Daredevil arrived in 2015 as the first installment in Netflix’s ambitious slate of Marvel series. The show introduced Matt Murdock’s world into the MCU, depicting a grittier side of the famously bright superhero franchise. Daredevil was praised by critics and audiences, and a second season soon followed. A year later, Daredevil joined The Defenders, a team-up series that brought together the Man Without Fear, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage to protect New York City against the villainous organization known as the Hand. By the end of the show, Matt found himself buried underneath the Hand’s Midland Circle building. He was presumed gone, but he made his way to the Saint Agnes orphanage.
The ending left fans with many questions and now, after a year of anticipation and theories, Daredevil Season 3 is finally here. The next chapter in the Daredevil saga picks up right after The Defenders, and has Matt leave behind his civilian identity in order to focus on being a full-time superhero. Things won’t be easy, as he’ll be forced to confront the Kingpin, now an FBI informant and a new enemy named Benjamin Poindexter. The show serves a stellar example of what comic book adaptations are capable of, and it has so far been widely praised by both critics and fans. With the show available to stream, we thought it would be appropriate to take a look at 10 things we liked about the Season 3, and 10 that didn’t quite hit the mark.
WARNING: Spoilers for Daredevil Season 3 ahead.
Netflix’s MCU corner has consistently delivered some great villains over the years. Thanks to Daredevil Season 3, we can add another character to that list: Benjamin Poindexter, aka Bullseye. Poindexter is presented as a complete psychopath with a chip on his shoulder and a knack for violence. Impressively, however, the series takes advantage of his instability to build a compelling backstory for him, allowing us to know what makes him tick.
Season 3 takes audiences on a riveting psychological journey through Dex’s troubled mind as he becomes the comic book antagonist we all know and loathe. He’s deadly, smart and incredibly capable, making him a worthy opponent for the Man Without Fear. Here’s hoping we get to see more of him in the near future.
DIDN’T LIKE: SOME WEAK FIGHT SCENE MOMENTS
Daredevil set a high bar for fight choreography in superhero adaptations, and fans were eager to see the type of action the show’s third installment would deliver. Unfortunately, Season 3 has a few weak spots in its action scenes. Don’t get us wrong, the fight sequences are still outstanding, and they highlight the gritty realism that Daredevil has established throughout its past two seasons.
That said, there are also times in which characters are clearly punching the air, giving some hard-hitting action sequences an unintended level of goofiness and unbelievability. It may not be enough to take someone out of the show, but the missed punches are still noticeable, which is a bit disappointing in a season as outstanding as this one.
LIKED: MATT AND SISTER MAGGIE’S RELATIONSHIP
Matt Murdock isn’t a loner anymore. After having a building dropped on him and being discovered half dead on the street, Matt is taken to the Saint Agnes orphanage, where he reunites with Sister Maggie, the nun who looked after him as a child. With no powers and no civilian identity to fall back on, Murdock reluctantly accepts to remain under Maggie’s care.
Despite their initial antagonism, Maggie and Matt gradually forge a mother-son-like bond built on witty insults, clever sarcasm and solid advice. The show takes special care of this relationship, subtly leading up to the reveal Maggie is in fact Matt’s mother. Luckily, Maggie is alive and well by the end of Season 3, so we’re excited to see more of her in the Daredevil universe.
DIDN’T LIKE: A COUPLE OF OUT-OF-PLACE SPEECHES
Daredevil is known for its great dialogue. While the quality writing carries over into Season 3, there are two particular speeches that stand out for feeling slightly out of place. One comes courtesy of Kingpin, who, after being asked about understanding the rules of his incarceration, goes on a long speech about love being a prison and the lengths he’ll go to to protect Vanessa.
The second one comes from Karen Page. While interviewing an attempted victim who refuses to talk, Karen tries to break the ice by telling her about the demise of her brother and its aftermath. Seeing how they were total strangers at that point, it’s difficult to imagine a realistic reason of why Karen would open up like that.
LIKED: BELIEVABLE CHARACTER MOTIVATIONS
One problem superhero films and TV shows can sometimes run into is not giving their characters believable motivations. As we’ve seen before, the human element of the stories is sometimes sidelined in favor of spectacle. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Daredevil Season 3. The show treats every main character as a real individual with defined paths and relatable motivations
Matt wrestles with his identity, Poindexter struggles to find someone who accepts him, Karen does her best to do what’s right, etc. There are no sci-fi aspects to their goals. These are individuals with grounded motivations that are easy to follow and at times, understand. This is one of the show’s strongest aspects, and we hope to see it carry over to future seasons.
DIDN’T LIKE: DAREDEVIL OPENING UP TO AGENT NADEEM
Season 3 introduces FBI agent Ray Nadeem, who unwillingly becomes Kingpin’s pawn. The agent eventually turns on him, which prompts Fisk to send a group of men to end him and his family. Daredevil arrives in time and takes out the attackers, but Nadeem points a gun at him and asks why he should trust him. How does Matt respond? By taking off his mask.
