Daredevil Review

The Dark Knight of Netflix Shows

The Backstory of Daredevil:

Season 1:

Daredevil Follow Matt Murdock, a lawyer who works for the good people of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Blinded by an accident when he was young, Matt has been plagued by tragedy all his life. On his first day as part of his own firm, Matt and his partner Franklin ‘Foggy’ Nelson decide to take the case defending one Karen Page. This case leads Matt and Foggy to be at odds with Wilson Fisk, the city’s most powerful crime boss. While Foggy and Karen want to take the legal approach to stopping Fisk, Matt has other ideas. His senses have been heightened by his lack of sight, and using these gifts, Matt takes to stopping crime with his fists, and becomes the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Eventually, the battle against Fisk reaches a boiling point, and Matt takes down Fisk in one final alleyway showdown.

Season 2:

Following his triumph over Fisk both as a lawyer and as Daredevil, Matt is swamped with work. Him and Foggy are now running one of the more successful and most broke law firm in New York. As Daredevil, crime is out of control following Fisk’s defeat. This has led to the increase of vigilantes in Hell’s Kitchen, including Frank Castle, who is known to the media as “The Punisher.” Frank’s brutal, no mercy tactics are at odds with Matt’s far more forgiving methods, and Matt, as both himself and daredevil, attempts to stop Frank from killing half of New York in his war on crime. Along the way, Matt gets tied up with his old mentor Stick and Ex-Girlfriend and master assassin Elektra in their war on the ancient organization known as the hand. All of this stress on daredevil leads to Matt and Foggy parting way. Eventually, the war with Frank and the war with the Hand collide and, in a climactic rooftop stand, Elektra is killed and Frank saves Matt.

Daredevil in The Defenders:

Marvel’s The Defenders

After Elektra’s death, Matt has given up on being Daredevil, and is currently working as a Public Defender. Eventually, Foggy approaches him and gives him some cases to keep him busy. One such case is for the recently captured Jessica Jones. Matt gets Jessica released from custody, and eventually the two of them inadvertently end up at Midland circle with Danny Rand and Luke Cage. While battling in Midland Circle, the group encounter a revived, memoryless Elektra, who is now part of the Hand. Eventually, Daredevil, Along with Jessica, Luke, Danny, Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, and Claire Temple, come up with a plan to destroy Midland Circle, and with it, the Hand. During the final fight, Matt talks sense into Elektra, and the two reunite. Matt, determined not to lose Elektra again, holds off the oncoming Hand assault, giving his friends time to escape. At the end of the fight, Matt and Elektra share a loving embrace as the building collapses on top of them.

And Now… Season 3.

Plot Rundown:

Season 3 picks up months after The Defenders with Matt in the care of Nuns. Matt, now partially deaf in addition to his blindness, has lost everything, and now believes that his life as Matt Murdock is over. Following a brief recovery, Daredevil forces himself to get back to fighting crime when Wilson Fisk makes a devastating comeback after striking a deal with FBI agents Ray Nadeem and Benjamin Poindexter. Matt must then reconcile with Karen and Foggy in order to take down Fisk.

We’ve seen a lot of these characters before, How are they?

While season three no doubt made vast changes to the character of Matt Murdock, by far the standout of season three was the development of the primary antagonists, Dex and WIlson Fisk. Fisk’s last two years of prison haven’t dulled his skills, as he is more manipulative and cunning than ever. Dex, rather than simply being the lethal assassin fans know, is a fully fleshed out character. To fully describe the developments of Fisk and Dex, as well as those of Daredevil, some spoilers are needed, which have been laid out below:

Wilson Fisk: Back and Better than ever

Wilson Fisk has always been a threat looming in the Marvel Netflix Universe, but in Season 3, the Kingpin arrives in style, carefully manipulating the FBI into his personal army. He swiftly eliminates many of his rivals, and turned Dex into his own personal executioner, all before he is released from custody. Once free, he immediately takes to restoring his new penthouse and returning to his former glory. It is then that fans learn that Fisk has done all of this simply to reunite with his beloved Vanessa.

