When the Marvel/Netflix collaborations came out, they knew that to truly compete with what DC Comics and Warner Bros were doing on CW (which was growing exponentially and still remains strong) they needed to stick the first one and go from there. That’s why they started off with Daredevil. And from that point, everything grew, but even as it did, everyone still felt that Daredevil was the best season. So after the ending of Defenders, and the promise of season 3, we all wondered just where they would take everything. As this Daredevil Season 3 review hopefully proves, they took it very far, and we should all be grateful for that.
So, for a brief recap of the end of Defenders. Matt sacrificed himself to ensure that Elektra and the members of The Hand couldn’t get out and cause more pain. He knew he would die, but it was the only thing he could do to save his city. But, turns out, there was another way out, and it involved a lot of water. We get an explanation as to how he ended up in his church being taken care of by nuns. Yet, what we didn’t know at the time was that Matt Murdock was a lot more broken than the teaser led us to believe.
After losing Elektra again, and apparently having his super senses taken away from him, he’s now a man broken, not just in body, or in mind, but in faith. All the convictions, all the trust he had in what was his mission, it’s gone. This is a darker Matt Murdock, and by extension, a darker Daredevil. As if to prove this, the entire season, Matt dons the original black outfit; he only wears the red one once, and that’s in the opening scene as connective tissue for Defenders. He doesn’t don it again. And that’s important for many reasons.
One of the reasons that Daredevil is such a popular character isn’t just his abilities and fighting skills, but his faith and belief in God. So seeing that test not just in the first episode, but throughout the season, is very compelling, and it creates numerous tense scenes. Including with Father Lantom, and new character Maggie, a nun he “knew” from childhood…who comic fans know as his mother, and he does find that out before the end of the season.
But of course, the reason Daredevil was such a compelling series to begin with wasn’t just because of Matt, but because of all his supporting characters, especially Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. Both of which have strong arcs in this season. Both of them are dealing with the “death” of Matt pretty hard in the first few episodes, then when he returns from the “dead”, everything changes, and not necessarily in a good way in regards to their friendship. Karen’s desperation to put Fisk behind bars again is very gripping, especially when it spirals out of control multiple times.
Meanwhile, Foggy’s desperation to prove that the law can work, and Fisk can be put away through the law, and the law alone is equally compelling. But not only that, we get to meet the Nelsons in full, and what a clan they are. And guess what? Marcie is back! And she has more than one line like she did in Defenders! in fact, I actually really appreciated how Marcie helped Foggy’s arc. Which just goes to show, with the right writers, anything can be made to look good. Speaking of which…
Wilson. Fisk. Dear gosh, what a villain. If this Daredevil Season 3 review does nothing else, please let it convince you that Wilson Fisk is one of, if not the, greatest villain in the history of the Marvel live-action universe. Yes, that means he’s just as good, if not better, than Thanos, Loki, Ego, etc.Vincent D’Onofrio plays him so epically it’s honestly shocking how well the character comes off.
Which is saying something for the simple reason that at the beginning, you feel like he’s being backed into a corner, and that’s he’s just trying to keep Vanessa out of harms way. But then, slowly, but surely, you start to see the pieces fall into place, and you start to see that things are going a very specific way, then WHAM! You’re hit with it, the revelation that just about every single event that happened in Season 3 was by his doing, and it’s done in such a way that it’s entirely believable. Wow.
Seriously, the way this character is written and acted is so spot-on it’s almost sad that so many other Marvel villains haven’t been close to his level. And not just MCU villains, but Netflix villains like Diamondback, or The Hand in Defenders. He is the bar now, especially after season 3. And yeah, as you can see, he dons the infamous white suit, and he makes it look GOOD!
But, another reason that the Fisk plotline works throughout the season is because of two big characters that are new to this season. First up is Ray Nadeem, an FBI agent who is desperate to move up in the world because he’s done all he can to support his family, and now he’s running on fumes, and low on funds. When Fisk offers to become a witness to other criminals, Nadeem jumps at the opportunity, because he knows this could be what helps him rise up. But in the end, he was just another pawn in the scheme of Kingpin, and like all good stories, there needs to be a fall guy, and it’s him. While it’s usually a bad thing to see such a character struck down by the end of the season of their “birth”, Nadeem’s arc was very compelling to me, and by the end, he knew what needed to be done in order to save everyone.
The other obvious addition was Ben Poindexter, who will soon be known as Bullseye in this world. He wasn’t called that the entire season, but it is who it was. And this was a disturbing, yet tragic, character who was yet another pawn in Fisk’s game. Albeit, one he didn’t expect at first. One of the problems with a character like Bullseye is that his “abilities” are a bit hard to render on screen. He’s incredibly accurate, how can you render that well? They found a way! Not unlike Domino from Daredevil Season 2, his abilities were shown in full glory, and his numerous fights with Daredevil proved he is every bit his equal, and he’s still alive at the end, and you know that if there’s a fourth season, he’ll be back.
There’s two things I really want to draw attention to in this Daredevil Season 3 review. The first is one you’re expecting, the fight scenes. Yes, the fight scenes are excellent. They’re a little sparse at the beginning, but that’s fine. By episode four, you have what I like to call “The Hallway Scene Part 2” (remember, Season 2 had a staircase scene, totally different!). This one-shot fight scene is every bit as brutal and awesome as you can expect. Then, in episode 6, we get the Daredevil/Bullseye fight, and it’s on. Then, at the finale, we get Bullseye vs. Daredevil vs. Fisk! Bonus! It’s all really well done, and it highlights why Daredevil is such a treasure.
On the other hand, I’d be remiss in this Daredevil Season 3 review if I didn’t mention how the show uses the senses in such fantastic ways. What do I man by that? Well, for starters, Matt actually “hallucinates” people, including his father and Fisk. He knows they’re not there, yet he feels compelled to talk with them, and it’s gripping. Also, for Poindexter, when he’s losing his grip, we hear the sound of a bee’s nest filling his head, showing how far he’s slipping. And my personal favorite, when Fisk is researching Poindexter to see if he’s a good pawn, we get a very visual and stunning set of scenes that puts him “in the mind” of him. Add that to blurry screens, special uses of sounds and such, and it adds another layer to things.
Now, some may be a bit annoyed at the very “happy ending” that the season gets. One that sees the three amigos reunited and happy and planning to open their next law office. Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but it does feel earned. What’s more, we honestly don’t know if Daredevil Season 4 will happen! We need this happen ending, just in case!
Now, that being said, I cannot finish this Daredevil Season 3 review without noting some of the down-points of the season.
First and foremost, the final episode. If you recall, the final episode of Season 1 had the trio finding a dirty cop and using his testimony to put away Fisk…before he escaped…and then Daredevil got him and Mahoney arrested him. Here, in the final episode of Season 3. Agent Nadeem’s testimony put Fisk away…and then he got away…until Daredevil got him…and Mahoney arrested him. Granted, there were a few extra steps here, including the three-way fight, but it felt the same. Also, it felt odd that Matt would use Poindexter against Fisk, and yet, try and stop him from killing him and Vanessa. Furthermore, there were some odd scenes and placements at times, and I do feel as though some questions were unanswered.
Still, Daredevil Season 3 is a triumph, and if you are a fan of Marvel, Netflix, their collaborations, or just superhero shows and movies, you should definitely watch this season.
Daredevil Season 3 Review
Daredevil Season 3 is the powerful return of the Man Without Fear, and once again, the writing and characters shine in a way that proves why it’s the top of the Marvel/Netflix collaborations.