Daredevil is one of the greatest adaptions of a comic book character ever put to screen. Daredevil Season 3 released last month and it only solidified the legacy of the series as a whole. Daredevil should be considered one of the greatest achievements in live action comic book media. The combination of excellent craftsmanship, impeccable story telling, and strong, believable characters makes the series a hallmark in quality.
Daredevil has been consistently adapting iconic moments from the comics throughout its three seasons without making them feel rushed or unearned. Some of the best examples of this comes in Season 2. Electra’s scene in the finale, Daredevil and Punisher’s first rooftop scene are both great adaptations that are showcased in the context of the show, rather than just for fan service. Scenes are taken directly from the page but with an added twist. Rather than simply shoehorning comic panels on the screen, the series makes sure to never compromise the character arc or slow the momentum down. Everything about Daredevil is seamless. This is something that sets it aside from most comic book movies or tv shows. These iconic moments from the comics come when they are needed and fit with the story without losing or rushing the development needed for each character. Even the smaller moments like calling Wilson Fisk “kingpin” or Matt Murdock’s eulogy about being a man without fear, all are executed exquisitely within the show’s many layers.
An aspect that Daredevil accomplishes flawlessly is its action set pieces. Both in a technical and physical sense, Daredevil has some of the most impressive actions scenes ever translated to screen. At times, this is an issue with others comic book properties that are grounded. The Dark Knight Trilogy, for example, has some of its only flaws in its action scenes. This can take viewers out of the focus and adrenaline of the moment. Daredevil has never had this problem. The action sequences in Daredevil are always handled with the utmost care and planning. Each season holds a long take, where the camera shots are seamlessly put together to look like they last upwards of 5 minutes. In Daredevil Season 3, they take it to the next level, where their long take lasted 11 minutes. These long takes are always the best way to put the viewer on the edge of their seats. You eyes and your brain are trained to simply wait for the cut and the cut never comes. Throughout the three seasons, there have been amazingly choreographed fight sequences. The action is already so enthralling in the show that this isn’t needed to keep the viewer’s attention but they do it every season anyway, always improving and evolving their own formula.
One of the problems that most comic book tv shows have is making you care about side characters. Daredevil has fallen victim to this as well in the past. but with Season 3, this problem has been resolved. All of the side characters have been interesting. fleshed out, and shown in the perfect light. The show provides us with characters in their entirety, it wants the viewers to be able to decide if these are the good guys or the bad guys for themselves without spelling it out. It shows them as humans rather than 2D. over the top super villains, or average everyday, uninteresting people. Following Agent Poindexter and Agent Nadeem in season 3 is great at showcasing this dynamic. Poindexter’s story starts with him being on the verge of breaking, all he needs is someone to help him. Ultimately Kingpin realizes this and takes advantage of Poindexter, making him into his apprentice. Perhaps if Poindexter had been able to receive the help he needed, he wouldn’t have succumbed to pure evil. Nadeem’s family life is falling apart. He isn’t in a good spot when we first find him either. Starting a character off in such a vulnerable position, only to have them ultimately choose whether or not to do the right thing. Having Poindexter and Nadeem both go down this path of making the right choices while being under Fisk was most of the most enthralling aspects of the season.
The highlights of this series, without question, are Kingpin and Daredevil. Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk are two of the best-written characters in any live action adaptation. Both are equally complex in almost every way. The amount of detail put into each of their character arcs has been incredible to see over 3 seasons. Being able to pull it off masterfully like they did is nothing short of genius. The electricity in their exchanges, whether it be dialogue or fighting is unmatched in the medium. Usually, the greatest hero/villain dynamics are either physical matches, mental matches, but rarely is it both. Daredevil and Kingpin can go toe to toe in every aspect. Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio manage to show the rage, pain and a huge spectrum of other emotions in such a unique way that stands out from other live-action comic book properties.
Daredevil is simply the gold standard of comic book media. The series never compromises under the pressure to deliver high quality seasons and always managed to top itself in intensity. Season 1 of Daredevil changed the game with how comic book characters can be used on television. From Daredevil’s iconic costume, grasping the audience strong payoffs makes the series very interesting. Season 2 did the same, while increasing the stakes, introducing new iconic characters and developing each character perfectly. Finally, Daredevil Season 3 tops itself in every way, from character building, writing, directing, cinematography, choreography, ambition, and overall quality. Daredevil respects the viewers and knows how to execute the narrative in an engaging way. Simply put, Daredevil is the most perfect form of storytelling we’ve seen in this medium.