22 November 2018

REVIEW: Daredevil season 3

I do not own any of these images. (via IMDB.com)

Daredevil Season 3 released on Netflix 19/10/2018
Starring Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Vincent D'Onofrio

Official synopsis


"Missing for months, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) reemerges a broken man, putting into question his future as both vigilante Daredevil and lawyer Matthew Murdock. But when his archenemy Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is released from prison, Matt must choose between hiding from the world or embracing his destiny as a hero."

Season 3 of Daredevil delivers on every level. Unlike season 2 which introduced new characters such as Elektra and Frank Castle / Punisher, season 3 returns to its roots by focusing on the core trio and the original villain Wilson Fisk. After season 2 & The Defenders, Daredevil returns with a more down-to-earth approach, a season which perfectly intertwines superhero thrills into a more grounded crime thriller. Spoilers ahead.

Season 2 summary

The season begins with a flashback to the final events in The Defenders, explaining how Matt ended up in a nunnery. The first few episodes are slow and steady as Matt recovers from his injuries and struggles with the physical and psychological results. We see Matt as we have never seen him before, free from Daredevil and the Lawyer, as he becomes a little reckless and frustrated.
Meanwhile, the other core characters Karen and Foggy are given their own time and space within the show. We have an entire episode dedicated to the one and only Karen Page, revealing tragic events from her past. Vincent D'Onofrio makes a very welcome return as the mastermind crime lord Wilson Fisk: season 3 is like a game of cat and mouse as we follow Matt, Foggy and Karen's different attempts to put him behind bars once more. With Fisk having the upper hand at every turn, it's impossible to see a way out. Not only does he succeed in unmasking Matt (so to speak), he also attempts to paint Daredevil as the true villain of Hell's Kitchen by using an imposter. The crime-thriller aspect of this show is further explored through the eyes of two new FBI agents: Special Agents Ben Pointdexter and Ray Nadeem, who suspects that Fisk has somehow infiltrated the FBI. This plot also introduces Bullseye to the MCU, delivering some true comic book thrills.



THE PERFECT FULL CIRCLE

Season 3 takes us full circle. Unlike the two previous seasons, less time is given to Matt's moral dilemmas and instead focuses on Karen and Foggy. The welcome return of Fisk as the main villain of the season allows us to reflect on the past 2 seasons: to see how much Karen and Foggy have flourished in their careers away from Nelson & Murdock, how much New York city has become accustomed to masked vigilantes and of course how the past few years have taken their toll on the Devil Of Hell's Kitchen and Matt Murdock. We see the consequences of past events from season 1, essentially Karen's part in James Wesley's death. Current events involving Fisk force Matt to reconsider suiting up in black once more, a nod to the first season. The ending follows this full-circle theme, with the trio reuniting in the personal sense and career wise.

A MORE PERSONAL APPROACH

This season feels so personal, on various levels. We are introduced to various family members for the very first time, with some surprise revelations. An entire episode is dedicated to Karen Page: this episode is bleak, as we discover a tragic event from her past which resulted in the death of a family member. We learn more about her troubled relationship with her father and her background. Foggy visits his family's struggling butcher shop, which leads him to question his career and new social status. Matthew reunites with his childhood home (the Catholic Church) and introduces some a new key character.

Although the city at large suffers from Fisks actions, the stakes are entirely personal for the core trio. Each of them has a history with Fisk, and he attacks them all on a purely personal level by researching their past, infiltrating their family in some way or destroying their career. Unlike season 2 which introduced Punisher and Elektra, season 3 focuses most of its attention on existing characters. Each character is given time to breathe within the show, showcasing their personal growth since season 1 both personally and career-wise. 


Season 3 introduces two new characters: Benjamin 'Dex' Pointdexter and Ray Nadeem, both special agents in the FBI. Spoilers ahead

S3 was more of an introduction to the character of Pointdexter (who comic book readers will know eventually becomes Bullseye) and Nadeem was there mostly for the audience to witness the true extent of Fisk's influence within the authorities. Some elements of the FBI plot felt a little weak, but seeing the story unfold through Nadeem's eyes made it feel more believable and brought some emotional weight to the plot.

Season 3 successfully introduced us to Pointdexter: episode 5 explores his childhood, his gift/ability as an exceptional marksman, and previous life and career choices which led him to working for the FBI. An orphan suffering from borderline personality disorder and psychopathic tendencies, Pointdexter needs to follow a strict and rigid structure in order to keep himself in check, which is what drove him to join the army and eventually the FBI. But when the FBI puts him on leave after using him as a scapegoat, Fisk easily manipulates him into embracing his true self AND succeeds in using him as a tool to destroy Daredevil's image. 

Fisk's unnerving ability to seek out everyone's weakness and use it against them is the main theme of season 3, it's impossible to see how Matt and co could possibly defeat someone with such a powerful influence. It isn't about physical strength, manpower or weapons - it's about influence and leverage.

The events in the final few episodes unfolded in a truly spectacular way, with Fisk, Pointdexter's Daredevil and Matt all coming together to basically fight-it-out and unleash the anger and frustration that has built up throughout the season (expect a lot of dramatic yells too).


To sum it up, season 3 starts off slow but steadily builds towards a thrilling hero vs villain extravaganza. It's a crime thriller intertwined with superhero fights and villains, with a more grounded approach than it's previous seasons. Daredevil season 3 hits the mark, as it were.

What did you think of this season? I personally loved it, it felt so well paced with the perfect amount of action. I was really impressed with Pointdexter, the scenes with him dressed as Daredevil were really impressive. Once again the cinematography was a dream to watch, and the famous episode 4 long-shot action sequence (this season is was in a prison corridor) pushed the bar even higher than before. My love for Charlie Cox only grows with each passing episode.

Summer
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