With one month until the season 2 premier of “Daredevil” on Netflix, Marvel has released a new trailer. It had been reported that The Punisher and Elektra would join the title character for the 2nd season and the new trailer gives fans their first real look at the two. Season 2 is interesting in that all three of the featured characters have had muddied theatrical pasts.
Daredevil’s first live action attempt was the mediocre 2003 20th Century Fox film starring Ben Affleck in the title role. The film wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t all that great. The film had been heavily edited for pacing and to bring the rating down to a PG-13 as a result it seemed most of the plot revolved around the relationship between Daredevil and Elektra played by Jennifer Garner (coincidentally this is where the real life relationship between Affleck and Garner started). A director’s cut later came to home video with 30 minutes of deleted scenes that fleshed out the plot and added much needed character development. At first Ben Affleck was excited about starring in a potential sequel but then soured and swore he would never play a super hero again (he is starring as Batman in the upcoming “Batman v Superman”). After many talks of a reboot, Fox failed to put anything together by the October 10, 2012 deadline and the Daredevil rights expired returning to Marvel. In 2015 “Daredevil” season 1 debuted on Netflix officially establishing the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America exist.
In 2005, Fox released “Elektra” starring Jennifer Garner as a spinoff from the 2003 “Daredevil” movie. While “Daredevil” had mixed reviews, “Elektra” was an all out bomb that barely broke even at the box office. It was panned by critics for a boring nonsensical storyline and fans of the comic complained that the character had been watered down to once again attain a PG-13 rating. The video game that was supposed to come out soon after the film’s release was cancelled by the publisher who no longer wanted to be tied to the sinking ship. After the film’s failure, Fox lost all interest in Elektra and the rights to character reverted back to Marvel in 2012 as part of the Daredevil character rights.
There have been 3 equally bad attempts to launch The Punisher as a Hollywood franchise. The first movie, New World Pictures’ “The Punisher”, hit theaters in 1989 and featured Dolph Lundgren as the title character. The film had terrible acting, bad special effects, and departed quite a bit from the comic book (The Punisher didn’t even wear his trademark skull t-shirt). During Marvel’s 90’s bankruptcy The Punisher movie rights were sold to Artisan Entertainment which released two movies. Thomas Jane starred in 2004’s “The Punisher” and took on Howard Saint (John Travolta). This film has more action and better special effects but another embarrassingly bad script that is so bad the movie becomes a comedy. In 2008 Lionsgate (who bought Artisan) rebooted The Punisher with “Punisher: War Zone”. Ray Stevenson was cast as the character this time yet that was the only real change. Like its predecessors, “War Zone” suffered from a terrible script and a reliance on mindless action. The film had a modest $35 million budget yet failed to recover that at the box office only bringing in $10.1 million. After losing $25 million Lionsgate lost interest and The Punisher character rights returned to Marvel.
When “Daredevil” was announced for Netflix people weren’t sure what to make of it. The character was back at Marvel who seemingly would know how to write for their own creation yet would they really be able to do anything different than what was done in the 2003 movie and what scars would be left by the movie? Would the show find an audience or would Daredevil be viewed as a damaged brand? What did it mean that the show was going straight to Netflix and not to ABC where Marvel already had success with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”? All fears were alleviated when “Daredevil” season 1 premiered on Netflix in 2015. The show was darker and grittier than previous Marvel entries and the characters were more complicated. Charlie Cox perfectly embodied the blind lawyer with the troubled past turned vigilante whose actions have him constantly at odds with his Catholic upbringing. It’s fitting that Daredevil has such strong catholic roots because through the course of season 1’s 13 well written and well paced episodes the sins of the previous Ben Affleck Daredevil incarnation are absolved and the character is redeemed. Now the question is, can the series redeem other characters as well?
March 18th season 2 of “Daredevil” will premier on Netflix. The Punisher, played by Jon Bernthal, will be one of the main antagonists of the season. While Daredevil has a line he won’t cross, The Punisher has no problem with killing. This becomes an issue between the two vastly different vigilantes. There is already talk of a possible spinoff series for The Punisher.
While it’s known that Daredevil and The Punisher will be at odds in season 2, Elektra’s role is not as well known although it can be assumed they will be fighting as well. In the comics Daredevil and Elektra have an on again off again relationship often brawling and teaming up (sometimes minutes later). Elektra, played by Élodie Yung, is a mercenary so she may have been hired by Wilson Fisk/Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio), season 1’s main villain, to go after Daredevil in retaliation for being sent to prison. A new trailer promising more footage of Elektra is set to be unveiled 2/25/16.
It will be interesting to see if season 2 of “Daredevil” is helped by the addition of the new characters who will then also find redemption on Netflix or if they end up saddling the series with baggage.
“Daredevil” season 2 premiers on Netflix 3/18/16.
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