Marvel’s “Daredevil” premiered its binge-worthy third season October 19 on Netflix’ streaming service.
With the cancellation of two other Marvel Netflix series (“Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage”) accompanying its release, the threat of this third season being its last looms for the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen.
The thought of the show getting canned is a shame, though, since season three of “Daredevil” is the best damn superhero television show made thus far.
Since the show’s April 2015 debut, it has set an incredibly high bar for other shows in the genre, serving as an original, mature, and thought-provoking character analysis of what makes someone a hero or a villain and how it affects the world around them.
Phenomenal performances, excellent writing, superb direction, and brilliant choreography helped “Daredevil” surpass its own standards once again.
Coming off the finale of “The Defenders,” Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox), presumed dead, is at the lowest he has ever been.
Beaten, broken, and having lost the love of his life, Matt must be nursed back to health by the woman that raised, Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley). Nevertheless, Matt denounces his Catholic roots and assumes the Daredevil identity to spite his creator and protect those he cares about from his double life.
However, Matt must question to what extent he is willing to abandon his morality as his arch nemesis, Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) continues to do the same by slowly buying his way out of prison.
The plot and themes of this season are rich and complex throughout with each character carried through to a satisfying conclusion in their character arc. The “Daredevil” writing team has hit a new stride in fleshing out the journeys of all of their characters.
However, the actors’ performances truly bring the engaging stories to life. Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio leave no stone left unturned for their characters. Cox’s interpretation of a misguided, vengeful and even suicidal superhero is both profoundly heartbreaking and captivating while D’Onofrio shines in his off-kilter portrayal of Kingpin, showing a haunting new vulnerability as he does whatever it takes to free himself and his lover Vanessa (Ayelet Zure) from criminal charges. He gives Kingpin chilling mannerisms similar to that of a repressed child, but convincingly switches to the behavior of a wild animal when the script calls for unrelenting rage.
Supporting actors are nowhere close to being left in the dust either. Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson, portraying Karen Page and Foggy Nelson respectively, give strong performances as Daredevil’s closest friends and accomplices. Their characters have grown immensely since the first season and truly shine in the third once they are independent of the titular character.
However, the standout performance of season three is Wilson Bethel’s Benjamin Poindexter. Poindexter, set up to become Daredevil’s greatest foe, Bullseye, is the ace up this season’s sleeve.
Initially an FBI agent and skilled marksman, Poindexter’s descent into madness and villainy is chilling to the bone. Bethel plays Bullseye with charismatic charm that makes the viewer want to root for him. As the series progresses, however, Bethel’s Poindexter becomes a mentally unhinged mercenary on the brink of self-destruction.
With knockout performances across the board, it’s crazy to think the direction of the show even exceeds it. The cinematography is on par with that of David Fincher-directed episodes of “House of Cards.” Each frame is dripping with color and symbolism, enhancing them to arthouse filmmaking quality.
The largest gem on the “Daredevil” directional crown are the action sequences: Brutal. Intense. Brilliantly choreographed.
The action in this series can go toe-to-toe with any big-budget action film for the simple fact that every set piece is a reaction to character choices. The intricacy behind the violence in spite (or perhaps because of) its graphicness show that there’s a purpose behind every punch, kick and fighting style. It’s all in service to better understand the characters and push the plot forward.
“Daredevil” season three is truly the pinnacle of superhero TV shows. Through enormous dedication by the showrunner, cast, crew and writing staff, a superior piece of art has been created. The show abandons shallow tales of morality and typical superhero fanfare for a grounded and emotional study of philosophically-flawed characters. The latest season is an immaculate conclusion to a three-year journey. Hopefully, it won’t be the last.
All 13 episodes of “Daredevil” season three are available on Netflix.