The Defenders is Marvel’s next Netflix series. This show is the culmination of two years of hard work in this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Combining the powers of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, a new team is developed to fight the threat of The Hand, an organization that dates back centuries. This review will be broken into two parts, spoiler-free and spoiler filled. The entire review including a rating will be included in the spoiler-free section, followed by a spoiler section going in depth on some of the topics discussed in the spoiler-free section. Without further adieu, here is The Drop’s review of The Defenders.
Starting with things I really enjoyed in The Defenders, my favorite thing without a doubt was the character interactions. Each of these four main characters mixed very well. The chemistry between Luke Cage and Iron Fist was the strongest because of their history in the comics, but other relationships such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones were treated very respectively and worked very well for the show. Another surprise in this show was the well executed inclusion of secondary characters from all four Marvel series. Characters that make an appearance include Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Colleen Wing, Claire Temple, Misty Knight, Trish Walker, Malcolm Ducasse, and Jeri Hogarth. All of these characters had small to medium roles that fit the story and helped to grow storylines with their Defenders character for upcoming seasons of their respective shows.
As usual, the action in The Defenders was great and well performed. Some fans had an issue on how the fighting was portrayed in Iron Fist, but this style felt much more raw like in Daredevil. I also loved this color technique used in filming a certain member of The Defenders team. For example, scenes focusing on Daredevil has red ambient tones, scenes with Luke Cage had yellow ambient tones and so on and so forth. One interesting tidbit is that the villain Alexandra, played by Sigourney Weaver, had a very clean white surrounding.
Speaking of villains, let’s talk briefly about the ones in The Defenders. The character of Alexandra was one of the best characters I have ever seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did she out perform every Marvel movie villain, she topped some of the best Marvel Netflix villain performances as well. This was partially due to great writing, but Weaver’s performance was stunning.
As for the performances by the central cast of The Defenders, everyone played their part very well. Many fans were still concerned about Finn Jones’ portrayal of Iron Fist, but I feel like the issues with his character (which will be discussed in the spoilers section) are due more to writing than acting talent. However, both Finn Jones and crew of the shows have said that they are taking this character on a long journey and he still has much to learn. I see seeds of this being planted in the character by the end of this first season, hinting towards a very exciting future for the character. Other cast members such as Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter all played their characters very well and each had their own storylines to shine in.
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, as we see again with The Defenders. What I found to be the most detrimental aspect of the show was certain storylines. In particular, I found that Elektra’s story arc for the majority of the season was uninteresting and actually caused me to check out from time-to-time. I loved her character in Daredevil, but this arc wasn’t the best option for her character in my opinion. I also didn’t enjoy the direction the show took Danny Rand. The first couple of episodes were great for his character, but the way his storyline switched felt sudden and unnecessary.
Overall, this first season of The Defenders wasn’t as great as some of the other Netflix shows. However, that doesn’t make it a bad series either. If I were to rank the Marvel Netflix shows right now, I would order them:
2. Jessica Jones
3. The Defenders
4. Luke Cage
5. Iron Fist
My score for The Defenders is a 7/10. It is on the same level as Luke Cage for me. What do you think about The Defenders so far? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media!
WARNING: THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE DEFENDERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
For this spoiler section of the article, I will be taking a closer look at some of the things I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy with more spoilers attached. Here we go…
First, the death of Stick was something that I didn’t expect but actually enjoyed. It felt fitting for the character to die in an Agent Coulson type of way, and he served his purpose to this universe. I also thought the plot point of Misty losing her arm was really clever and a great wink at comic fans. Maybe we will see her with some sort of robot arm when Luke Cage Season 2 rolls around similarly to how she has one in the comics.
Now, for some things that weren’t so good in the spoiler territory. There are really only three things that bothered me. The first was the death of Alexandra. She was a great character with a lot of potential who died prematurely very similarly to Cottonmouth in Luke Cage. While the cause of death made sense, having Elektra take over her role not only hurt Alexandra’s character in my eyes, but also continued to ruin Elektra’s arc in this series.
The next point of conversation is the supposed death of Matt Murdock. While no one really thought he had died, it would have been so much better if Daredevil Season 3 hadn’t been announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. It has been known that Daredevil Season 3 was coming for over a year now. Then they tried to pull a stunt like this. Unfortunately it felt tacky and had no emotional weight to it.
The final point is the lack of the Punisher in this series. Now, there was a trailer released online that played at the end of The Defenders, but previous trailers marketing The Defenders led us to believe we would see Frank Castle appear at some point on the show. However, the footage released in that Defenders trailer never made it into the show OR into the trailer that played at the end of The Punisher trailer. So where did that footage go? I guess we’ll never know. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see him in this show because I feel like it would have been a cool addition, but clearly the story didn’t call for him, so I’m glad they chose to leave him out for those reasons.
That’s a wrap for this review everyone. Thank you for reading! For more breaking comic book and movie news come no further than The Drop!