Marvel and Netflix set a precedent with the first season of Daredevil. The gritty iteration of the comic hero established the world that became the small screen MCU. While season two upped the ante, reviews were mixed. And by the time Defenders arrived, fault lines began to show in the series’ established model.
Season three had to rescue our vigilante from the brink of death. And for the most part, it delivers. Despite the recurrence of those pesky formatting issues, season three may be the best Daredevil and Netflix season thus far. But with the recent cancellations and an unknown future, was it worth it.
The story resumes months after The Defenders’ fallout. Matthew Murdock (Charlie Cox) lives, but he’s elected to leave that life behind. Instead he seeks to embrace his alter ego in a mission to undo the reign of another devil — Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onorfino). Released into protective custody as an FBI informant, Fisk sets in motion a criminal conspiracy to control the criminal underworld.
Season three is a return to form for the originator. Gone is the messy overpopulation of villains (season two had Elektra, Punisher AND the Hand, lest we forget), as it refocused on the Kingpin himself. D’Onofrio elevates every scene, embodying Fisk’s visceral brutality and human condition equally.
Another standout is Jay Ali’s Ray Nadeem, a honest FBI agent whose thirst for glory enthralls him in Fisk’s web. It was impressive seeing an actor of Indian descent not depicting a terrorist or foreigner.
We also witnessed the matriculation of a new adversary in a mentally unstable FBI agent with a penchant for target practice. Wilson Bethel is captivating as the decorated Dex whose grip on his mental health loosens as the story unfolds.
Elsewhere we receive more backstory on our core three’s familial roots. Murdock learns a family secret as Foggy (Elden Henson) returns home to unfortunate news. And we finally learn Karen Page’s (Deborah Ann Woll) reason for leaving Vermont, and why she may never return.
For all that’s good, there is some bad. For instance, some may dislike the “Karen” episode as we depart from the current story to Page’s life before NYC. I enjoyed it but I can see fans disliking it the way many did not care for the Eleven-centric episdoe in the latest edition of Stranger Things.
There’s also an issue with pacing as the series comes to its final stretch. There was a constant move forward until about episode 11, when things became a bit predictable and drawn out. This seems to be the silver bullet for all of Netflix’s Marvel shows, whether their 13 or eight episodes long.
Speaking of the other series, in the weeks since Daredevil dropped, Netflix has canceled Luke Cage and Iron Fist with everyone speculating. Some think this is consequences of Disney preparing it’s own streaming service, where all of these Marvel properties will exist. Others think Heroes for Hire will replace the two individual series to make one.
And while Finn Jones’ Danny Rand is reported to appear in future series, reports now suggest Jessica Jones and DD aren’t as safe as first assumed. All will tell in 2019 when the service to rule them all snap’s its Infinity Gauntlet fingers.
Until then watch season three of Daredevil wherever Netflix is accessible.