Marvel's Daredevil Season 3 First Reviews: Troubled Superhero Meets New Foe Bullseye

The latest season for Netflix's blind superhero starts slow, but ultimately delivers, say critics.

by | October 12, 2018 | Comments

Daredevil season 3 keyart (Netflix)
(Photo by Netflix)

Critics began unleashing reviews of Marvel’s Daredevil season 3 on Friday. Early critical buzz is that the new season packs the series’ trademark visual and emotional punch — but critics are lukewarm on its pacing.

With 10 reviews so far, season 3 is currently Fresh with a score of 90% on the Tomatometer. (We will update this article as more reviews come in.)

Marvel’s Daredevil stars British actor Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, a New York lawyer turned crime-fighting vigilante who rose from the dead after being buried alive in a building explosion at the end of Marvel’s The Defenders. Murdock used his heightened senses to combat Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) and finally had Fisk sent to prison at the end of season 2. This season, Fisk will groom FBI Agent Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter’s (Wilson Bethel) into the formidable Bullseye — a cold-hearted villain with killer aim and new foe for Daredevil. Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) returns as kindhearted thrill-seeker Karen Page, and Rosario Dawson returns as Claire Temple, Murdock’s nurse and confidant. And of course, Elden Henson will return as Daredevil’s best friend and fellow lawyer, Franklin “Foggy” Nelson.

Here’s what some of the critics have to say so far:

Cast and Action Were Worth the Wait

The first season of Daredevil is considered the best of Netflix’s Marvel series — and it’s got a 99% Tomatometer score to prove it. Most critics feel season 3 lives up to that hype: They’re celebrating the action sequences and cast’s performances.

From a continually escalating 11-minute-long take — an homage to season 1’s memorable corridor sequence — to a mano-a-mano showdown guaranteed to have comic book aficionados salivating and more, the fisticuffs have rarely been more impressive or visceral. — Amon Warmann, Empire

Charlie Cox has always been a strong performer on the show, albeit one ever so slightly overshadowed by bigger, louder performances on the show (the hulking presence of Vincent D’Onofrio in Season 1, and Jon Bernthal’s raging Frank Castle in the early episodes of Season 2). — James Hunt, What Culture

Vincent D’Onofrio continues to give a rich, powerful, and intense performance as Fisk. Many say that he is one of the best comic book villains in the MCU and I would argue he’s one of the best in the superhero genre. — Manny A. Castellanos, Geeks of Color

A Slow Start and Bullseye (Barely) Misses

Several critics are pointing out momentum problems in season 3, saying it — like some of Netflix’s other Marvel offerings — lacks steam. One says that the series’ iteration of Bullseye didn’t meet expectations.

While it’s a slow starter, it feels like it has purpose, and the impression from about the middle of the third episode onwards is that it’s gathering momentum with virtually every scene. — Mike Cecchini, Den of Geek

We’ve reached a stage in Marvel’s Netflix invasion at which we can safely say that most of the series are…problematic. … At best, Marvel’s Netflix offerings have been grand in scope, yet flat in stature.— Brandon Katz, Observer

Even with the glacially-paced first three episodes, Daredevil season 3 begins to show its strengths once all the introductions and pleasantries are out of the way. — Shaan Joshi, We Got This Covered

Pacing issues and narrative urgency aside, the new season is nevertheless much stronger than both season 2 or The Defenders, which is a big win in any book. — Kevin Yeoman, ScreenRant

Wilson Bethel does fairly well playing up the villain’s unstable emotional state, but as a character, Bullseye never really hits his mark. — Chris Evangelista, Slashfilm

Good and Bad in Character’s Complexity

Despite the show’s struggles with pacing, critics are drawn to the character of Daredevil, both because of his inner turmoil and chemistry with his foes.

Daredevil has always been a mixed bag but the bag is usually full of more good than bad, and that ratio remains unchanged going into the show’s first post-Defenders season. — Merrill Barr, Forbes

What almost killed him also brings him back to the land of the living. There’s something nuanced and empowering about the idea that our most self-destructive behavior also serves as our salvation. — Brandon Katz, Observer

Season 3 finds Matt Murdock at has darkest, most despondent and desperate point ever, but it’s Cox’s completely overwhelmed yet resolute portrayal that makes him heroic. — Brett White, Decider

Daredevil season 3 launches on Friday, October 19 on Netflix.

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