It's been more than two years since the last Daredevil season (Defenders doesn't really count), and it appears that the series has figured a lot out since we last saw Matt Murdock.
While the reviews are nearly entirely positive — focusing on Vincent D’Onofrio thriving as Kingpin, and the show figuring out pacing issues — there is one asterisk on the good news.
Reviewers note that they only saw the first six episodes of the season, which is becoming a pattern with the screeners that Netflix sends to critics. The full series hits Netflix today (Oct. 19), so we hope you're caught up.
In his review at The Washington Post, David Betancourt sets the bar high, declaring that Daredevil S3 is better than The Punisher's first season.
"The third season, which premieres Oct. 19, is so good even the producers of The Punisher, who for an instant held the title of Netflix’s best Marvel show, will have to kick it up a notch in the future."
"Season 3 of Daredevil is a game of chess between the devil and the Kingpin, with the highly anticipated arrival of classic villain Bullseye (Wilson Bethel) serving as Fisk’s cunning key piece in the match."
"The Daredevil/Kingpin battle is such a main course that Bullseye’s arrival is just a dessert of riches. Bethel gives us a look at the type of obsession that can be concentrated into a kinetic fury that makes anything around him a deadly weapon. This is the matchup fans have been waiting for and it doesn’t disappoint."
Vinnie Mancuso's review for Collider provides the sole bit of negativity found in any of the reviews for Daredevil S3, when he notes how whiny and petulant Matt Murdock has become.
"By ditching most of the more fantastical elements and returning to the nitty-gritty of Hell’s Kitchen with the core characters that made this show great, new Daredevil showrunner Erik Oleson (The Man in the High Castle) has created the best Netflix Marvel season to date. "
"D’Onofrio is such a gifted physical actor that he could have shaved his head and thrown on a white suit and been The Kingpin. But he works absolute magic with Fisk’s small tics, playing the criminal mastermind through barely squinted eyes and slight turns of the head, like an awkward child in a monster’s body. "
"Deborah Ann Woll has really found a great balance of rock-hard resolve and barely-held-together nerves for playing Karen Page, who dives into Wilson Fisk’s release with her usual blend of investigative journalism and highly questionable ethics."
"Oleson wants to hit hard on Matt’s crisis of faith here, but in doing so he often transforms the character into a 16-year-old who wants a tattoo so bad while his parents are being huge jerks. "
In a very spoiler-heavy review/recap for Polygon, Charlie Moss has nothing but good things to say about this new Daredevil season, including the returning Vincent D’Onofrio.
"Daredevil has found its footing again, taking what worked best in season one and exploring those concepts in different ways. Basically: everything old is new again."
'And there are moments in the first six episodes that I feel sorry for Fisk, a compliment to the complexity the show’s writers and D’Onofrio bring to the character."
"Poindexter’s mental descent to becoming Bullseye is riveting and downright creepy, which makes him a Fisk-level villain; brutal and complex."
At io9, Charles Pulliam-Moore has nothing but nice things to say about the return of Daredevil, including praise for much-needed pacing improvements.
"Fisk is especially compelling this time around as he expands the scope of what’s considered villainy in order to get his way."
"Unlike virtually every other Netflix MCU show to date, Daredevil’s third season moves with the kind of briskness that audiences have been wanting for ages."
"The entire cast’s performances this season are a delight to watch because regardless of the size of their roles, everyone brings a level of calculated urgency and relatability to the table that makes you understand their character’s motivations."
Den of Geek
In his review for Den of Geek, Mike Cecchini singles out how much Daredevil is helped by its new additions, including the characters of Sister Maggie and Ray Nadeem.
"Sister Maggie is here to both nurse Matt back to health and be the audience’s stand-in for when we all get annoyed with him, as she is absolutely not here for any of his shit. Whaley is a lot of fun, with a biting, dry wit that plays beautifully with Cox’s more damaged than usual Matt Murdock, and the pair have a warm, genuine chemistry on screen."
"Jay Ali as Ray Nadeem, the FBI agent who ends up as Wilson Fisk’s handler, ... delivers a wounded, sympathetic performance, and Ray seems like a character who would be just as compelling had he been created for some non-Marvel crime show.
"Matt Murdock is just this side of insufferable this season. The difference here is that Matt achieving Miserable Bastard Level: Expert is by design. He earned it. You wouldn’t be a lot of fun if you lost the love of your life as a building fell on you, either."