The Netflix series tend to waver in quality, from the highs of Daredevil Season 1 to the lows of Iron Fist Season 1, and everything in between. And though the Punisher's introduction in Daredevil Season 2 received mixed reviews, it sounds like the Devil of Hell's Kitchen is returning to form.
From our own impressions, the new season takes a "back-to-basics" approach for Matt Murdock, who even returns to donning the all-black garb rather than using his armored costume. Though he has his reasons, this decision comes back to haunt him as new foe Agent Poindexter (who is totally Bullseye, by the way) uses these duds in an effort to frame ol' Hornhead.
Though the series doesn't have a lot of the legal proceedings that dominated the first two seasons, it does have a lot of character drama and benefits from Matt Murdock focusing solely on his crimefighting, while Wilson Fisk remains a major part of the narrative from the jump.
But is Daredevil Season 3 all it's cracked up to be? We're going to jump across the web and see what our colleagues are saying about the new Marvel series ahead of its Netflix premiere.
New showrunner Erik Oleson steps in with a clear agenda to get over the usual Marvel Netflix hurdles, which include clunky side stories and characters, uninspired repetition of ideas and sequences like hallway fights, and momentum that ramps up early on only to lose steam in the back half. Oleson makes it a mission to be more successful on all three fronts than a lot of his predecessors -- and to his credit, he largely pulls it off. Side stories like Karen and Foggy, or Matt and Sister Maggie, have renewed weight and importance, and nothing feels extraneous. Every character, every scene, feels like it's contributing to a larger whole, and by the end of the sixth episode, we have a clear sense that this is all building to what will be an epic and deeply harrowing final arc in the back half of the season.
Still, it’s with the action sequences that Daredevil’s latest season truly outdoes itself. From a continually escalating 11-minute-long take — an homage to season 1’s memorable corridor sequence — to a mano-a-mano showdown guaranteed to have comic book aficionados salivating and more, the fisticuffs have rarely been more impressive or visceral. Combine that with the tight, purposeful storytelling on display thus far and, if it sticks the landing, it could be a new high for the Marvel/Netflix universe.
So yeah, Daredevil is back. And thanks to its much needed laser focus on the characters and stories fans actually care about, you don't even need to be caught up; If you watched Daredevil Season 1 and then stopped, you could pick up again right at the start of Season 3. That definitely says something about how forgettable much of what came in the interim was. But regardless of where you've been all this time, Daredevil Season 3 is worth returning for.
While the show definitely unpacks the moral gray areas its players exist in, the characters’ conceptualizations of themselves are all very black and white. It creates a fascinating tension between how we as an audience understand the show and how everyone within the show understands their role in the events playing out. Add to that the fact that the show’s cinematography and fighting choreography are once again stellar and it’s difficult to deny that Daredevil’s third season is definitely worth tuning in for when it hits Netflix on October 19.
Again, it suffers from the same tedious pacing that plagues all Marvel Netflix shows – please, make these seasons shorter, I beg of you – but if you’ve stuck with the series this long, you’re bound to find yourself wondering where this is all going. But the real question should be: where does this go from here? Can Daredevil survive a fourth season? Or is it time for the character to hang up his horns for good? Time will tell, but it’s becoming clear that the Marvel Netflix shows are in dire need of new blood.
Of course, the heroes are right; Fisk is not actually remorseful and is plotting against them. The defense attorney Daredevil tortures is evil and corrupt and deserves what he gets. It was a mistake to move Fisk from his prison. The plot is arranged so that torture and tough on crime rhetoric are grim and gritty truths. The heroes are just being realistic — which, again, in this context, means that they see the world from the perspective of law and order demagogues.
The superpowered Netflix Marvel series aren't true-to-life depictions of cities, or of criminality, or of human beings. But we are building prisons as if they are.
The Daredevil/Kingpin battle is such a main course that Bullseye’s arrival is just a dessert of riches. Bethel gives us a look at the type of obsession that can be concentrated into a kinetic fury that makes anything around him a deadly weapon. This is the matchup fans have been waiting for and it doesn’t disappoint, taking place parallel to the mind games of the Kingpin, who is determined to make Daredevil public enemy No. 1 in an effort to rehabilitate his own image as a man of crime. Bullseye’s presence also gets the clock ticking as to whether Woll’s Karen Page will survive this season, given how fate intertwines them in the comics.
Lost in the excitement of “Daredevil’s” return is the realization that this is the first new season in 2½ years. And the show has never been better than it is right now.
That’s not to say Daredevil season 3 is a complete triumph from top to bottom. The same Netflix problems of too many episodes that run for too long is still an issue here, and the season does take its sweet, sweet time getting started. Pacing issues and narrative urgency aside, the new season is nevertheless much stronger than both season 2 or The Defenders, which is a big win in any book. The season is helped immensely by the presence of compelling foes who are a legitimate threat to the hero — physically and otherwise — and by the big questions the season asks its supporting characters, like: How far would you go to save someone who routinely pushes you away? The search for answers to questions like that make for a compelling first half of the season, resulting in the first truly bingeable season of a Marvel TV show since Daredevil season 1.
Like pretty much every other Marvel Netflix show this year, fans of Daredevil are going to continue getting their money’s worth with the new season. Those who have never been a fan are not going to be turned by it. Those that have never hopped on before are not going to have reason to do so now.
Daredevil season three will give you what you want if you’re already a fan, which one can only assume you are at this point if you’re considering watching in the first place.