Dex: The Joker to Daredevil's Batman

Easily the standout character of season 3 is none other than Ben Poindexter, aka the villainous Bullseye. While, much like Frank Castle before him, Dex fails to fully become Bullseye in Season 3, he is well on his way to that point. He is introduced to viewers not as a hired gun, but as an FBI agent with dormant sociopathic tendencies. As the story unfolds, so does Dex. He gradually becomes more and more unhinged, as he struggles to find a “North Star” to guide him and keep him on the right track.

The Fights: Is another Emmy nomination in the Future?

Daredevil has always been praised by fans and critics alike for its fight sequences. Each sequence is amazing, each punch could very easily kill. Season 3 is easily home to some of the best choreography fans have seen in the MNU, and two fights in particular stand out, which have been placed behind spoiler tags for those who don’t wish to know anything.

The Hallway Fight

Each season of Daredevil features an incredible fight scene. Season 1 featured the iconic single-shot showdown between Daredevil and the Russians in the iconic Hallway scene. The fight was praised for its amazing choreography, and the fact that the fight was done in a single take, making it one of the greatest four minutes of Netflix Television. Season 2 upped the bar by including two similar scenes. The first takes place when Matt takes on the Dogs of Hell in the famous Stairwell Battle, and the second is the incredibly bloody prison fight scene that pitted Frank against an army of prisoners. While neither scene was one continuous shot, the Stairwell Battle was shot to appear as one, and both scenes ended up earning greater praise than season 1. With a Bar set that high, Season 3 decided to take the nuclear route to surpassing season 2: a continuous, fifteen-minute shot as Matt attempts to escape prison. Matt fights off both prisoners and guards alike in this absolutely stunning scene. The fight deserves nothing but praise, and there have been very few, if any, fans who have watched this soon-to-be iconic moment of Episode 4 without having their jaws collectively drop.

Final Showdown

Daredevil has often had some spectacular final fights, and season three is no exception. The battle begins with Dex, in one of the most horrifying moments of season 3 (more on that later), attacking the wedding of the Kingpin and Vanessa, with Matt following close behind. Dex proceeds to destroy the ceremony, taking out FBI guards on his way to kill Fisk and Vanessa. Dex eventually catches up to Fisk and Vanessa inside their penthouse, and Matt corners them. Fisk, Dex, and Matt then engage in a brutal three-way showdown, which culminates in one of the best moments this season. Fisk breaks Dex’s back, knocking him out of the fight, and then proceeds to get the living snot beat out of him by Matt. Bloody, broken, and defeated, Fisk goads Matt, and in a bid not dissimilar to the of Heath Ledger’s famous Joker in The Dark Knight, begs Matt to kill him. Vanessa pleads for Matt to stop pounding her new husband, and all of this leads to Matt screaming in agony, before declaring that Fisk doesn’t get to destroy who Matt is. The entire scene is beautiful, from Matt’s victorious declaration that Fisk has lost, to the dramatic score gradually increasing in volume as the speech goes on, to Matt removing his mask to look Fisk in the eyes (as best he can), and declare that if Fisk tries anything to harm him or his friends, that Vanessa will rot in prison. Easily one of the highlights of the season, if not the show.

Easter Egg Heaven

The third season of Daredevil takes inspiration from one of the most iconic comic storylines in recent history: Frank Miller’s Born Again. While this season isn’t an exact 1:1 adaptation, it does carry over some moments from the comic, one of which is torn right from the page.

The Cab Kill

Following the aforementioned Hallway Fight, Matt escapes into a cab, only to wake up right as the cab crashes into a river. This scene was ripped straight out of Born Again, albeit this time Matt is not doused in liquor to make it appear as if he drove himself to a watery grave.

Two Devils

Marvel’s Daredevil

One of the biggest reveals from this year’s New York Comic Con was the fact that Dex would suit up as Daredevil to turn New York against the hero. Again, this is lifted directly from Born Again, although in the comic, the impostor is merely a random lunatic rather than a random FBI agent with impeccable aim.

