Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hit Me with Your Best Shot: Daredevil (season 2)

By Sati. Tuesday, March 22, 2016 ,
(I'm up to episode 9, the shot I picked is from episode 6)

Daredevil as a show is a hit or miss for me. On one hand it's pretty much the only thing Marvel is currently offering that is not either boring, repetitive, overcrowded, messy or spends most of its run time on world building and increasingly stupid easter eggs. Yes, Marvel gave us Deadpool but even that didn't completely work with some of the jokes not landing and breaking of the forth wall being at times too much. So Daredevil with its brutal scenes, complex characters and apparent disconnect to MCU is a breath of fresh air and the best thing about it is that it doesn't feel like something from Marvel.

That said, I find the show to be incredibly naive - Foggy's blind belief in law, Matt's reasoning behind not killing even the worst scum, the season 1 finale when it took them one witness to take down people who had the city in their pocket....as a lawyer myself I find the show's naive view on what can and cannot be accomplished with justice system in this world to be slightly annoying. Thankfully the acting rises the bar - we have outstanding Vincent D'OnOfrio as highlight in season 1, he also pops up in season 2, and Deborah Ann Woll bringing tons of conviction to the role of Karen Page who was given the show's most surprising scene, shooting Fisk's right hand guy in season 1. But the true standout appears in season 2...

Jon Bernthal's Punisher is to Daredevil what Heath Ledger's Joker was to The Dark Knight - he is the best thing about it and his scenes are so good, his work so amazing and his character so fascinating it makes everything else pale in comparison. It's not that the rest of the season is bad - though the writing for Elektra/Yakuza subplot is not very engaging or even entertaining - it's that the story of Frank Castle and the character itself are so damn amazing you just keep waiting for him to show up.

Having just seen episode 9 there are two striking shots in there - one of the bloodied Frank slowly engulfed in smoke and another with him all bloody lying among the prisoners he has beaten down. It's such a striking shot filled with brutality but the composition is what really catches the eye - having Frank as the only one wearing white, white which now has been stained with red - elegant albeit very simple symbolism of a hero forever stained with what he has done for what he believes to be justice.

But that is not my choice for the best shot in season 2.

You see for me, Frank's relationship with Karen is the best thing the series has ever done. I've seen people 'ship' characters on tumblr blogs for years. Now I actually feel like I may even participate. All of Frank's scenes are fantastic but there are no scenes more sweet than the ones he shares with Karen. Karen and Frank's scene in the hospital where she helps him remember his family actually made me cry. I know people keep talking about Frank's monologue in the graveyard but that one is the winner for me.
Karen slowly approaching Frank and telling him about the things in his house, being just the way his now dead family left them and Frank grasping at her every word trying so desperately to remember them - remember them alive - is such a powerful scene. There are obvious Beauty and the Beast parallels here but it works even better when you look at these two as two lost souls burdened to the point of almost breaking. Karen's gentle dance around Frank, seeing how she herself took a life and must live with the guilt of it, is born not just out of her natural empathy but out of her desperate need to believe a person can kill and remain good. And Frank's respectful way of talking to her, not erupting with anger at this woman trying to help him even at the most tense of moments (like when she reveals she went to his house) and genuinely wanting her to stay in that room with him just adds more layers to his character. That shot above shows Karen's complexity- she wants to run from that man who is dangerous and possibly even deranged, but she cannot run from a good person who was hurt, so she stays.

Frank and Karen's relationship is so compelling to watch because it's a union of two individuals who connect so strongly and sense a kindred spirit in each other. Before Karen even meets Frank she has a feeling about him. A feeling that she very soon senses is right which stirs her to the point she almost collapses on hospital's corridor after meeting him for the very first time.

Unlike contrived romance subplot between Matt and Karen and for me, very boring and unconvincing Matt and Elektra pairing, this right here is is the real deal. And Frank/Karen scenes are so far, truly the heart of the show.

 (for TheFilmExperience HWYBS series)

8 comments:

  1. Ooooh yes!!!! I LOVE the tentative relationship between Karen and Frank, it's so wonderfully-acted and Karen has more chemistry w/ him than w/ Matt, ahah. I LOVE the scene you highlighted here, Margaret. Yep, it's far more compelling than Matt & Elektra, it's just so corny! You nailed it in your final sentence there. I'm up to episode 9 too, I'll finish by end of this week, can't wait!

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    1. Matt and Karen have nothing in common...their romance or whatever needs to end for good and forever.

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    2. Yeah I think it's clear that their views on the Punisher is starkly different, that's why I think they realize at that point there's no future for them. I'm enjoying all the scenes of Karen and Frank, they are much more effortless with that tension between them that's quite exciting!

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    3. Also Woll has amazing chemistry with Bernthal...Cox just has chemistry with Dawson out of his potential romantic interests

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  2. I skimmed this because I'm not caught up, but I'm looking forward to seeing whatever it is you're talking about. lol

    Daredevil hits way more than it misses thankfully, I prefer it over Jessica Jones by far. I can't wait to start this season.

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    1. I haven't seen JJ yet...it doesn't look that interesting to me but I heard they have an amazing villain there

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  3. i like how focused this is. I agree that the karen/matt stuff didn't work as well as it should. but it's more disappointing that the matt/elektra relationship wasn't super exciting since it was by far the most vivid thing that ever happened in daredevil comics. there's a reason she became such an iconic character

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    1. I haven't read the comics but honestly even Garner's Elektra in Daredevil movie was a bit more interesting to me than this. Show's Elektra was kinda a generic bad girl/sociopath

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