TV Review: ‘Daredevil’ – Season 3 Premiere

The Devil is reborn as Netflix return to Hell’s Kitchen for a new season of Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’…

The Devil is back as Charlie Cox returns for season 3 of Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’ (image credit: Marvel/Netflix, used for illustrative purposes only).

 

Spoiler-free review

Starring:  Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Joanne Whalley, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jay Ali, Peter McRobbie

Series created by:  Drew Goddard (Daredevil created by Stan Lee and Bill Everett)

Written by:  Erik Oleson / episode directed by:  Marc Jobst

What’s it about?

Recovering after facing near death in his battle against the Hand, Matt Murdock decides that it’s time for the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen to return…

Episode review

Just as Netflix announce the unfortunate cancellation of Marvel shows Iron Fist and Luke Cage, their first hit series returns for its third season.  Daredevil is arguably the best of the Netflix/Marvel ventures and the premiere for its new season takes an expectedly slow-burn approach that is non-the-less an interesting beginning.

In the wake of The Defenders, the final moments of which we learnt that Matt Murdock somehow survived the devastation of his final battle with the Hand (and how he escaped death is revealed but not dwelt upon), “Resurrection” finds Murdock broken, worn down and in the care of Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley) as he attempts to recover physically and spiritually.  His senses dulled and his soul crushed, it’s been a bumpy road for Murdock who feels he only has purpose as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen and it’s time to emerge from the torment of his own personal damnation.

Charlie Cox, as always, is great and we feel every inch of Matt Murdock’s pain in mind and body.  Cox’s scenes with Joanne Whalley are a particular standout as Murdock bears his soul to the Sister who was a mother figure of sorts to the once young boy who had just lost his sight and his father.  There’s also guidance and support from Peter McRobbie’s Father Lantom which adds further dramatic layers to Murdock’s struggle.

Meanwhile, Karen and Foggy continue to deal with the aftermath of their ‘loss’ albeit in different ways – Karen holding on to the hope that Matt is alive and will return, whilst Foggy has chosen to accept that his best friend is gone and move on with his life as best as he can.  Although Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson don’t get a whole lot to do in this episode, both actors slip back into their roles with ease and are as effective as they’ve ever been.

Daredevil would of course not be the same without Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk and “Resurrection” makes room to revisit the deposed Kingpin, dejected as he continues to languish in prison.  D’Onofrio is reliably intense and it seems Fisk is being positioned for a powerful comeback that will undoubtedly once again draw battle lines on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.

Visually it’s the usual high standard for Daredevil, the use of sound and lighting married with beautiful photography giving the series that cinematic quality we’ve come to expect and appreciate.  The fight choreography is also top-notch and is quite brutal, but with dramatic resonance – especially in those scenes in which Murdock submits himself to a sparring match in an attempt to re-focus his senses.

Ultimately it is a slow start, which is par for the course with the Marvel/Netflix series, but writer Erik Oleson (who replaces Marco Ramirez as showrunner) puts the pieces firmly in place and sets this latest chapter of Daredevil on a thematically interesting path.

The bottom line:  the latest season of Daredevil gets off to an interesting start with strong acting performances, engaging character work and rich visual aesthetics.

All 13 episodes of Daredevil season 3 are available to stream now via Netflix.

13 thoughts on “TV Review: ‘Daredevil’ – Season 3 Premiere

  1. Really enjoying Season 3 of Daredevil. Agree, its a bit of a slow start, but that’s often the case with the Netflix shows. Great cast and fights, and the show looks visually stunning as always. Shame Iron Fist and Luke Cage got cancelled, but I don’t think they ever really grabbed the audience like Daredevil has.

  2. I’m only halfway through the season but I’m blown away by how great it is. Of the four Marvel Netflix shows this year, Daredevil is easily the best.
    I was surprised by the slow start but given how it picks up so quickly, this is forgiven. Thanks for the review.

  3. I’m thinking of Daredevil, and all my Marvel favorites, while I’m visiting New York City. I’ll need to create a post about the Society of Illustrators. I got to enjoy a number of great pieces by Romita, Ditko, and Simpson.

  4. Absolutely love the slow-burn approach and the whole religious angle to Matt’s quest to finding himself, but also all the psychological manipulation that all of the characters are going through. I’m close to the ending now, and it has definitely delivered so far! Still stands as the best of Marvel’s universe, and can’t wait to see how it’ll end! Fantastic review, Chris.

    Also a bit unfortunate that they cancelled Iron Fist and Luke Cage. I do hope it’s just to bring us new series, like Daughters of the Dragon and Heroes for Hire… Or at least it has something to do with Disney’s streaming service to come…

    • Thanks Lashaan! I’m a few more episodes in myself now and this season is certainly delivering on all fronts. Netflix axing Iron Fist and Luke Cage is unfortunate but I definitely like the idea of them possibly doing more event/crossover series (one-off movie length specials would be good too).

      It seems that Disney’s streaming service is going to be family friendly so unless that changes I doubt we’ll see those series resurrected on that platform.

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