The first Dirty Harry movie was a fairly sharp criticism of the criminal justice system and, by stacking the deck, made one heck of an interesting argument about the state of the balance between the need to respect the rights of criminals and what impact that has on the victims of these criminals. Of course, the movie had its thumb on the scale insofar as it came out and told us “THIS GUY DID IT” rather than, say, giving us a fair amount of uncertainty about whether the cops were on the right track after finding evidence of a crime and then trying to figure out where the evidence pointed and what they could prove.
The message resonated a little bit too much, though, and the filmmakers realized that they were not absolutely *NOT* arguing for vigilantism. So they made Magnum Force (“a man’s got to know his limitations”) and made the primary antagonists a bunch of cops who went around shooting the criminals who got arrested and made it to trial… but got off on technicalities. (Those darned technicalities!) And so Harry eventually has to shoot these vigilante cops. By the book, mostly.
Which brings me to the new season of Daredevil.
Season One dealt with the problems of a corrupt system and the ability of really big bad guys to twist it and make it protect them rather than protect the victims of these criminals… and how a guy going out and acting on his own might be necessary.
Which means that Season Two is the a conversation about how, no, we got the wrong message from the first season.
The Punisher is one of the most interesting bad guys in the Marvel Universe. He’s achieved a level of interesting that makes people say “he’s got a point” and then, next thing you know, he morphs into one of the most uninteresting good guys in the Marvel Universe.
The good thing about this season is that Punisher is back to being a bad guy.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?
(Featured Image is “Edison’s Telephonoscope” by George du Maurier from Punch Almanack for 1879)