 

Rebirth

A cool little nod to the famed comic comes in the title of the first episode of season 3: “resurrection.” The word not only can literally mean “Born Again,” but it is also an interesting nod to Matt’s catholic faith.

Spoilers Ahead
The Coolest Nod to 'Born Again'

While it is a common practice for movies and TV to subvert expectations in order to give fans a shocking gut-punch, not since Hawkeye in Age of Ultron has anyone been so set up to die, yet live to tell the tale. Being inspired by Born Again, many fans knew that the third season of Daredevil would not bode well for Karen Page. When the 10th Episode was revealed to be titled “Karen,” it seemed to further confirm that Karen would meet her maker. Then, the climax of the episode saw Matt and Dex face off in a church, just as they do in the iconic comic book. towards the end of the battle, Dex hurls one of Matt’s billy clubs at Karen. The scene is set up to mirror Karen’s death in the comic, and the camera cuts to Karen’s face. She gasps, the sound of a foot-long metal club entering someone’s sternum is heard, and the camera zooms out. There fans see Father Lantom, Matt’s old friend and voice of wisdom, protecting Karen from the club, only to die moments later in her arms. While the expectation subversion alone is amazing, the fact that Lantom dies in Karen’s arms reflects how Karen dies in Matt’s arms in the comics.

A Brief Dive into the Mind of Matt Murdock

Marvel’s Daredevil

Throughout the season, Matt Murdock struggles with his inner demons taking over. He begins to question his faith, and that questioning leads to him questioning if letting criminals live is really working. Rather than just have Matt’s voice play over a scene or have some blocky dialogue to introduce Matt’s thoughts to the viewers, the choice was made to have Matt’s subconscious manifest itself in the form of his greatest enemy: Wilson Fisk. Fisk in this form never appears in focus, always being blurred and speaking to Matt through reflections, only physically interacting with Matt once. Fisk is not the only one to manifest himself in this form, as Matt’s father also appears at one point, and rather than sow doubt into Matt’s mind, his father instead reassures Matt. While this is certainly an unorthodox approach to these inner conversations, Marvel and Netflix manage to give it a unique spin.

A Slightly Deeper Dive into Ben Poindexter

Benjamin Poindexter is a major point of conversation for season 3. While Marvel could have very easily just had it be that Dex is an insane hitman, they decided to a complete 180 and give Dex a proper backstory. Dex isn’t evil, he’s just a sociopath who needs to have something to guide him. At first, it was his therapist. After her passing, he found a new “North Star” in the form of his former Co-worker Julie. While Dex at first seems to be on mutual terms with Julie, it is soon discovered that he has been stalking her from afar. He eventually confronts her, and during their one dinner together, he accidentally lets slip just how creepy he has been. After a desperate plea from Dex, Julie agrees to help him stay on the straight and Narrow. Fisk, upon discovering Dex’s incredible skills and fragile state of mind, manipulates himself into being Dex’s new North Star. He has Julie killed, and the sudden disappearance of his North Star makes Dex’s mind incredibly susceptible to manipulation. Once Dex discovers Fisk’s involvement with Julie’s disappearance, he snaps completely, leading to one of the darkest moments in this season.

Darkness Warning and Potential Spoilers

In the final episode, towards the beginning of Dex’s attack on Fisk’s Wedding, Dex attempts to get into the wedding via the entrance for security. Upon arriving, his car is approached by Agent Lim, who, once he sees inside the car, is visibly shocked. While it could very well be because he is face to face with a man in a devil costume driving a police car, the camera soon pans out to show the frozen corpse of Julie, Dex’s North Star. To make matters worse, Dex then leans towards her, and introduces Lim as “One of the Good Ones.” The entire sequence is bizarre and shows just how far Dex has fallen.

Dex’s apartment ends up serving as a metaphor for his mental state as the season progresses. At first, it is clean, orderly. Everything is calm. After Dex is placed on administrative leave by the FBI, he ends up shattering some glass and punching a hole in the wall. As his relationship with Julie falls apart, Dex’s apartment becomes more and more unkempt.

