Title: Daredevil Season 3 Review
Air Date: October 19th, 2018
Genre: Action, Crime Drama, Superhero
Daredevil season three brings a new take on the Man Without Fear’s most iconic story, Born Again. After the events of The Defenders, Matt Murdock is in a bad place, both mentally and physically. At the same time, Wilson Fisk makes his move to reclaim Hell’s Kitchen and ruin Daredevil.
First off, I want to show some appreciation to everyone that was involved in the “hallway scene” this season. Daredevil has become famous for these epic one-shot fights and this season didn’t disappoint in the slightest. This almost 11-minute one-shot was spectacular and stands out as one of the most impressive scenes I’ve ever watched on television.
Born Again was a story arc that I thought Daredevil season three couldn’t fully live up to. Not due to the show’s quality but because of the grim tone and themes of the comic. Thankfully, this season exceeded expectations when it came to this classic arc. There are changes, of course, from the source material but the show isn’t afraid to go to that dark place when needed.
At this point, I think we all know what we’re getting with Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. The guy knows this character and kills it everytime he’s on screen. He’s a terrifying combination of brute strength and brains, making him such a great villain in the process.
However, I believe that three actors actually outshine him this season. Charlie Cox as Daredevil is the most underrated casting in comic-book entertainment today. He displayed Matt Murdock’s conflicted side perfectly and you really get to see him brought to the brink. His relationship with both Sister Maggie and Father Lantom is certainly tested, which makes for some surprisingly great drama.
Wilson Bethel gave audiences a new look at Benjamin ‘Dex’ Poindexter (otherwise known as Bullseye). He’s not stable, incredibly dangerous, and a pretty creepy person overall. I can’t help but compare him to Colin Farrell’s over-the-top version of the villain in the 2003 movie. I don’t fault Farrell for that but the series certainly takes the character more seriously. Bethel’s Bullseye was an absolute joy to watch and was excellently well-written as a perfect foil to Daredevil.
Finally, I came away shocked by Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page. She added a new layer to this character that desperately needed one. Although I’m still not a fan of her story as a whole, she’s a lot more compelling than in previous seasons of Daredevil, or even The Punisher for that manner.
Matt Murdock has always been an intriguing character to me. He’s a gifted brawler with some extraordinary abilities but he seems somewhat grounded despite that. The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t kill. Not because he just can’t cross that line but because of his faith in God and his belief that everybody deserves a second chance. It was fascinating to see Matthew Murdock as a totally broken hero this season. He lost the love of his life (twice actually) and feels that God has betrayed him.
On the other end, we see Wilson Fisk climb out of the hole Daredevil put him in during season one. He’s put into the light while Daredevil hides in the dark. Brilliant symbolism there.
I loved that Daredevil stuck to his old season one gear. It felt strangely nostalgic and natural for the character at the time. For him, the red suit died at the end of The Defenders, along with the rest of Matt Murdock.
Speaking of The Defenders, there is a (somewhat flimsy) reason why Matt doesn’t call them up to help with Kingpin. It was fine with me. Even though I like these characters, this was a Matt Murdock story and it had to stay that way for it to work.
The FBI storyline may be my only negative on the season as a whole and that’s really saying something. It’s not even bad, it just took a few episodes to get going.
Due to so many twists, turns, and epic moments that occurred throughout the season, I’m about to go into a few heavy spoilers. So if you haven’t watched the full season yet, I highly recommend you do so (then return back here of course).
(Daredevil Season 3 Spoilers Ahead)
Bullseye vs. Daredevil is something I could easily watch every season. Their initial battle at The Bulletin was the highlight of these encounters for me. It showcased how deadly Dex could be with just about anything at his disposal, as well as how cunning Fisk is. It was also home to the most comedic scene of the season with Bullseye drilling a computer monitor at Matt’s head. It looked like it was ripped straight out of a Chris Farley movie.
That’s not to say that the triple threat collision between them and Kingpin during the finale didn’t deliver. The rant at the end by Matt was also very satisfying, “I beat you”. Season four, if we get one, looks to be headlined by Bullseye’s revenge on Team Nelson, Murdock, and Page. Good stuff to look forward to as long as Netflix doesn’t dash our hopes and dreams by canceling yet another beloved Marvel series.
Verdict: I know the word masterpiece is thrown out a bit too often here these days but I feel that Daredevil season three is as close to a masterpiece as you can get. This season is truly up there with the likes of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad in my mind. Although it has its nitpicks, it stands out as the golden standard for comic-book television.
- Kingpin and Bullseye as main antagonists
- A conflicted Matt Murdock makes for some great television
- Fantastic action
- Compelling plot with some brilliant symbolism
- Fantastic performances by the main cast
- A return to the series' roots
- FBI story took a while to get going
- Off of that, the season as a whole is a slow-burn for the first few episodes