TV Review: Daredevil Season Three!
I’ll be honest, the last few seasons of the various Marvel Netflix shows have been a bit of a slog. Ever since Defenders, it seemed like all of the various shows, from Luke Cage to Iron Fist to even Jessica Jones started spinning their wheels, and eventually they became to feel like a real slog to get through. Thankfully though, Daredevil‘s third season has come along and not only rejuvenated that show after an uneven second season, it’s also reignited my interest in the other Marvel Netflix shows (well, the remaining ones, that is).
Following the events of The Defenders, Daredevil’s third season finds Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) at his lowest. Still alive after having an entire building dropped on him, Murdock hides out in the New York orphanage that raised him, spending his days recovering from his injuries until he’s strong enough to return to the streets with a fury that borders on the extreme. And Murdock will need all the rage he can muster to take down Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) again, who’s made it his mission to retake the New York City underworld, and with the help of disgraced FBI Agent Benjamin Poindexter (Wilson Bethel), better known as Bullseye, he may just do it.
In a lot of ways, this new season of Daredevil harkens back to the original season, and in more ways than just Matt needing to wear his simple black outfit. This season is more focused, with a tighter story than season two. Without having to introduce The Punisher or set up the villains of The Defenders, Daredevil is free to get back to what really worked about the first season: Charlie Cox’s depiction of Matt Murdock, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s amazing work as Wilson Fisk.
Once again, Charlie Cox shows that he is THE underrated actor of the Marvel Netflix shows. Hell, I’d even go so far as he’s the most underrated actor in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. Cox had already proven that he had a great understanding of Matt Murdock in previous seasons of this show and Defenders, but with this season he taps into a side of Matt that we’ve never really seen: his anger. Matt Murdock really goes through the ringer through this season, both physically and emotionally, and Cox really makes you feel for Murdock. At the same time though, he isn’t perfect, sacrificing his relationships with those he loves for his borderline psychopathic devotion to fighting crime, and seeing Matt being faced with that makes for some pretty gripping moments.
Of course, Daredevil is only as good as the conflicts he comes across, and with Wilson Fisk and Ben “Dex” Poindexter as his antagonists, he’s stellar. D’Onofrio’s Fisk is just as menacing as he was in the first season, eliciting a cool and calm demeanor that threatens to drop at any moment, but the real surprise for me was Wilson Bethel. I’ve never seen him in anything before this, but he absolutely blew me away as “Dex”, who longtime Daredevil fans will know is Bullseye. While he’s never called “Bullseye” and is only in a fake Daredevil costume when he goes on missions for Fisk, Bethel is easily the best interpretation of the character I’ve seen in live action, and will go down as one of Marvel Studios’ best villains. There’s a lot of time spent on fleshing out Dex’s backstory, but at no point does he feel sympathetic. In fact, Bethel makes Dex into one of the creepiest and most unsettling characters I’ve ever seen, and I really hope to see more of his character in a future Marvel show.
However, it’s not just those main actors that stand out this season. Both Elden Henson’s Foggy Nelson and Deborah Ann Woll’s Karen Page have plenty of dramatic moments in this season, with Woll being the real standout. Karen Page’s backstory as long been a mystery in the this show, but this season we finally see it, and it’s pretty heartbreaking. Daredevil has never been a show that’s gotten credit when it comes to award shows, but Woll is so good this season that she absolutely deserves some recognition. Jay Ali is also incredibly solid as Ray Nadeem, the FBI agent responsible for getting Fisk out of jail, a movie that ultimately comes back to haunt him.
Of course, Daredevil isn’t just about pondering the meaning of vigilantism and faith, there’s got to be some punching too. With former Arrow show runner Erik Oleson at the helm, this season far outshines even the first series’ stellar action scenes. Theres a marked difference between Fisk’s brutality, Bullseye’s finesse, and Daredevil’s ninja/boxer fighting style, but it all works and looks incredible in motion. They may not be as plentiful as the previous seasons, but the action scenes this season definitely fall into the “quality over quantity” category.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much from Daredevil season three after Marvel’s previous Netflix outings, almost to the point where I wasn’t even going to watch this one as quickly as I did. But once I started going with this season, I quickly become enraptured with it like I did with the first season. This may be the last season of The Man Without Fear’s live action adventures, and if that’s the case, then he’s definitely gone out on a high note.
Posted on October 25, 2018, in Comic reviews, TV and tagged Charlie Cox, Daredevil, Daredevil Season 3, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios, Netflix, Vincent D'Onofrio, Wilson Bethel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.