The Defenders Review: The Good & The Bad!
Marvel's Defenders assembled on Netflix bringing together the stars and characters from the Marvel TV Netflix shows with Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage and Finn Jones as Iron Fist.
I generally enjoyed the eight episode run of The Defenders, and to be honest, I didn't expect much coming from Marvel TV, but the series did surpass my expectations.
I'll also throw it out there that I didn't watch all of the Marvel Netflix series as I only watched a few episodes of Daredevil Season 1 (didn't like it) and a handful of episodes of Jessica Jones (lost interest), so bear that in mind as I'm not a big "street level" comic guy (prefer cosmic, obviously).
Just seeing the Defenders come together! No matter if you are a DC or Marvel fanboy, you have to admit that whenever a group of superheroes comes together it's pretty awesome. I felt there was good chemistry between all the actors, so hopefully going forward this means more crossovers and appearances.
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones: By far the best actor of the bunch. I was more interested in anything Jessica Jones did than Daredevil, Iron Fist or Luke Cage. I'm happy to say I'll probably go back and watch her first season and look forward to the second season even more.
Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra: Wow! How Marvel TV landed an actress of Sigourney Weaver's caliber is anybody's guess, but I'll say she really came through for the series. If I am not mistaken, Alexandra was created specifically for The Defenders episodes.
Fight scenes: I really liked the fight scenes and thought they were a big improvement than what I saw in Daredevil (and from what I heard about Iron Fist). I'm a martial artist myself (Danzan-Ryu Jujitsu), so I'm always on the look out in TV shows and movies for the fight choreography and was happy with Defenders. Those huge fight scenes in the episode were pretty sweet!
First two episodes: I loved the first two episodes of Defenders, and noticed a steady decline in quality unfortunately from them. Sure enough, I said to myself, "I wonder who directed each episode?" I did some digging and found out SJ Clarkson directed the first two episodes of Defenders who is known for directing episodes of Dexter, Bates Motel, Orange is the New Black and -- Jessica Jones Season 1! Makes sense.
Daredevil costume: Glad to see Daredevil wearing the costume!
Daredevil's last scene: If this didn't get you more excited for Daredevil, I don't know what will!
Humor and Easter Eggs/nods: Defenders had some great humor! Off the top of my head I can think of a few:
- While the Avengers use a Quinjet, the Defenders had to take the subway! That was pretty funny.
- Jessica Jones remarking about not changing her clothes! I was actually thinking that while watching the episodes. We saw DD and LC change their outfits a bunch of times, but not Jessica Jones (lol). I'll stop there.
- Stick's comment about Iron Fist was classic as it reflects what everybody thought after watching Iron Fist (lol): "Because this one, the immortal Iron Fist, living weapon and protector of the ancient city...is still a thundering dumbass."
- Misty Knight gets her arm cut off: She's in Danny Rand's state-of-the-art hospital, which is an obvious nod to Misty Knight getting a bionic arm from the comics.
- Stan Lee is featured on another poster as a cop.
Number of episodes: I'm actually on the fence as either they should have gone with four episodes or stretched it out for more than eight (reasoning explored below) because I felt episodes 4/5-7 you didn't even need to watch.
Iron Fist: The character isn't really doing anything for me, and a glowing straight punch comes off as rather ridiculous. From what I gather, Iron Fist is a lot better in The Defenders than the solo series. I can only imagine how bad that must be!
Alexandra: Yes the character is both good and bad! Sigourney Weaver was great, but they vastly under utilized her! Honestly, I wasn't surprised they killed her off because I knew there was no way "Sigourney Weaver" was sticking around Marvel TV (lol), but they should have used her all the way until the friggin' end as the main villain! Why even bother including her other than to use "Sigourney Weaver" for promotion?? I really wanted to see Sigourney Weaver kick some butt, which I felt was foreshadowed in that scene with Stick when she showed off a bit of martial arts when she flipped that person over. Now I get it that her character is dying, but that is even more reason to show her off as the ultimate bad ass, as she has led The Hand for hundreds if not thousands of years! Alexsandra at least should have kicked the crud out of Murakami! And can you imagine seeing Sigourney Weaver (and her stunt double) doing some crazy moves? Huge missed opportunity!
The Hand: The Hand and the Five Fingers were foreshadowed to be this big secret powerful group, but by the end of the series, they seemed nothing more than your basic goons. Now correct me if I am wrong, but The Hand is made up of a force of Ninjas? It seemed to be in The Defenders that the Fingers basically recruited low-level goons to fight for them. Rosario Dawson actually took on two of them and beat one! There's no way they were The Hand (lol). I'll say the office scene was really cool, and that was more of what I expected from The Hand, but it didn't seem that way throughout series and especially the big end scene (at least for me).
Madame Gao: Of all the people to make it to the end, she's this uber powerful fighter? Ughhh.. The reason I am stating this is because she was basically subservient and afraid of Alexandra. It should have been Alexandra doing the Houdeken! or at least something else. Hey! It should have been both of them!
No costumes! Daredevil had his costume. Where were the costumes for the other three? I know Jessica Jones made a joke to Luke Cage about wearing spandex, but at least Iron Fist should be wearing something cool!
Blowing up the Midland Circle building: They couldn't think of anything better? Hello! This is NYC! It brought me back to the World Trade Center bombings. In bad taste, Marvel!
Rap music in the final episode: I think it might have been music from the Wu-Tang Clan? But it was really out of place and didn't fit at all!
Stick: I didn't like how they tied up Danny, and then Stick comes up with the bright idea to kill him. Meh. Stick is supposed to be this wise old dude, but came off as pretty lame.
No mention of Defenders! Shame on Marvel! Aren't you comic fans?? The line Daredevil whispers to Iron Fist at the end should have been: DEFEND this city!
Last episode effects: The final fight elevator scene with DD, LC and JJ looked pretty bad. Guess they ran out of budget.
Camera work: Anyone else notice the huge circles of light reflecting in the camera at times?
Lack of showing: It would have been cool to see Luke Cage take out Sowande, Murakami taking out the bear, and Jessica Jones throwing the truck into the Chinese restaurant! Again! Budget woes!
Heroes for Hire: I'll admit the scenes with Luke Cage and Iron Fist together were done well, and I wouldn't mind seeing the two of them together some more, but someone please tell me how a billionaire could be a "Hero for Hire?" Okay. Not saying that is going to happen. Power Man and Iron Fist, I do get.
Writing: Overall, I felt the writing was pretty weak. I didn't like how Elektra killed Alexandra and took over The Hand. It's like, "Okay, we The Hand, who have been in existence for thousands of year, and is basically prepared for anything, fall to Elektra with Alexandra getting stabbed in the back?" Huh? Again, huge missed opportunity with Sigourney Weaver's character, which was being built up throughout every episode! Expected way more and something better.
Update: The Defenders first coming together: Here is one related the the number of episodes as I felt the Defenders first coming together at Midland Circle didn't fit with the pacing of the previous episodes and was way too rushed and convenient. And corny. Real corny.
There ya have it! That's my thoughts on The Defenders! Marvel TV seems to be getting better by the year, and I have big expectations for Jon Bernthal's Punisher series later this year and even the upcoming season of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Hit me up below in the comments with your own thoughts!