This review is spoiler-free.
It’s safe to say that Season 3 of Daredevil is a slow burner during the first few episodes. But it’s worth the wait. The show has plenty of story and development it wants to throw at you early on. But as the show progresses everything is justified and we are treated to a fantastic comic book live-action series. From start to finish, it was an outstanding experience. The drama is intense, the fight scenes are brutal and the cinematography is simply out of this world.
This latest season of Daredevil capitalises on everything that made the first season such a hit, yet it manages to improve and build on it. Everything is more grounded, but the show feels more refined than ever. It’s not an easy process to pull off, but somehow they have managed to create an outstanding balance in regards to the story and its characters. I usually say that the Marvel/Netflix shows could do with being 2-3 episodes shorter per season. I’d say in Daredevil Season 3, I’d go for one less. It didn’t seem to have the problems that the likes of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist had, in that it managed to fill episodes with meaningful content and push the story along without dragging its feet too much.
Charlie Cox is outstanding as always, probably giving his best performance in the role as both Daredevil and Matt Murdock. He gets better with each season and now I struggle to see anyone else in the role. He’s made it his. He is, Daredevil! (Sorry Daffleck!). As for Matt’s arch enemy Wilson Fisk? Fisk manages to, tantalisingly, manipulate everyone around him and it is an exquisite performance from Vincent D’Onofrio. He was outstanding in the first season and every appearance since has been just as brilliant. He dominates the screen and commands your attention. He is a constant, legitimate threat throughout the entire season. He remains one of the greatest ever live-action Marvel villains.
Fisk isn’t alone in causing Daredevil problems, however, as the show introduced Benjamin Poindexter into proceedings. If you didn’t work it out from the trailer, you might recognise the name and be able to figure who Wilson Bethel is playing. He’s great, really exciting to watch and poses many obstacles for Matt to overcome. We also see the likes of Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll return as Foggy and Karen respectively. Both, as usual, are very good at supporting Matt through the season and have their own arcs that are just as interesting. Joanne Whalley is another one to watch out for, she plays Sister Maggie and is just fantastic. I also need to praise Jay Ali for his performance. His story was a series highlight for me. It’s difficult to single anyone out here as the standard of performances was very high indeed.
While not a direct adaptation of Frank Miller’s ‘Born Again’, Season 3 pulls a lot of inspiration and some key elements from Miller’s comic. This process worked well overall. It uses the themes of downfall and redemption, as well as focusing on loss and starting to rebuild from the ground up. As usual, Matt is conflicted, keeping everyone at arm’s length. The religious tones are heavier than ever and can make Matt a little frustrating at times. It’s a minor issue though, as they are playing it true to his character. But there were a few moments when things could have been done differently to help nudge a sub-plot along a little faster. But that’s just me nitpicking and looking for a negative for balance. Because when it comes down to it, Daredevil Season 3 is almost flawless.
Daredevil Season 3 is easily the best Netflix/Marvel show to date. From an exciting, comic book story to the outstanding performances of the characters. The show delivers at the highest level and its weaknesses are few and far between. While sticking loosely to the usual template of these shows, you just feel with Daredevil it’s a cut above the rest in terms of how they execute the show, in every aspect. Daredevil combines great characters and an intense story with hard-hitting fight choreography and stunning cinematography. Simply put, believe the hype.
Daredevil Season 3 is available NOW on Netflix.