Batman. He has a strict no kill policy, sure he may say “I’m not going to kill you but I don’t have to save you” but despite all of the mind games and intimidation he never intends to kill anyone. A much more modern conception of anti-hero, Wolverine, kills people left and right. But its usually not his agenda. Sure hill kill ya if you get in the way or if you really irritate him. But usually his agenda is with the X-men, and they are about protecting mutant rights. It’s the Punisher who stands at the far end of the spectrum of being the anti-hero. From the outset he is planning to kill his target, never capture them. Torture and interrogation notwithstanding. Not many other heroes can claim this. They are always tip toeing around it, but the Punisher is never held back it and this is what gives him the edge. This is what makes a pycho with some guns capable of competing in the superhero big leagues.

punisher-killing-ca

It has been said that the Punisher is a modern take on Captain America, a perfect soldier sent to war. Except when he went to Vietnam it twisted and changed him inside. In many ways he’s America reaction to the post Vietnam era. Castle did every thing right in war but came home to tragedy. If Captain America would’ve gone to Vietnam he and lost his family he may have turned out the same. A powerful parable of about characters being a product of their enviroment, and by extension, fate.

Punisher Cap 1

punisher cap 2

How Netflix Needs To Do It

Netflix as already done an excellent job of capturing action in its shows but Netflix has some advantages over the films. For the most part the films failed to show the suffering of victims. Its that one two punch that gives Punisher stories value. And this is why I’m excited for Netflix’s interpretation of the Punisher. They’ve shown an ability to humanize characters of their stories, both villains and victims. Sure its been said that a hero is defined by his villains but I don’t think this is so much the case with the Punisher, the villains are just fodder to him. The Punisher doesn’t have many great villains because he kills them. Sure there are some reoccurring ones but they don’t have the same epic feel as some other mainstream villains.

 

Casting Jon Bernthal as the Punisher is brilliant. What was lacking from a lot of versions of the Punisher in films was the grim, almost veteran soldier feel. All twisted and turned by tragedy. That and atleast having a soft side to show towards innocent people. Bernthal has already proving all of these aspects on his other hit success, The Walking Dead. That and he looks like depictions of him in the comics.

jon-bernthal-gets-one-step-closer-to-going-full-punisher-574831

Its showing the suffering of the victims and the Punishers connection with that that is needed. At best they may show that Castle lost his family but they never really have him connecting with anyone. Despite his ruthlessness in comics he is warm and kind towards the innocent. Its as almost has if he has some empathy for victims and this is the key to showing the character’s depth. Showing this would accomplish two things that have always being missing from the films, it would humanize him and make the punishment much more meaningful, much more satisfying. If Netflix’s track record of both Jessica Jones and Daredevil show they can do just that.

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What makes the Punisher such a good opportunity has that how poorly he has been done so far in film. The public at large just sees him as a “guy who runs around shooting people.” But he is more than that. In a world where anti-heros are the norm he makes them all look like boy scouts. He’s known as a maniac and crazy man, he even shot wolverine in the balls. You don’t get much more anti-hero than that. And we are about to see him on Netflix, a company that has consistently hit its mark with super hero shows with great plots. Its about time the Punisher is done properly.balls 2

Dirty Laundry

Take for an example this little nugget of an homage below. Called Dirty Laundry it does all of these things that the any Punisher story needs to do. Described as a love letter to the character from the fans and having some great actors. It premiered at the 2012 San Diego Comicon and at the moment, it’s the best depiction of Frank Castle outside the comics so far. Hopefully Netflix will improve on it.

Why we Should be Excited for the Punisher

Netflix Original – Daredevil

Here we are, less than a week away from the debut of Jessica Jones, the second of Marvel’s Netflix Original Series.  I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick review of the first of Netflix’s Marvel series: Daredevil.

To be honest, when I first heard that about this endeavor, and that Daredevil would be the first of the series to be released, I was worried.  Why would I be worried?  It’s not like there’s ever been a Daredevil movie that was awful.

Daredevil the movie

And I in no way hold a grudge against Ben Affleck for that terrible movie.  And I OF COURSE hold no negative opinion regarding Mr. Affleck’s upcoming performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman.

But I digress.

Daredevil debuted on April 10, 2015, and in typical Netflix fashion the entire season was available for viewing all at once.  I love Netflix.

Our hero is Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox).  In the opening scene of the first episode, we see the aftermath of a terrible accident, where young Matt was exposed to some chemicals that left him blind, but left his other sense supernaturally enhanced.  It takes a few episodes before we get information on exactly why he’s such a good fighter, but from the beginning we get some background on Matt’s father: he was an old school boxer that didn’t win very often, but he could take a hit.  His son inherited that legacy and then some.

