RTF Daredevil Season 3 Review: “When ‘Back to Basics’ Makes You The King of Superhero TV”
After a year-and-half long hiatus, the critically-acclaimed trailblazer for all the Marvel/Netflix shows, Daredevil, is back with its third season. Not pulling any punches, this season double-downs on its leads by focusing on more intimate and raw narrative instead going for the bigger-is-better approach; which is why it succeeds in a big bad way. A loose adaptation of the seminal “Daredevil: Born Again” storyline, the series The Man without fears struggles with faith, brokenness and betrayal as he faces a villain that has made it his mission to destroy him and the lives of those he holds dear. It is the must-see show for fans of the superhero genre this season.
Picking up right after the events of Marvel’s The Defenders, we find Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) recovering from his wounds after the events at Midland Circle. Though we have seen him hurt before; this time we examine toll that being Daredevil has taken on our hero as his emotional and psychological wounds are now exposed. This leads him to question himself, his role at Hell’s Kitchen and his faith. The developments in regards to Wilson Fisk continue to fuel his struggles and rage as he wonders if his methods are enough to protect his city. Cox is superb as he portrays a troubled Murdock toying with the idea of crossing a line he can never come back from.
All the buzz surrounding Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk doesn’t do his performance justice. D’Onofrio is brilliant as Fisk. The showrunner, Erik Olesson, and his production team made the right choice this season in giving Cox and D’Onofrio the spotlight throughout its thirteen episodes. D’Onofrio steals every scene he is in, not minute of the gravitas he brings to Fisk is wasted on screen. The most satisfying aspects of his arc this season are being able to witness how methodical, patient, genius and driven his character is. When his codename is mentioned, it feels earned and when the season is over you are left wanting to see more of the one they call “Kingpin”.
Both Cox and D’Onofrio return with an amazing supporting cast that welcomes back series’ veterans Deborah Ann Woll (Karen Page), Elden Helson (Foggy Nelson) and Peter McRobbie (Father Lantom), among others. New into the fray are Wilson Bethel as Special Agent Ben Poindexter, Jay Ali as FBI Agent Ray Nadeem and Joanne Whalley as Sister Maggie. Each supporting cast member brings their A-game and are provided with excellent material which they execute gracefully. Each of them has a clear and well-thought out storyline that justifies their presence within the season’s main arc, while also elevating the series’ leads. All of these actors have exceptional and memorable moments throughout.
To those wondering what Wilson Bethel brings to the table as Poindexter, which for those that know comics know he eventually becomes the villain Bullseye; trust me, you will not be disappointed. His descent into madness is brilliantly captured and, as fans, we are lucky to have him in the role. His abilities are also explored in the most realistic, yet comic book way possible and it works perfectly within the world that the show inhabits. It doesnt pull you out of the narrative because it makes sense in the world they’re in. As expected, the encounters between Poindexter and Murdock are amazing, to say the least.
It is crucial that I mention that Deborah Ann Woll provides her best performance in the role of Karen Page this season. You can appreciate how much her character has evolved throughout all of the Marvel/Netflix shows and how she has transformed a controversial comic book character into one of the best in this universe.
Knowing the premise, cliff notes and major twists of the “Born Again” story, I’m confident enough to say that season 3 of Daredevil is one, if not, the best comic book adaptation that I have seen of a character’s seminal works. Without forcing characters into the role that they had in the comics during that story; but blending their series history with those comic book elements, the writers demonstrate their the care and reverence to the source material. The writing for the show continues to be nothing short of exceptional.
Extraordinary acting, gripping story, awesome action, twist, turns and remarkable payoffs make Daredevil season 3 the best that superhero TV has to offer this season and my opinion, the best season of any superhero TV show. Period. And yes, its better than its ground-breaking first season in my opinion. It draws you in, blows your mind and leaves you asking for more. With the cancellation of many Marvel/Netflix shows and the future of this series uncertain, I’m satisfied to say that if this ends up being Daredevil’s last season; it finished at the top of its game. No, not the top; but the King of superhero TV.
Let me know what your thoughts are on Daredevil season 3 in the comment section below or on Twitter @LexanAlvarado.
Till next time, True believers,
The Scarlet Fan