Daredevil Season 3
Recently, Netflix cancelled Daredevil, despite it being very successful critically and with fans; and earlier in the year, they also cancelled Iron Fist and Luke Cage. It’s clear that Netflix is winding down their corner of the Marvel Universe, which they cited was due to creative differences. But it’s baffling that they are doing this. These shows, especially Daredevil, were incredibly successful. But given Disney’s plans to create their own streaming service for their own content, it was only a matter of time before the Netflix universe came to an end. They will never say it’s because of Disney, but everyone knows it’s that. So, in honor of its cancellation, I figured I would finally gush about season 3 of Daredevil, which I have been wanting to do since October.
Season 3 was easily the best season of all the Marvel Netflix shows. After a lull for the Netflix shows in the last year, season 3 came out swinging and knocked it out of the park. This is why the show’s cancellation blew my mind. They completely nailed it this season, and yet it got cancelled. Almost everything about it was perfect. This is the first season of all the Netflix Marvel shows where I didn’t feel the pacing all that much. There were a few elements that could have been cut here and there, but there wasn’t a single filler episode for once. Every subplot had something to do with the main story or contributed to a character’s arc throughout the season. Everything was tight and fresh, and there was a constant sense of forward momentum that made the season really intense.
On the subject of intensity, let’s talk about the show’s action. This season raised the bar for action on TV. I can name every single fight scene in every episode, because each one was a standout. This season made a smart decision by only including one big fight per episode. This made each one more creative and intense, and they all had narrative purpose. There was one fight in episode four that floored me. It was an eleven minute single shot that transitioned between a fist fight, a plot-forwarding conversation, and a full scale prison riot. It’s one of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think I can watch any other action scene on TV or film without comparing it to this show now.
The other thing that made all the action intense was just how much you cared about all the characters. Matt Murdock’s crisis of faith creates a very compelling arc for him in the season that ended in a satisfying manner. You really feel his struggle to balance his duty as Daredevil, his life as Matt Murdock, and the religious belief that drives him. He was also incredibly underpowered this season after a devastating injury he sustained in The Defenders, which meant he was in constant danger and I felt like he could die at any moment. He is matched by Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin, who is now second to the Joker as one of the best on-screen comic book villains. He is menacing and calculating, with an incredible amount of depth that has been built since the first season. You get how he ticks, and while you realize it’s horrible, it’s also fascinating to watch him. He manipulates the season’s other villain, Benjamin Poindexter, AKA Bullseye. His character finds the right balance between scary and tragic, and you honestly feel bad for his character as much as you hate him.
There honestly was no weak character this season. Returning side characters Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, both of whom I typically found annoying in the other seasons, were given a lot to do and had amazing character arcs. Ray Nadeem, the FBI agent watching over Wilson Fisk, is another side character who could have been handled in the most cliche and boring way possible. But the show avoids that and instead gives him excellent motivations, and as an Indian-American, I really appreciated the added details and accuracy of his family life. Father Lantom and Sister Maggie were great foils to Matt’s increasing cynicism with religion, and they provided this season with some of the best dialogue exchanges.
It’s a shame that this show is cancelled now because there was so much potential for the show to get even better than it already is. But as it stands, season 3 is the final season of Daredevil, and it was a near perfect and fitting conclusion to an amazing, but flawed, show.