Alongside his apartment, fans are given another clue into the mind of Dex. Whenever something happens to upset the order Dex so desperately clings to, All audio is drowned out by a dull, chaotic buzzing noise. The tone, both in its sound and usage, reflect Dex’s mind. His order has been disrupted. He isn’t listening to anything happening outside of his head, He can only hear his thoughts flying a million different directions. He is teetering on the edge of order and chaos, and all that he needs to go either way is a shove in the direction of his North Star, whoever they may be.

Cinematic Mastery

Marvel’s Daredevil

Camera work has never been an issue for Marvel shows, especially Daredevil. This is especially true for season 3. In the opening episode, Matt has most of his senses out of commission due to having a building fall on him. While just having dialogue would have explained this fairly well, Marvel and Netflix went above and beyond. In instances when Matt’s hearing would falter, entire shots would go in and out of focus. The aforementioned shots of Matt’s inner conversations merely added to this mastery. The soon-to-be famous 15 minute prison escape scene is shot in a single take, merely adding to the already amazing cinematography.

Musical Prowess

While Camera expertise can make a show look amazing, no show is complete without a score to play in the background, and Daredevil’s score is all-around excellent. However, one moment shines above the rest: The aforementioned score that plays whenever fans are given a taste of Dex’s mind. The rapid, dull buzzing that makes teeth grind is quite similar to the Joker’s score from The Dark Knight in terms of its effect on viewers and implications for the story.

The Future of Daredevil:

Among the news that Luke Cage and Iron Fist have been cancelled by Netflix, many have worried that the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen could be next. That may be so, but if not, what could a season 4 offer?

Potential Season 4

Halfway through the season, Matt meets up with Melvin Potter, the man who designed Daredevil’s suit. Now back in the hands of Kingpin, Melvin has been forced back into business, and sets a trap for Matt. During the staged FBI raid, Melvin is captured and arrested, while Matt stands by and watches. This is going to lead to some serious ill will between the two, and will likely lead to Melvin finally becoming Gladiator. Alongside this, we could finally see Stilt-Man make his debut, or far more likely, see the return of Dex. In the closing moments of the season, Dex is seen undergoing surgery to repair his mutilated spine. In the comics, a similar thing happens and Dex’s spine is fused with adamantium. With these developments, Season Four is going to be rough on poor Matt.

Closing Thoughts

Daredevil Season 3 is an objectively great season. Character arcs were expanded, Stakes were raised, and some amazing fights were had. Everything that made Daredevil’s debut season such a success was present. Unfortunately, there is a single pitfall to this spectacular season. While the opening moments of the season show how Matt escaped Midland Circle, we hear no news of Elektra or Gao, who were also buried with Matt. And when Matt asks, he is told the same thing his friends are told about him, that there is no way someone could survive that collapse. And as anyone who watches the show can tell you: there is always a way. Even with this minor downside, Daredevil is the textbook definition of a perfect season. This season is much like the 2008 film: The Dark Knight. Both feature compelling stories, gritty, intense action scenes, and above all, Villains who will go down in history as some of the greatest to ever grace the screen. It is evident even from the first episode that Daredevil’s third season will go down in history the best single season of a Netflix and Marvel team-up, and likely one of the best Netflix Originals to ever be on the streaming service.

Good

  • Great storyline
  • Great character development
  • Amazing camera work
  • Fighting scenes
  • Nods to MCU
  • Potential for future seasons

Bad

  • Miniscule Plot Hole
10

Perfect

Story - 10
References - 10
Sound Design - 10
Possibility for Future Seasons - 10
Characters - 10
References to the MCU - 10
Camera Work - 10
Fight Sequences - 10
I do cool things. I write cool stuff. I'm just living my life the way I want to: Little Sleep, Lots of Netflix.
Average User Rating Write A Review 0 User Reviews
5.5
2 votes
Rate
Submit
Your Rating
0