Okay: I'm on the 5th episode, and taking a break now.
I wrote a little about Daredevil & Deadpool on my blog here.
But here's what I'll say about the second series of Marvel & Netflix's Daredevil so far (basically spoiler free. No plot giveaways here, anyway):
As hard an R as the Deadpool movie is, this is even more so.
What humor is to Deadpool (with a little horror thrown in), horror is to this 2nd season of Daredevil (with a little humor thrown in).
Jessica Jones was dark - darker even, perhaps than that first series of Daredevil.
This is darker still. And much scarier. Much more violent. Grisly violence. Horrific. This is on the level of hard zombie movies, or torture horror.
And while I can sometimes deal with the former, I abhor & avoid the latter.
And while watching this, the words of Father Roderick of the SQPN podcast network (The Break & Geek Weekly) about how the violence on this show is mostly gratuitous, and such violence can be suggested, without having to depict it so.
And while watching some of this gruesome violence, and the hate, anger & fear depicted, I so wanted to agree with him.
But I couldn't.
Because it works. It works as part of the whole. And I think that leaving it out or toning it down, would leave a hole. It would lessen the impact of the series, of its mise en scene.
Because the painful levels of violence in this show help ground those aspects which may be or are harder to believe.
A blind man being able to feel, hear, smell, taste and otherwise sense his way around, enough to take on multiple attackers becomes more "buyable" when sunk into the muck and mire of this version of New York City underworld.
But if it was merely violent, it would still not be enough to "sell" this show, to seduce us into the willing suspension of disbelief, that this show is able to elicit (and thereby making the violence and the horror even more horrible, harder to dismiss).
No, it needs a lot more. It needs the beauty & creativity of art. And this it has in spades.
This series uses silence almost as much as it uses loudness. Beautifully framed almost static shots, almost as much as powerful ever moving fight sequences.
One episode, episode two, reminded me of a string of pearls, with each scene and sequence being another jewel, resulting from the irritation in the oyster.
It may seem ridiculous, but this so-called "superhero show" is really about reality. It is about the struggle between good and evil in each human being, as well as what happens in the outer world. It's about the balance and this thin line between vengeance and justice.
This is so many leagues above the network superhero shows, such as Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl.
Don't get me wrong: I really enjoy those shows also. I'm a comic book and superhero nerd and fanboy from way back. I read my first Superman and Batman (and except for Red Kryponite or "imaginary stories, it was not Batman VERSUS Superman, in those days. They were always best friends, with Robin as the third musketeer) comics back at least 55 years ago, often with the covers missing, from the waiting area tables of the neighborhood barbershops to which my father took me.
And there was a lot of cheese & corn in those stories. And there's a lot in these very cool network DC superhero shows, often based on those same Golden Age (30s-early 50s) and Silver Age (50s - late 60s) comic books with which I grew up (and as a result, became the best reader in all of my schools. Because of comic books, I was reading at a bette than third grade level in first grade).
Those shows have their own charm. But any resemblance between the worlds depicted in those shows, and our world, is purely coincidental.
It is precisely the opposite with the Netflix Marvel universe series. The elements of unreality, are played down. They show through like bits of tarnished silver and muddied gold amongst the grit, grime, pain, suffering and ruins of in a world of crime, criminals, sociopaths and psychopaths.
And part of what makes the shows (all of the Netflix Marvel series, of which there are three more scheduled) work, is that the violence cannot be merely suggested, but must be felt. I sometimes cringe or wince at certain images. It make me want to look away.
As it should! As it would, if I saw these images in real life.
As a martial artist myself, I enjoy a well choreographed fighting sequence.
And this show has more than its fair share of that also.
But that's not what I'm talking about here (I think Father Rodrick objects to these also, although to be fair, he does laud the technical achievements of such a sequence in the second episode of the first series/season. Arguably, the best fight sequence I've ever seen in a TV show).
No, here, I'm talking about images, scenes and sequences, that while they show, it's pretty much a reflex reaction to wince or want to avert the gaze.
I think it is important in the midst of this struggle of good against evil, for us to wince a little bit. To vicariously feel the pain.
And then, just like in real life, when someone reaches out in compassion, save someone's life, is tender and kind and loving (all of which also happen within the continuity of the shows), the silver is polished, and the gold cleaned anew.
And we have hope.