While season 3 of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is painting the danger in the rise of super powered humans, the hero or vigilante question was built up in season 2 of Daredevil. Both will eventually lead to the issue of controlling and regulating these extra-ordinary beings by the government, which will be tackled in Captain America: Civil War. We'll be getting too far ahead with the story so we'll just dial it back to the Netflix series.
To paint the hero or vigilante question, the Daredevil's style of fighting crime is juxtaposed with that of the Punisher from the get-go. While both of their style is bloody, the Punisher leaves a lot gruesome dead bodies. The Daredevil just leaves a lot of broken bones. The Punisher is clearly a vigilante while it seemed like the Daredevil is a hero trying to save lives, not take it. Then comes Elektra to further reveal the Daredevil's character. The Daredevil continuously tried to respect life despite Elektra's rationalizing the need to take lives. He still appears to be a hero. He actually tried his darndest to be a hero even reaching the obnoxious level of disregarding his daytime responsibilities.
More than the expectedly awesome fight scenes leading to the fall of the villains and clues on what could still happen in case there will be a season 3, what I felt was most interesting in the finale episode was the revelation in the Daredevil's hero status. He unmasked himself with the following statements:
"...this is a part of me that I need and you're the only one who gets it. Without this I'm not alive, I'm not, not really. And I know that now, thanks to you."
Although not explicitly defined, which part he was referring to, the part that he needed, the part that Elektra got, one can assume that it was being the Daredevil, something he has kept a secret for the majority. And for those who knew, like Claire and Foggy, they are opposed to it. They don't get it.
In the same conversation with Elektra, the Daredevil was willing to abandon the city he was trying to protect so he can go disappear with her. What's the Daredevil without someone to save or worse forsaking the your beloved city? Not a hero, for sure. The part that makes him feel alive is not really the saving of lives. It's being a daredevil, the daring stunts, the danger. He can give up being a hero just to feel alive.
It seems too simplistic to reduce the Daredevil to someone who just get a kick out of living dangerously. One cannot discount the lives he saved. This season showed us that maybe the saving of lives is just an excuse so he can live as a daredevil. For me, it is a satisfying enough answer on whether the Daredevil is a hero or not; but hero or not, I enjoyed the Daredevil series.