Aaah, Daredevil, the devil in Hell’s Kitchen.

When Stan Lee and Bill Everett co-created Matt Murdock, I’m sure the duo took everything they knew about Satan and injected him with a crap load of irony. Thus, Daredevil was born; a Catholic, blind vigilante who struggles to spare the villains that enforce the namesake of Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan—a cyclical cauldron of chaotic feasting and suffering.

The imagery that the DD universe evokes is one straight out of good conventional storytelling, where expectations are demonized, inverted to illustrate the gray.

For the hardcore losers-slash-fans of the Netflix series such as I, you’ve probably already binged-watched the second season… and been exposed to the following promotional adverts.

Daredevil St Sebastian Daredevil Punisher Daredevil Karen Page

From TL to B: Daredevil advert/Peter Paul Rubens’ St. Sebastian (1614), Punisher advert/ Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath (c. 1610), Karen Page advert/ Caravaggio’s St. Jerome Writing (c. 1605-1606)

As you can see and as better dissected elsewhere, these adverts are straight out of some of the Baroque period’s most famous oeuvres. Characterized by the use of oil, the exposure to dark and religious themes, and a pregnancy of details, it seems that Baroque art is well-suited to the TV show’s voice.

SPOILER DISCLAIMER: YOU’LL NEED TO HAVE SEEN DAREDEVIL SEASON 2 IN ITS ENTIRETY TO PROCEED.

The imagery here is poignant and reveals A LOT in terms of what these characters will be doing and how they will be developed in the second season.

Matthew (Charlie Cox) remains a vigilante pariah due in part to his concealment of secrets, much in the same vein as St. Sebastian had been tied to a tree and shot with arrows for concealing his faith from the Roman army. Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) evolves from assistant to a rising journalist, devoting herself to the pursuit of truth, just as St. Jerome had devoted himself to the spread of God’s word via his Biblical translations. Newcomer Frank Castle/Punisher (Jon Bernthal) is depicted as David, triumphant over Daredevil-Goliath. No doubt this is a reflection of their ideological disconnect—one sends evildoers to prison to offer a second chance, the other sends them to the nether realm of finality with unadulterated contempt.

I’ve researched the Internet for about 2.2 minutes to see if anyone else has discovered from what artwork Foggy’s and Elektra’s posters are supposed to be derived.

Cuz, you know. Main characters, duh!

Then I got bored and decided to just make sense of them myself.

 

Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson)

Daredevil Foggy Daredevil Matthew inspiration

Keeping in tune with the Caravaggio theme, the first piece of art that comes to mind is The Inspiration of Saint Matthew (1602).

Except Foggy doesn’t really move on to be a devoted gospelist or anything similar. Which brings me to consider options from the Dutch Golden Age.

 

 

 

 

 

Girl with a Pearl Earring (Johannes Vermeer, 1665)

Step aside, ScarJo! Since the Dutch Golden Age was characterized by a degree of secularity, still life images, and landscapes, this banality reflects how Foggy may be perceived in relation to his hot, blind friend.

But that was so season 1.

 

 

Daredevil Foggy Daredevil The Art of Painting

The Art of Painting (Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665-68)

What, another woman? If Karen can be represented by a man, it stands to reason that Foggy can be represented by the reverse.

At first glance, the muse in the painting might seem similar to the woman with the jumbo pearl earrings. Armed with a book and trumpet, the muse is what drives the artist… an inspirer, a supporter, a poet whose weapon is her words. All these reflect who Foggy is to Matt Murdock.

Were we to reexamine Foggy’s promotional poster, however, we shall see that the negative space is almost empty compared to the muse’s surroundings. There is no artist to inspire nor to support; only a newspaper in the foreground that reads, “The Devil in Hell’s Kitchen.”

Season 2 Foggy Nelson comes to realize his internal worth, independent of whatever contributions Matt Murdock might have shared to define Foggy’s identity. The men do not end their friendship but they do drift apart. Foggy crafts his own story and to him, Matt eventually becomes an afterthought as old as the newspaper of yesterday.

 

Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung)

Small wonder I couldn’t find any interpretations on Elektra’s character poster. It doesn’t seem as dynamic and full as your typical 16th-18th century painting. The best I can offer are those characterized under Spanish Baroque.

Daredevil Elektra Daredevil Immaculate Tiepolo Daredevil Immaculate Murillo Daredevil Immaculate de Ribera

These three paintings by Tiepolo (1767-1768), Murillo (1678), and de Ribera (1635) are all dubbed, (The) Immaculate Conception. Believe me, there are more under the same title but they all maintain recurring ideas and symbolism.

I know what you’re thinking. The parallel between Elektra and the Virgin Mary’s conception might seem really out of left field… but as pretentious over analyses might provide, the puzzle pieces are there waiting to be connected.

In all three Spanish paintings, Mary stands above the world, surrounded by babies beneath her and behind. She is the mother of man, free from original sin, and a figure of praise and adoration.

As we learn from the second season’s conclusion, Elektra is more than an assassin of the Chaste. She is, in fact, the true weapon of the Yamanote—The Hand Ninjas that have been since antiquity. Elektra is the Black Sky, the clan’s figure of praise and adoration.

But how are the dead gentlemen surrounding Elektra significant? Were they ordinary goons, they wouldn’t be. But as members of The Hand, they mirror the babies in the Conception as lifeless worshippers of their patron figure.

How am I sure they’re of The Hand? Asian, HELLO?!

