Season 3 of Daredevil had enormous shoes to fill. The first 2 seasons of the show were highly successful and are among the best seasons of a comicbook series ever made. Despite all of that hype and those enormous expectations, season 3 delivers.
Charlie Cox (Daredevil) has delivered another stellar performance and continues to be the brightest star in the Netflix Marvel Universe. His first scenes are reminiscent of Frank Miller’s Born Again run, but this season is far from a simple adaptation. The show does a masterful job of weaving classic storylines with new twists that keep us guessing throughout.
This review will be written as I watch the show, and will break up the show into 4 sections with a new piece added to this review every time I finish a set of episodes. Enjoy!
At the end of Defenders, Matt was presumed dead until the post credits scene revealed the devil wasn’t done yet. In the aftermath of his own death, Matt Murdock returns as a shell of his former self. He’s beaten, bruised, and perhaps even broken as he struggles with his own mortality. Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk deals with the realities of being a prisoner and struggles with his own identity outside of the Kingpin.
D’Onofrio delivers the character with the same power that drew us into his character during Season One, but he injects a sadness to Fisk that almost makes us feel bad for the biggest crime boss in Hell’s Kitchen.
Netlix steps up their game with the production of this newest season. The length of the shots leaves no room for error from any of the actors (they all hold their own) and gives the illusion that there are no pauses in the story. There is no time to rest for the Devil.
Foggy and Karen, Matt’s only connections to a normal life, struggle with the loss of their friend and the pressures of living in a tumultuous New York City. Elden Henson (Foggy) is as genuine as ever. He has the career, girlfriend, and success that he wants but something is missing now that Matt is gone. Deborah Ann Woll (Karen) continues to remind us how incredible her character is as she copes with the demands of her career as a reporter digging up the worst people in New York City and the loss of her friend.
However, the show also introduced several newcomers that refused to be upstaged by the original cast. Jay Ali’s Rahul Nadeem brings some personality and depth to the FBI agent trope and Joanne Whalley’s Maggie Grace stands up to Murdock without flinching, but neither stole the show like Benjamin Poindexter. Wilson Bethel’s transformation from SWAT FBI agent to Bullseye rivals Daredevil’s own fall into a darker persona.
Daredevil’s latest showrunner, Erik Oleson, really impressed through the first 4 episodes with the direction he has taken the show. Daredevil has returned to the street level focus that made the show so memorable during the first season. So far, Season 3 has delivered an unforgettable portrayal of Daredevil and surpassed any expectation I had.
As Poindexter’s professional and personal life become more complicated, he descends further into his own madness. Bethel channels the madness of Poindexter into his performance and captures the essence of a man teetering on the brink. This makes him a perfect target for the next step in Fisk’s plan and he takes full advantage. Vincent D’Onofrio adds layers of menace and a hard edge to Fisk that makes him feel much more Kingpin than Wilson.
On the other side, Matt has his legs back under him after the explosion that ended Defenders and continued his work as Daredevil. However, something is off about him. Something dark, violent, and unmistakably classic. With everything that has happened to him, Charlie Cox’s Daredevil gains a similar edge to Kingpin’s.
Jay Ali’s Agent Nadeem and Joanne Whalley’s Maggie continue to shine bright in a show that seems to have no weak links. Throughout the first 4 episodes, the plot was rock solid but we hit a minor hiccup during this group of episodes.
For all the amazing scenes in this group, there is finally a bad one. Not poorly acted or directed, but just a plot point that’s too improbable even for a comic book show. However, it passes quickly and gets lost in the incredible scenes that follow.
Netflix continues to up the ante on everything especially their fight scenes adding more bodies and filming longer takes. If you thought Daredevil season 3 would fail to deliver the visceral action that made the show famous, you’re in for quite a surprise.
Daredevil and Wilson Fisk will always be the core of Daredevil. They’re the characters that made the show as incredible as it has been, but the side characters steal the show in final section of the season. Wilson Bethel’s continues to impress with his performance as Agent Benjamin Poindexter more than holding his own on screen with D’Onofrio’s Kingpin and Cox’s Daredevil.
However, Jay Ali’s Rahul “Ray” Nadeem and Joanne Whalley’s Maggie Grace are what makes this season truly special. Nadeem continues to struggle with the balance between his life as a federal agent and a father. The Marvel Netflix series has always had great law enforcement characters, but the authenticity of Agent Nadeem sets him apart even against the stiffest competition. Where Nadeem struggles with his life, Maggie Grace comes into her own. Whalley balances the graceful side of her character with the hard edged humor that comes from the Matt Murdock family tree.
Following 2 fantastic seasons and taking influence from the famed Born Again storyline, I wondered whether a show can live up to those high expectations. Daredevil could’ve easily fallen off in quality due to repetitiveness or simple fatigue from the story of Matt Murdock. However, Erik Oleson and Netflix refused to let that happen. Netflix has produced fantastic shows through their partnership with Marvel, and this season cements Daredevil’s place as the best one.
Like the show? Let us know in the comments below. – Taylor Tyler