Cobra Kai fans have been waiting a particularly long time for the series to return, with Season 2 having premiered back in April 2019, when the show was still a YouTube Premium offering. Luckily for them, the wait is almost over, as Cobra Kai Season 3 drops on Netflix this Friday, a week ahead of its originally planned release date. So fans will be able to kick off 2021 with the next chapter of the Karate Kid saga, and judging by the critical reception rolling in, this chapter is quite the enjoyable watch, just like its predecessors.
Starting off, Germain Lussier from io9 described Cobra Kai Season 3 as the show’s most “confident, nostalgic and entertaining season yet,” which is a result of both the main cast members continuing to deliver great performances (although some of the supporting characters are mishandled) and featuring some of the best Karate Kid film series references yet, including a few players from The Karate Kid Part II making their grand return.
Entertainment Weekly’s Darren Finch was similarly pleased with Cobra Kai Season 3, giving it a B grade in his review. Acknowledging that this isn’t the series’ best season, Finch nonetheless felt that these new episodes “form a satisfying expansion” that understandably get off to a rough start for its main characters given the way Season 2 ended, but pave the way for compelling plot threads.
Rafael Motamayor from Slashfilm stated that Cobra Kai remains “a nuanced piece of commentary” on the Karate Kid franchise and its legacy, and even drew some parallels between the Netflix series and the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, with Season 3 taking a The Last Jedi-like approach with its story. However, Motamayor did note that the new season sometimes leans too heavily on “the cyclical nature of its themes,” although that didn’t detract from the overall quality.
All this isn’t to say that Cobra Kai Season 3 is 100% liked by critics in some form or fashion. Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall stamped this new batch of episodes with a 2.5 out of 5 score, commenting that much like how The Karate Kid Part III was an inferior follow-up to the previous two movies, Season 3 fails to measure up to the show’s first two seasons. Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso’s stories have more depth than the rest, but Sepinwall said they “can’t carry a show that’s increasingly goofy everywhere else.”
Finally, Alex McLevy from AV Club gave Cobra Kai Season 3 a B- grade, laying out how there’s “a lot of humor and good-natured theatrics accompanying the story this time around,” though its attempts to get viewers to care about all the characters don’t always work out. Ultimately, the season shines most when it “gets back to basics” and focuses on “the dynamics and interplay between its leads.”
You can judge Cobra Kai Season 3 for yourself when it premieres on Netflix this Friday, and don’t forget the series has already been renewed for Season 4. Find out what else this streaming service will deliver in January with our detailed lineup.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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