Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers for season 3 of Daredevil.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for fans of the Marvel Netflix universe shows; shows like Iron Fist and Luke Cage got a swift kick in the groin in the form of cancelation from the big house at Netflix. Disney is planning to launch a streaming service with new Marvel shows that tie in more directly to the Marvel Comics Universe. Things were looking pretty bleak for the future of superheroes in Hell’s Kitchen. But just like it did to kickstart the Netflix universe, Daredevil has returned with a very strong crop of episodes to prove once again that compelling characters, menacing and fascinating villains, and strong fight scenes can easily match what Marvel puts up on the big screen.
Season 3 picks up right after Defenders ended with Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) being gravely wounded in the fight against the hand. He is found washed out from the main sewer system and asks to be taken to his childhood home Saint Agnes Orphanage for recovery. There he meets his caretaker Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley) who unbeknownst to Matt happens to be his mother who abandoned his father months after he was born. Meanwhile, while recovering and having a major crisis of faith, his arch enemy Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) sets his plan to ruin Matt Murdock / Daredevil’s life into motion.
Season 3 takes everything back to what made the first season feel so special; it challenges Matt Murdock at almost every turn pushing him to his breaking point on more than one occasion against impossible odds. From only wearing his black gym suit like he did in season 1 throughout all of season 3 to getting his body broken and smashed over and over again, this is the most vulnerable Daredevil has ever been. Wilson Fisk is always unstoppable and compelling to watch which makes him one of best comic book villains ever to be portrayed on screen, no doubt helped by an excellent performance by D’Onofrio who’s tenure as Fisk has brought new complexity and emotional depth to an old favorite of the comic book world. The biggest addition character wise this season is the introduction of Daredevil’s other notable villain Bullseye whose known as FBI agent Dex in this version played by Wilson Bethel. Bethel, like D’Onofrio, breathes new life into an admittedly silly character by making him into a troubled and mentally unstable killer whose troubled past makes his motive for the many horrific deeds he partakes in over the season understandable. For as bad as these two villains are the show makes them still just troubled human beings who could have had a different and better life if things had turned out differently.
Episode 4 features the most impressive sequence the Marvel Comic Universe shows have ever done in their history – an 11 minute one shot where Matt fights his way through a prison lockdown set up by Fisk. It’s an amazing feet of fight choreography, camera work and endurance from the actors and the entire crew. There are no cuts; the amount of planning and hard work shows up on the screen to create a heart pounding exhilarating sequence that can’t be topped for the rest of the season. Yet this season, aside from the special prison one take, has some of the best choreographed fights in the series primarily against Dex who tricks the public into thinking he’s Daredevil. Like all of the Marvel shows, a better pace and fewer episodes would have benefited the season but this season mostly does a good job balancing all the different storylines.
Season 3 of Daredevil returns to the greatness and heights of season 1 and ratchets up the stakes to a high degree to make it one of the stronger seasons of Marvel television yet produced. It may have lost some of it’s freshness but this devil can still deliver a thrilling small screen experience like few others can.
Season Grade: B+