While the pair had previously worked together in exposing Ben Poindexter, they barely knew each other. Given that, it’s hard to imagine that Matt, who’s seen firsthand the danger of others knowing your secret identity, would reveal his face so easily. Nadeem ultimately proved to be trustworthy, but that was still a big leap to take.
LIKED: DAREDEVIL’S ROAD TO RECOVERY
Matt Murdock starts out this season as a broken man. His senses are gone, he can barely move and he lives in a church basement. That’s a tricky situation for a retired superhero. Luckily, after a period of self pity that ends thanks to Sister Maggie, Matt finally decides to get back in superhero shape and hone his senses once again.
His road to recovery is hard, but definitely worth watching. He works out constantly, learns for ways to regain his abilities and even has Father Lantom hire a boxer for him to fight. The people behind the show imbue Matt’s recovery and training with a palpable excitement as he gradually returns to being the Man Without Fear, making these sequences standouts of the season.
DIDN’T LIKE: AGENT NADEEM’S MARITAL CONFLICT
Having survived Fisk’s attack on their home, Nadeem and his family are taken to a secure location by Matt and Foggy. Once there, Nadeem’s wife, Seema, gets angry at him for lying about his real work situation and tells him their son needs someone he can trust. Despite the moment’s intended dramatic impact, their conflict came off as a bit strange.
The scene made it seem as if Seema wasn’t necessarily mad at Ray because he worked for Fisk, but because he had lied to her about the dangers of his work. That was most likely not the point of their argument, but her focus on Nadeem’s lies made it seem that way. It’s ultimately a small detail, but it makes for a confusing confrontation.
LIKED: WILSON FISK’S MASTER PLAN
We’ve seen many super villain plans carried out over years of superhero films and television series. Some are related to world domination, others to hostile takeovers, the list goes on. What makes Kingpin’s master plan in Daredevil Season 3 so special is the simplicity behind it. He aims to become the only source of protection for criminals after wiping out various criminal organizations alongside the FBI.
It’s a straightforward, yet scary strategy that carries a great deal of weight. It also adds to the menacing nature of the Kingpin and his reputation as a cold strategist who’s always five steps ahead. Despite being ultimately thwarted, Fisk’s plan is arguably one of the best thought-out villainous plans we’ve seen in recent superhero media.
DIDN’T LIKE: MARCI
Marci Stahl debuted in Daredevil Season 1 as a lawyer who found pleasure in teasing Foggy Nelson. Over time, the two started dating and their romance continued to evolve throughout Season 2. Marci returns in Season 3, this time much kinder and continuing to practice law. Unfortunately, the character comes across as one of the weakest parts of the show.
It’s important to point out that Amy Rutberg is great in the role. She made some slight alterations to her performance to reflect the character’s changed personality while still portraying the Marci we met in Season 1. Having said that, the character can at times feel a bit out of place in the show’s narrative. Hopefully, she will continue to evolve as the series progresses.
LIKED: BULLSEYE’S SUBTLE TRANSFORMATION
As a child, Ben Poindexter was told to keep his demons at bay by maintaining a strict job and keeping his environment pristine at all times. Dex follows this rules to the letter early on in the season. His mugs are lined up in front of him, newspapers are perfectly stacked and the pictures on his wall are centered.
Proving the impressive attention to detail that went into the show, his home serves as an indicator of his state of mind. As Dex becomes more unstable, the apartment becomes increasingly messier. The mess continues to grow until he finally snaps and rampages at the New York Bulletin staff dressed as Daredevil. That’s an incredibly subtle bit of foreshadowing that’s not often seen in superhero media.
DIDN’T LIKE: BULLSEYE’S INCONSISTENT SKILLS
This season makes one thing clear: Poindexter is a dangerous man. One of the scariest things about the character (aside from his psychopathic tendencies), is the fact that he can make a weapon out of anything… or can he? You see, throughout the series, he’s shown effortlessly ending people with knives, pencils and baseballs. Yet, his skills experience a significant downgrade during the season finale seemingly without explanation.
While fighting Fisk in his penthouse, Dex grabs several glass ornaments from a chandelier and successfully hurls them at Kingpin. None of them do any damage, however, despite the fact that Daredevil had to use a metal object to shield himself when Dex attacked him with those same projectiles earlier in the season.
LIKED: MATT MURDOCK’S RELIGIOUS DILEMMA
Catholicism is a big part of Matt Murdock in the comics. His religion defines who he is and often plays an important part in his storylines. While Netflix’s Daredevil has touched on Matt’s relationship with God in the past, Season 3 takes it to another level by using his faith as the basis of an intriguing moral conflict.