What Daredevil Does Well

The first thing that I love about this show (and I assume the other upcoming Netflix Marvel series) is the casual way they still connect into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.  A heavy part of the storyline for the show involves a company, Union Allied, benefiting from the efforts to rebuild the areas of New York City that were destroyed as a result of the Avengers’ battle against the Chitauri in The Avengers.

The fight scenes are amazing.  And I mean absolutely, completely amazing.  It’s not that they’re grittier or more gruesome than the fights we’ve seen so far in the MCU.  The fights involving Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America all involve people that are in some way superhuman.  They’re stronger and more durable than normal people.  But physically at least, Matt Murdock is a normal human being.  Granted he’s highly trained, but he’s very much human as far as his physical capabilities go.

That is evidenced by how the fight scenes are choreographed, which is done beautifully.  Not that I can speak from experience here, but I have it from multiple sources that being in a fist fight is very physically exhausting.  These fights actually allow the characters to display that exhaustion, taking a few seconds to catch their breath, to recover a bit of strength, before moving back into the fight.

The extended fight scene in the second episode is practically perfect as far as a cinematic fight scene goes, especially since it’s all one extended, uncut sequence.  You should watch it.  It’s amazing, especially when you think about the fact that everything that happens during that sequence, had to be done in one long continuous take.

Daredevil’s original Black Costume

Up until the end of the season Matt wears a very DIY costume that is incredibly basic, and works really well for the character.  It’s simple and affordable, which makes sense for a brand new attorney striking out on his own.  The hood (balaclava?) that covers most of his face and head works great for the character as well, emphasizing that the character doesn’t rely on typical sight in order to deal with his opponents.

The Daredevil costume

Sadly we only really get one episode in which to see the actual Daredevil costume in action.  It’s an OK costume, and does fairly well at trying to be representative of the Daredevil costume from the comic books.  But to be honest, I prefer the black Ninja-style costume he spent most of the season wearing.  I would almost prefer to see a more armored version of that costume instead of the red ‘devil’ motif of the new costume.  But that’s a relatively small complaint.

Overall the writing is great, the characters are fun, and the show gets down to the business of superhero action pretty darn quickly.  After the extremely slow burn that was employed with the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that was a HUGE and welcome change.

Where Daredevil Could Improve

It’s 45 minutes into the first episodes of the season before we even hear the primary villain’s voice.  But that character, The Kingpin Wilson Fisk, doesn’t actually appear in the episode at all.  We are introduced to the Kingpin’s primary henchman and the various criminal ‘masterminds’ that the Kingpin is in business with.  But the ultimate villain himself is completely absent from that first episode, and doesn’t actually appear until the second episode.  Granted it’s only one episode, but holding back on the reveal of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk doesn’t accomplish anything.

Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin

Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin

That problem is made worse by the fact that this interpretation of Wilson Fisk is unreliable.  While Daredevil saves lives and tries to make a difference where he can during the course of that first season, he accomplishes very little as far as dismantling the Kingpin’s criminal empire.  At multiple points throughout the season I found myself thinking, “You know, Matt could just take a vacation at this point, and the bad guys will all just kill each other off.”  Because, SPOILERS, that’s basically what happens.  Matt does take down the Kingpin in the end.  But Wilson Fisk did most of the damage to his own criminal empire as he eliminated each of his own partners for reasons that aren’t ever explained, other than the fact that he is mentally unhinged.

As much as I wanted to root for Matt Murdock to triumph over the Kingpin, it was really hard to do so because it didn’t feel necessary.  Fisk was likely always going to self destruct, and like a black hole, he would destroy everything around him as he did.  Granted the cost of that explosion would likely be enormous, but none of Daredevil’s actions throughout the season felt particularly necessary in brining Kingpin down.

That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited for Jessica Jones, because this time the villain and our heroine already have a pre-existing history, and it’s intensely personal.  Whatever else Jessica (Krysten Ritter) does as she attempts to save other people and the city around her, it’s all going to be layered on top of the fact that she’s fighting a war to save her own soul.  And that’s going to be fascinating to watch.

Daredevil Verdict

If you haven’t watched this show already, and have even a cursory interest in comic book superheroes coming to the big and small screens, you should watch this show.  Even with its flaws, it’s incredibly fun to watch, and I’m excited to see what Netflix has in store, both for the other three shows they have in the pipeline as well as for Season 2 of Daredevil.

Netflix Original – Daredevil