Daredevil has quickly become the gold standard for comic book television. In 2015, Daredevil premiered on Netflix. A strong departure of what Marvel was doing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe up to that point, Daredevil carried more layers and themes than the traditional superhero tv show. Season one of Daredevil was considered close to perfection and Marvel has not reached those levels of greatness, until now. While season two offered some fantastic episodes and one of the greatest comic book castings of all time in the form of Jon Bernthal’s Punisher, it still left a lot of people feeling that it was a downgrade from the incredible first season. One of the key reasons for this was the more magical, unrealistic elements, as well as the splintered plot that seemed to be two different seasons running simultaneously. Season three of Daredevil is a return to form for the series as this season doubles down on the core of the character, placing him in its grittiest, harshest and most realistic world yet. Simply put, Daredevil season three delivers greatness.
Daredevil season 3 manages to tone down all the magic that was very heavily injected into the world of Matt Murdock due to its second season and Defenders. Once again, Daredevil becomes a gritty crime/action blend that works perfectly for the character. It brings back one of its most well-realized villains with the Wilson Fisk, but also introduces Agent Ben Pointdexter, a character many fans will become familiar with once his ‘special skills’ come into display. Another important character brought into the series is Agent Ray Nadeem. Unlike The Punisher, where government conspiracies heavily distract from the main plot, Daredevil, ended up flowing his role into the plot seamlessly, developing a very likable and well-developed character. This season also side-steps Netflix’s usual pacing problems, managing to fill the 13 episodes with interesting characters, plot-lines, and twists without dragging down the overall story.
Daredevil season 3 manages to bring back everything right about the first season. Charlie Cox delivers one of his best performances yet, especially in the finale, as does Vincent D’Onofrio. The fight sequences are especially well done, paying off the usual hallway fight fairly early in the season but continuing to deliver amazing one-shot style sequences peppered throughout. An aspect of Daredevil that is sometimes overlooked is the presence of comedy. Despite Daredevil’s extremity grim setting and undertone, it manages to relive that with incredibly placed dialogue, particularly from Matt. His wit and charm is present and continues to make him likable and engaging. This extends to the fight sequences as well, with clever choreography blending classic comic-book charm to a hyper realistic world.
Daredevil blends comic material with the real world in a way that is unmatched. Combining comic book plot threads with original ideas and writing comes together into make this a perfect adaptation, one that keeps the soul of the comics in it, while still being fresh. Daredevil doesn’t just honor the source material, it allows the show to create its own material and leave its own mark on the Daredevil mythology. Not only does this keep the audience engaged and interested to explore Daredevil further, it is also very rewarding to long time fans. A notable example would be hinting at adapting a famous moment from the comics, but instead paying it off with a different, yet equally satisfying outcome. The amount of preparation and detail to the production design, costumes, set pieces and writing adds to why Daredevil is the gold standard. Subtle things like Wilson Fisk modeling his clothing to match the ‘Rabbit in a Snowstorm’ painting from the first season.
Overall, Daredevil season three is one of the best things to come out of the comic book medium. The season crafts a unique, faithful, layered and powerful story for Matt Murdock, brings together flawless action sequences, three dimensional characters, and some of the best acting this genre has ever seen. In short, Daredevil season 3 is a masterpiece.