TL;DR – Season Three pares everything back to the core and by focusing on our trinity and a truly phenomenal big bad.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
So this is an interesting moment, I don’t think I have ever been halfway through watching a series and finding out that its two sister series has been canned, but that is what happened here. I was two episodes in and then bam bye Iron Fist and then three more and then bam bye Luke Cage. So besides inserting something witty about the Thanos snap, it should have ripped all the wind out of my sails to make it through the rest of Season Three. However, it didn’t, not even close, because Daredevil Season Three might be the best Netflix MCU series since … well maybe since the very first Daredevil all the way back in 2015.
So to set the scene, at the end of The Defenders cross-over event (see review), Matt Murdock / Daredevil (Charlie Cox) gave his life to protect the city of New York. He remained behind and ensured that the building collapsed on top of him, stopping the evil being released. Well, wait he isn’t dead, Murdock surprise. As he emerges from a stormwater drain calling for his friend Father Lantom (Peter McRobbie) and starts the long process of recovery. This is because he is now deaf in one of his ears, which means that now Matt truly is blind. However, Matt is not the only one rising from the ashes because Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is ready to make his move out of prison and Agent Nadeem (Jay Ali) is ready to help him do it. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
The first thing you see in Season Three is how parried back it is with regards to the story. There is no Hand, no Electra, none of that, instead what we get is a series that mostly revolves around our three main leads Matt, Foggy (Elden Henson), and Karen (Deborah Ann Woll), and their past, present and battle against Fisk. We do get some new and fascinating characters like Nadeem, Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley), and Agent Dex (Wilson Bethel). But everyone is helping forward the story of the core four. This gives the show more focus that it had in Season Two (see review) and as well as being one of the issues in a lot of the pritone, and there will be amazing hand to hand battles. Well, this season we get several amazing action set pieces throughout the season that had me glued to the screen. Indeed, the escape from the prison was one of the most fantastic but also technically brilliant sequences I have ever seen on TV, and I would love to see how it is that they pulled it off. As well as this, we also have the final battle which unlike anything that has come so far in the show was a perfect three-way battle, with Daredevil, Kingpin, and Bullseye all fighting each other for different reasons, all looking to be the last one standing, this allows the battle to constantly shift and change as momentary shifts in allegiances change the course of the battle. It is also fascinating to watch because all three of the characters fight with very different techniques.
Because this is a more pared back season, we get to spend more time on our characters and get to see what motivates them. We get to see the secret in Karen’s past that she has been closely guarding, we get to see the love of Foggy’s family, even if they are a family without filters. We also chart the difficult relationship Nadeem has with his family with how much do you tell them, verse trying to keep them safe, or with Dex, and how all the building up of support structures can come crashing down with the right push. Finally, as our two leading guys crash into each other, we see the damage of Matt’s past, and the love Fisk has for Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), and also his key ability to manipulate. This gives the series a bit more weight than it did in the past, and it also leads to too more than a few ‘oh damn’ moments.
All of this character work is helped by the fact that every member of the cast is absolutely nailing it. For example, I think if it was anyone other than Charlie Cox playing Daredevil then all the brooding would actually get tiring. But Charlie, brings depth to the role, and you feel that hurt and pain of Matt’s past coursing through his present. With Karen this season we get to see Deborah Ann Woll really cut loose as she has to go to some really dark places this season. We see what drives her as a character, the pain and loss, and strength she has to fight, and fight she does. Foggy, has mostly been a supporting character so far, but in this season he becomes one of the core driving forces, and almost the moral centre for the show. Now of course we cannot talk about Daredevil without talking about Vincent D’Onofrio and his turn as Fisk. He can command a scene with just a stare, his voice carries across the screen, his guttural screams well, frankly if he is not nominated for an Emmy I don’t know what else he has to do, and seriously, I know there are issues between TV Marvel and Movie Marvel, but surely they can work something out for him to be in the films.
With the overarching story, I think it was okay. It wasn’t a huge leap to see what was going to happen like for example there is the big switch with Tammy Hattley (Kate Udall) that was probably telegraphed a bit too much. However, it solidly comes together and gives each character the motivation they need and also a moment to shine. There were still moments that did surprise me like who Matt’s real parents are (probably less shocking if you know the comics) or when we find out just why it is that Nadeem is so in debt. It would have been nice to bring Vanessa back a bit sooner and gotten to see her take more of a role in the operation rather than just that one command, but I did like where that sets up the future. It was also interesting to see a much more pared down connections with the rest of the TV MCU world, with this being very contained bar some minor side characters and one Jessica Jones reference. As well as this, it is also clear that we have reached the end of our arc in Daredevil with Karen, Matt, and Foggy back together fighting for the little guy, and I hope that is not taken with all the recent cancelled shows as the end point for the series.
In the end, do we recommend Daredevil Season Three? Yes, yes we do. It ditches a lot of the baggage that has been holding the TV MCU back a bit, it focuses on characters that are well written and well-acted, the action is amazing, and I was hooked on the show to the very end of the last episode. What I hope is this is not the last time we get to see Matt Murdock and the gang.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Daredevil
Directed by – Phil Abraham, Lukas Ettlin, Toa Fraser, Jennifer Getzinger, Julian Holmes, Marc Jobst, Alex Garcia Lopez, Jennifer Lynch, Sam Miller, Stephen Surjik & Alex Zakrzewski
Written by – Tamara Becher-Wilkinson, Jim Dunn, Dylan Gallagher, Erik Sam, Ernst Oleson, Sonay Hoffman, Tonya Kong, Lewaa Nasserdeen, Dara Resnik & Sarah Streicher
Showrunner – Erik Oleson
Created by – Drew Goddard
Based On – Daredevil by Stan Lee & Bill Everett
Starring – Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Joanne Whalley, Jay Ali, Wilson Bethel, Ayelet Zurer & Vincent D’Onofrio with Peter McRobbie, Danny Johnson, Stephen Rowe, Kate Udall, Sunita Deshpande, Noah Huq, Geoffrey Cantor, Peter Halpin, Amy Rutberg, Holly Cinnamon, Royce Johnson, Joe Jones, Kelly McAndrews, Matt Gerald, John Patrick Hayden, Annabella Sciorra & Ron Simons