Following the destruction of Midland Circle, Daredevil feels traumatized by how his life turned out and sees himself as a divine bullseye. He decides to leave his religion behind, and the show takes advantage of that internal conflict to explore how important Matt’s faith is to him, and just how much it’s shaped his life. It’s a fascinating approach that delivers a rich character journey.
DIDN’T LIKE: NO REFERENCES TO THE WIDER MCU
Netflix’s Marvel shows rarely interact with the big screen side of the MCU. Aside from a few occasional easter eggs and name drops, fans have had a hard time believing the two franchises actually exist in the same world. Unfortunately, aside from newspaper clippings of the Hulk’s battle with Abomination and the Chitauri invasion on New York, Daredevil Season 3 doesn’t do much else to connect the two worlds.
Of course, the show doesn’t suffer from not referencing the films, especially considering how well it’s structured as a standalone story. However, longtime comic book fans would surely be excited to see a bigger connection between the big and small screen corners of the superhero franchise. Let’s hope that happens at some point in the future.
LIKED: DAREDEVIL’S INNER VOICES
How do you explore the mind of a loner like Daredevil? You give him inner voices to interact with. Throughout Season 3, Matt chatted with imaginary versions of Kingpin and Jack Murdock whenever he found himself in stressful situations. Obviously, giving a superhero the ability to create alternate personalities is risky, but the show pulled it off perfectly.
It was always made clear that the personalities were Matt’s subconscious creeping up on him as he struggled to choose which path to take at any given moment. While unexpected, the voices were a clever way to provide viewers with insight into his strategies and state of mind. The question now is whether these imaginary companions will return to haunt Matt next season.
DIDN’T LIKE: DAREDEVIL ISN’T CAREFUL WITH HIS IDENTITY
Matt Murdock was quite serious about keeping his identity secret early on in the show. He used a mask to cover his face and wore gloves to not leave fingerprints whenever he fought criminals. In Season 3, however, he decides to change things up by incorporating fingerless gloves to his costume. While they make for a cool design choice, they present a big problem for Daredevil.
Matt fights FBI agents multiple times throughout the season and becomes a wanted criminal, so you’d think that he’d know better than to leave his fingerprints all around New York. Even if he didn’t have full gloves available when making his costume, he could have created his own, given how he fashioned himself a mask out of nothing.
LIKED: KAREN PAGE’S STORY ARC
Karen has been an integral part of the show from the beginning. But while she grew a great deal throughout the first two seasons, it sometimes felt like she struggled to find her place in the series. Often, her storylines seemed to exist under Daredevil’s shadow. This time, however, she finally comes into her own with a powerful character arc.
We get to see her take on Wilson Fisk and shine as the New York Bulletin’s top reporter. The show also delves into her darker side, giving us insight into the death of her brother and further fleshing out her guilt over killing James Wesley. Karen’s storyline is a fascinating ride, and one of the strongest in the series so far.
DIDN’T LIKE: NO MENTION OF DANNY RAND
Before being buried alive underneath Midland Circle, Daredevil made Danny Rand promise to look after New York for him. Danny made good on his promise until the end of Iron Fist Season 2, when he left the city to learn more about the Iron Fist. Putting the burden of protecting a city on a mystically-powered billionaire is a pretty big deal, but weirdly, it’s never brought up in Daredevil Season 3.
Despite the destruction brought upon New York by Wilson Fisk, Matt didn’t once wonder where Danny and his glowing fist were during the ordeal. While Iron Fist not being mentioned doesn’t negatively impact Season 3 in any way, it would have been nice to have Matt reference Rand at some point in the story.
LIKED: THE GANG IS BACK TOGETHER
Matt, Karen and Foggy came together in Season 1 to work at Nelson & Murdock, helping those in need and working toward stopping Fisk’s criminal empire. Their dynamic was a highlight of the show, but they eventually went their separate ways. Foggy started working for Jeri Hogarth, Karen became a reporter and Matt continued to immerse himself in his Daredevil persona.
Their shared dynamic was missed in Season 2, but luckily, Season 3 focused on mending their friendship. Matt comes to accept the error of his ways and apologizes to Foggy and Karen for pushing them away. By the season finale, the trio decides to work together again. Bringing them together was a great touch, and it’s exciting to think where our beloved avocados will go next.
DIDN’T LIKE: BULLSEYE’S ENDING SCENE
In the season finale, Dex is left paralyzed after being slammed against a brick wall by Kingpin. He’s later retrieved by the police and his fate isn’t revealed until the season’s closing scene, which shows him undergoing surgery to have metal fused to his spine. The camera then pans toward his face and shows him opening his eyes with a bullseye shining through his iris.
The scene sets up Dex’s transformation into Bullseye, but it sadly didn’t fit with the show’s tone. While exciting, the tease’s impact is hindered by the cliché moment of him opening his eyes, and made worse by showing a bullseye on his eye. It was a bit of an on-the-nose nod that got in the way of an intriguing set-up.
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