Matt Murdock can't wait to hit the streets and rooftops each night as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. And I can't wait to finish my "Best Shot" entry super early for once. For this week's assignment (anyone can play along!) you can pick any one episode or multiple episodes of Daredevil Season 2 and choose a Best Shot. You have just under 24 hours left to pick one and post it since the Best Shot Roundup goes up tomorrow night at about 10 PM EST.
I'll get to my three choices, one per episode, after the jump. But damn it's good to have Charlie Cox's naked torso Daredevil back on Netflix
If you'll recall, last season on Daredevil, Wilson Fisk "The Kingpin" was jailed and the Yakuza and the Russians were also driven out of town or defeated. But in that vaccuum of criminal power you can bet that more baddies have emerged.
And now my picks for Best Shot from the first three episodes.
2.1 There's a new vigilante in town, The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) who is hellbent on killing every member of three rival power players in organized crime: an Irish mob, a biker gang called the Dogs of Hell, and a drug Cartel. Daredevil sees The Punisher's handiwork up close in a disturbing scene in which he walks through a butcher shop. The scene is already creepy (hanging meat always will be) but Daredevil's super senses make out another scent than beef. The shot, already dark and sickly, is extra unnerving because we actual see the morbid reveal before Daredevil. It's a rare case of pitting our senses against Daredevil's and leaving us on top. Frankly the show could use more of this because otherwise Daredevil feels more super than human, especially now that he's got that suit protecting him from all the flesh wounds he got last season. As a result of that costume, the show now feels considerably less dangerous (to its detriment).
2.2 Another shot chosen for how unnerving it is. In the second episode Matt is recovering from his first fight with The Punisher. A gunshot to his head cracked his mask and nearly killed him. While this shot might feel pedestrian at face value, we're continually reminded in this Best Shot series, that film is a collaborative art. Editing and production design and acting and costumes and such all work together to provoke us toward certain feelings and relationships with story and characters. In this particular moment the editing and sound work are doing a lot of the heavy lifting. But the composition and lighting are also smart. Matt suddenly loses his hearing and he's terrified. The cuts speed up in a disorienting way, and the sound entirely drops out. He screams but we hear nothing. We realize with horror why this is even worse for our hero: now he's actually blind in the traditional sense because sound is how he "sees". [Please to note: the series does not really get into the nature of his powers but the comic books have long approached his ability as sonic related, like a bats sonic radar. So he's constantly aware of the spaces between objects and the density of objects and movement around him and that's how he's so miraculously good at fighting without traditional eyesight]
Matt's gorgeous apartment is a great call from the production design team because it's flexible in terms of mood and color given the big windows. It's spacious enough for beautiful images and even fight scenes but still believably New York centric (just a one bedroom). Here the lighting and costuming suggest comfort and warmth which makes for moody friction with how claustrophic the shot composition is -- he's trapped and terrified.
2.3 This is the final shot from the third episode. Murdock, Nelson and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) have been trying to piece together the mystery of Frank Castle (aka The Punisher) and here we see Karen holding an X-ray of the man's head as the camera slow zooms in until the title cards begin. It's a great use of light to literally and figuratively illuminate the subject; who is the Punisher, why does he do what he does, and what is going on inside his head?
We could ask the same of Daredevil and any masked vigilante as the show well knows.