REVIEW: Daredevil - Your Third Season Was A Masterpiece
Yesterday, it was announced that Netflix is cancelling its flagship Marvel show Daredevil. It's quite sad because the third and last season was an absolute masterpiece. I'm not just talking good, but great enough that I could compare it with some of the best Marvel Studios shows.
Before I get too far into this, I will note that there are SPOILERS for the third season of Daredevil and a little bit about The Defenders. So, proceed with SPOILER ALERT.
I have enjoyed the Daredevil franchise since it first aired in April 2015. I thought it was a fun show to watch, but I watched the seasons rather casually. There was nothing that urged me to finish the season right away. This season had me at the edge of my seat the entire time. Each episode ended where I NEEDED to watch the next episode right away. Each episode really played like its own individual movie in a grand 13 part epic franchise. Normally, I feel like 13 episodes have been too long for the Netflix shows. I feel like they would be better at an 8-10 episode format. But, this season felt like it held very little fat.
I loved how the story played in the shadow of the Catholic Church. Marvel has always grounded its heroes with real world troubles. For Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), having grown up in a Catholic Orphanage, has always been at odds with his Catholic beliefs. The beginning of this season sees him at his possible lowest point where he was almost dead as a result of the events of The Defenders series and he does not know what has become of his love Elektra. And he questions God.
But, instead of playing into the evil Catholic Church trope, the Church serves as a guiding light for Matt/Daredevil with Father Paul Lantom (Peter McRobbie) and Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley) serving as his guiding light. It is through them that we realize God does not do things to us to punish us. He gives us choices as every choice has consequences. But, it is also about striving to make choices that help people, even if they aren't the best choices. And none of our heroes make the best choics at one point. One of the biggest examples being the cover-up of Sister Maggie being Matt's actual biological mom. Neither Lantom or Maggie did what they did to hurt Matt. Maggie left her son because she was experiencing postpartum depression, which was not talked about in those days, and felt herself as danger to her own son. Ironically, she had a hand in raising him after his father died.
I am somebody who struggles to understand organized religion, but this season really got me to understand how one can stand in the face of adversity while holding faith in God.
I love that all the characters really get to shine. We see Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) work to dismantle Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio) by trying to run for District Attorney and we see Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) try to use the power of the press to take on Fisk. I've got to say, though, that Woll gets an MVP shout out. She is amazing this season, including an amazing scene in which she face to face with Fisk and admits to killing one of the few people he actually trusts. The scene is intense and the performances from both Woll and D'Onofrio are quite formidable.
New this season is Rahul "Ray" Nadeem (Jay Ali), an FBI agent who is only trying to make ends meet for his family, but gets embroiled in a major controversy. In a season full of choices, it was interesting to have Nadeem be our eyes into the season. The choices he makes takes him to both the light side and the dark side (when he ends up in the pocket of Fisk himself). His final choice bring him to ultimate redemption. He knows he's screwed and he is going to die. So he ends up making a last testimonial that would expose Fisk's wrong doings and his influence over the FBI.
I cannot forget this show's villains. It goes without saying that Fisk, or, as he finally gets his famous moniker, Kingpin, is one of the greatest villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the comic books, Kingpin had been a rather one dimensional character, a stereotypical crime boss. But, this series really fleshes this character out. It's both the writing and D'Onofrio's performance that has made Kingpin so great. D'Onofrio plays the character with such restraint, but, when needed, he lets out a more monstrous side. This season, though, shows what a mastermind this character is. He is always one step ahead of all the characters. Just when they think they've destroyed him, he turns it around.
He is also responsible for the creating of a psychotic villain in fallen FBI Agent Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter (Wilson Bethel)...the man to later be known as Bullseye. Fisk exploits every weakness in Dex to bring out the villain in him. And, what a great choice Fisks makes as Dex is the perfect nemesis for Daredevil. With his amazing ability to hit any target, Dex is able to offset Dardevil's brawler skills which require being close up. This makes for some pretty awesome fight scenes.
I really hope that, whatever happens, these characters continue in some way. A lot of people are speculating that Daredevil might move to Disney's new Disney+ streaming service or over to Hulu, of which Disney will own majority stock once the Fox deal is completed. My hopes are even bigger. I would love to see these characters move to the movies. And, I would love for them to keep the cast. They are all so amazing. Can you imagine D'Onofrio as Kingpin in a Spider-Man film? I know I would.
Whatever they do, I hope these characters live on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe...