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What has season 3 of ‘Daredevil’ brought to the Netflix MCU?

  • Published at 12:30 am November 4th, 2018

The pumped up story-line, which is quite cathartic in nature, will glue you to the screen with its immaculately-choreographed action, a number of stunning visual set-pieces and its rich gothic tinge that soothes the eye

To be honest, before the arrival of season 3 of “Daredevil,” Netflix’s Marvel shows had not been doing so well. The earlier “Iron Fist” was quite terrible while “The Defenders” was inconsistent with “Luke Cage” and “Jessica Jones” from where the miniseries had borrowed two of its major characters. This third season hit small screens as Netflix confirmed it had cancelled “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist.” Therefore, fans started watching the third season with a lot of doubt and apprehension. But, voila! By the end of its first week, the show is swirling with well-deserved buzz that, this is by far the best Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that Netflix has offered—and marks “a return to form.”

The hype around this season is sealed by Vincent D’Onofrio’s barnstorming performance—he plays the role of Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. His return obliges the introduction of three new compelling characters. 

One of these is Sister Maggie, played by Joanne Whalley, who needs to nurse, or should we say “stitch,” back our protagonist. He endlessly gets himself in fights to keep the “hubris” of his boxer father alive. According to the comic book, Sister Maggie is a nun who shows motherly affections towards Daredevil, but never reveals that she is actually his mother, but the MCU provides this major revelation in season 3, which then leads Daredevil to undergo more pain and bruises, so much so, that by the end of the series he almost looks like an oddly-sewn garment.

Another is Rahul Ray Nadeem, played by Jay Ali— a character entirely absent from the comic archives. Jay plays a pivotal role with an extraordinary arc for the story’s development; moreover, who does not like to see a brown actor with curt British accent in a gullible role with a platter of “chole-bhatura?” 

The third is Benjamin Poindexter aka Bullseye, played by Wilson Bethel, one of the key foes of our “Man Without Fear” Matt Murdock— played by Charlie Cox. His performance has often been compared to that done by Ben Affleck in the 2003 film version of “Daredevil.” Netizens generally believe that he has aced it over Affleck. 

Speaking of films, the “you-know-who” of Daredevil D’Onofrio was hoping for this cast to make it to the big screen as well after this season’s ravishing reviews on different platforms. Even though the returning cast of “damsel in distress” Karen Page and Murdock’s partner-in-crime Franklin Foggy Nelson, Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson respectively, have managed to flood the web arena with numerous memes, but they are more tolerable this time. They have more screen time, therefore, and light is shed on their back stories which, unfortunately, did not happen in the previous seasons.

The story is woven through Kingpin aka Fisk’s attempt to bring his long-found love Vanessa back to the Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood, by ostensibly snitching on his criminal associates through various means—be it pawning on all the characters you will see, or turning a former psychotic patient into a killing machine, as well as one of Daredevil’s most notorious comic-book adversaries; you name it, Fisk will supersede your imagination with his top-notch villainy. 

The pumped up story-line, which is quite cathartic in nature, will glue you to the screen with its immaculately-choreographed action, a number of stunning visual set-pieces and its rich gothic tinge that soothes the eye.  Unlike other adaptations of “Daredevil,” this series ceases to explore a balance between being a crime drama and or a supernatural drama; it foregoes the latter, helping its audiences to settle on the couch with a certain comfort that other MCUs could not realize.

Most of the speculation and anticipation about Netflix’s success with MCU series is heavily based on netizens’ reactions. As Netflix has never released their viewing figures for these shows – not even for the recently cancelled ones – social media has turned into a usual metric to discern whether or not audiences are genuinely interested in their content. 

Even though Netflix has cited creative differences as the key cause behind the recent cancellations, rumour has it that it does not matter whether Netflix shows are having robust openings or not, but a pattern of a sharp drop-off in social media has been identified. And, like many of Netflix’s famous show cliff-hangers, at the end of a successful week of “Daredevil” season 3, we are yet to know whether Netflix genuinely feels it is high time they should cut their losses or they are just reducing their audiences to the big old pile of “I-don’t-want-to-go” dust. 

Gopa Biswas Caesar is a lecturer at the Department of Television, Film and Photography of University of Dhaka