The devil you know.
The Marvel Netflix universe has been steadily declining for a while now. It arguably began with Iron Fist Season 1. The highly-anticipated crossover The Defenders made things even worse, and subsequent seasons have ranged from good to mediocre at best. Along comes Daredevil Season 3, which I’m glad to confirm is a return to form. However, it does have its share of the same recurring flaws, and the question is this, will it be enough to save the dying Marvel Netflix franchise?
First, here are the things that it actually does right:
- Daredevil Season 3 fixes most of the pacing problems faced by almost every Marvel Netflix season. It’s not about the number of episodes, because 8 episodes of The Defenders felt longer and slower than 13 episodes of Daredevil S3.I don’t usually like binge-watching, but Daredevil S3 made it enjoyable again for me, instead of the chore it was for other seasons. That being said, there were still several pacing hiccups.
- Showrunner Erik Oleson didn’t want to add cameos from other Marvel Netflix shows in Daredevil S3 because he felt that they would be “distractions.” Although I may not agree with that opinion, it was ultimately a great decision, as it allowed the new and returning supporting characters to shine.To be honest, I didn’t like Foggy and Karen much in Daredevil S1, but it’s a testament to how much their characters get developed in Daredevil S3 that they became the highlights of the season for me.
- The new supporting characters were also essential to making Daredevil S3 better. Jay Ali’s Ray Nadeem and Joanne Whalley’s Sister Maggie were fleshed out without sacrificing the story’s pacing or deflecting the focus from other major characters, despite them being newly-introduced characters.
- There’s a reason why Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk AKA Kingpin has been hailed as one of the best comic book villain portrayals. His mere presence and inclusion in the story made Daredevil S3 more compelling.
- Remember the one-shot hallway and spiral staircase fight scenes in Daredevil season 1 and season 2? In season 3, we get an almost 11-minute long one-shot prison break filled with fights. There’s also a bunch of great fight scenes throughout S3, with most of them involving Bullseye.
Now that I’ve listed all the best parts of Daredevil S3, let’s get to the worst parts:
- Wilson Bethel’s Benjamin Poindexter. He’s not a bad character by any means. He’s definitely more complex than the villain we know as Bullseye in the comics. However, I didn’t like that Daredevil S3 acted as an origin of sorts for him, instead of giving us the deadeye killer assassin from the getgo. What we need is the Bullseye that is to The Man Without Fear what the Joker is to Batman.I realized that the showrunners wanted to build up to that, but I was looking forward to the ‘real’ Bullseye, not a psychopath in a Daredevil suit throwing mundane, random objects and somehow still killing people. That led to unexpectedly hilarious moments though, where I found myself laughing at times when I probably shouldn’t have.
- There was still at least one pacing issue in Daredevil S3 even though it comes late into the season. I personally liked the Karen Page origin/backstory episode, though I understand how it might kill the momentum of the story, considering how close to the climax we were by then.
- Matt Murdock never suits up Daredevil S3. Not once. I’m not counting the black ninja suit.
- Classic Daredevil villain Stilt-Man is still nowhere to be seen.
- His legs were last seen in Daredevil S1 E13.
In light of Netflix recently canceling both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, it seems like the once thriving and critically-acclaimed Marvel Netflix universe might be dying out, especially with Disney planning their own streaming service next year. I still carry hopes that these cancelations might lead to a Heroes for Hire series, but if not, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher is currently what’s left.
Daredevil Season 3 might not be the best Marvel Netflix season. I still believe that belongs to either Daredevil S1 or S2. I feel like it’s Marvel Netflix’s equivalent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther from earlier this year, injecting a much-needed spark to revitalize the franchise amidst concerns of superhero fatigue.
Even with renewed vigor and restored trust in the Marvel Netflix universe, it remains to be seen if it will be able to continue the winning streak begun anew with Daredevil S3.