While Mary is the giver of life and the mother of man, Elektra is the palm that links The Hand’s fingers, the sickle-bearing harbinger of death.

Daredevil Judith

Personally, I wish Elektra’s poster resembled the image on the left more …

Judith Slaying Holofernes (1598-1599)

I feel like this better encapsulates Elektra’s most memorable scenes. Not to mention, it is consistent with the Caravaggio schema.

Plus, let’s face it. If there’s anything really out of left field, it’s the Black Sky bit.

 

 

 

Going for Baroque

Okay, so I don’t claim to be an art historian bombarding you with readings that may not even make a lick of sense. But the motivation behind my analyses stems from a dissatisfaction with the advertising inconsistencies. Why have there been Baroqueian allusions to the characters of Daredevil, Punisher, and the ever-annoying Karen Page (not to mention, the references to Michelangelo on two other posters) and not Elektra or Foggy?

Moreover, there really is something to be said about Daredevil’s overall sensibility. The Christianity-based inverted imagery sets the show apart from its contemporaries, Marvel production or otherwise. I’m not religious by any means, but any experience that helps add depth to a show—that gives teasers to what might be expected of a particular character—helps the audience become more than just an audience.

They become participants.

And this effect is something, I feel, is worth going for broke.

Superhero fans everywhere rejoice. Daredevil: Season 2 has finally arrived and Batman VS Superman comes out at the end of this month. For now let’s take a look at the first six episodes of Daredevil:Season 2. There are a lot of new additions to Matt’s universe but are all of them good? Let’s dive in.

daredevil_season_2_poster_h_2015

The Pros:

Something that immediately hits you in this new season is it’s change of pace. Season 1 waited a decent amount of time for Daredevil and Kingpin to meet face to face. Not this time. Daredevil meets his antagonist in the first episode. It’s also nice to things already established in the world. Daredevil is Daredevil. He wears the suit and business is booming for Nelson & Murdock. Having these things in place are especially satisfying for the comic book fans out there because this opens the door for new and fresh stories with the characters they know and love.

Thankfully the creators of the show start season 2 on the right story thread. The Punisher. His inclusion into this world is a definite pro. Actor, Jon Bernthal plays him in a way that no actor has before, and believe me they’ve tried. Punisher becomes Daredevil’s new biggest problem. There is a war on the streets and Punisher is the man behind it. However, he’s not killing just anyone. Punisher has his sights set on disposing of the criminal element that dwells within Hell’s Kitchen. Vigilante justice on a whole new scale.

The question that quickly comes up is then if Daredevil’s appearance in Hell’s Kitchen led to men like the Punisher stepping in and taking the law into his own hands. It’s a interesting premise and one that certainly has merit, as Matt begins to find out for himself. Morality plays a major factor in this season, thus far. Is justice something that is so important one must take it into their own hands? Does the system work? And the most interesting question of all, is the preservation of life sacred no matter what? Is killing ever acceptable?

Episode 3 is a fantastic example of two schools of thought on the latter subject. It presents the argument in the form of a tense conversation. Both men are impassioned in their conviction and both make clear cases for what really is the ” right” way to do things.  Daredevil and Punisher duke it out more than once in this season but I felt it their war of words that had the most impact.

D vs P

Episode 3 also gave us some fantastic action scenes. Few can forget the single-shot hallway fight scene in season 1, but this season’s big fight sequence may have topped it. Longer and dare I say, more impressive.

Punisher Eventually comes off more as an anti hero around the episode 4 mark. The introduction of the Irish mob gives us our new antagonists, and thanks to it’s particularly sadistic Mob boss, it’s clear cut. These guys don’t mess around. ( SPOILER) This forces Daredevil and Punisher to briefly team up and I’ll admit , I had a minor nerdgasim for those moments.

Episodes 5 and 6 focus more on Elektra. Punisher is still in the mix but it’s Elektra’s turn to shine. In two episodes actress Élodie Yung, makes Jennifer Garner’s version look like the performance of a bad cosplayer. It’s amazing what a stark difference there is in quality. It astounds me even more that the makers of the Dardevil films could get her character so wrong. Nevertheless back to Élodie Yung and her version of Elerktra.

I thought that taking the focus away from Punisher might be a mistake but Elektra turns out to be a more than worthy character. Her history with Matt gives her an edge we don’t see with other characters, except for Stick( Daredevil’s mentor and teacher). She knows him mentally, physically and sexually. Or rather, she did. Their relationship is fascinating and I suspect it will be explored further in the coming episodes.

Another pro is Foggy. His character feels far more comfortable in his shoes. I liked him in season 1 but I feel he is much more balanced thus far.

All and all the cinematography is great and most of the performances are good while these three below are outstanding.  This season looks well on it’s way to be awesome.

daredevil-season-2-trailer-breakdown-pic

 

 

The Cons:

Not a lot to complain about really. Punisher had a few moments that I asked myself ” really”? One in particular is his ( SPOILER) not guilty plea. I don’t see any logical reason why he would do this. Once you get to it you’ll see what I mean.

The biggest con would have to be Karen Page. Simlair to season 1, her motives and reasoning are all over the place. I find this, and her to be quite annoying at times. One second she states she’s terrified of being target practice for a lunatic with a gun, the next second she wants to ” save” someone in the middle of a massive shootout.  She breaks into , said lunatic’s house looking for evidence?? She does all this alone, I might add. WHY? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Other than that, not much else to complain about.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of my review of Daredevil: Season 2!