Oct 27, 2018

[TV] Daredevil: Season 3 Review

With the recent cancellation of Netflix's Iron Fist and Luke Cage, it seems the whole Netflix-Marvel venture is coming to an end. And it is odd that all this came out just as the third season for Daredevil was set to become available on the streaming service.

Daredevil is where the Netflix-Marvel venture began and arguably it has always been one of the stronger releases in their lineup of shows. And despite a wobbly second season it was still one of the better releases out there.

This third season really pushes things for all the characters and tries to elevate the narrative into something much more rich and complex and quite fascinating. There's a lot of character studies that can be done based on this third season alone as it seems everyone is on a journey that the writers have decided to explore to some degree within the show.

And the fights are still kickass.

Synopsis: Daredevil is a web television series created by Drew Goddard. Erik Oleson was the showrunner for this third season.

The events of the season (series?) finale of The Defenders ended with Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) seriously injured after somehow surviving the collapse of a building on him. He wakes up under the care of Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley) at the Saint Ages Orphanage where Matt once grew up. There he realizes his ability to discern things around him despite being blind is no longer working and he struggles through his recovery with the sister constantly challenging his statements.

At the same time, Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) remains in prison but agrees to work with the FBI in order to earn protection for Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), his beloved. But naturally he chooses the perfect moment to open up by waiting for the rather vulnerable family man FBI Agent Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali) in order ensure he has leverage over the lawman given enough time. And thus it eventually becomes clear that Fisk is operating on a whole different level in terms of his plans to redeem himself in the public eye but ultimately get revenge on Daredevil for defying him.

What I Liked: Apart from the intriguing crisis of faith that bogs down Matt Murdock at the beginning of the season, this season really shines because of the Kingpin. I had complaints about how Fisk had been depicted back in the first season as it didn't quite feel like the right portrayal. This season wipes all that away and leaves us with a true Kingpin of crime who is not one that Daredevil can simply beat up in order to stop his plans.

And then we have FBI agent Benjamin "Dex" Pointdexter (Wilson Bethel) coming in as the Bullseye we deserve. Forget all about the silly version we got in the movie. Now we have a man with an extraordinary gift for violence but with complex mental health challenges that also keep him human. And he doesn't feel damaged for the sake of being damaged. He's a lot more than that and is quite intriguing both as an individual and a skilled fighter who is perhaps more than a match for Daredevil.

What Could Have Been Better: I still get a little irked by one aspect of D'Onofrio's portrayal of Kingpin - how he repeatedly shifts to this shouting speech pattern when frustrated or angered even with dealing with lowly flunkies. I've always considered the Kingpin to be the master planner as it were, always knowing how to remain several steps ahead of those who would try to put him behind bars because of his extensive network of contacts and people leveraged into working for him. While he is capable of violence, he would mainly resort to coercion and manipulation in the comics and the whole getting emotional all the time bit never made all that sense to me.

Then we have Foggy's (Elden Henson) little arc, which was somewhat interesting and certainly fulfilled a larger part of the plot but never quite landed as well as could be expected. A lot of times he felt more like a prop being moved around in service to the story instead of being a full character with agency and a decent growth arc.

TL;DR: Daredevil is a solid television show and this third season is quite the treat that might away ill memories of slower Marvel shows. It plays very true to the character as written and on the whole is a solid experience. And thus the season gets a full 5 amazing feats of accuracy by Bullseye out of a possible 5.

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