So this past weekend Netflix released the much anticipated 8 episode series, The Defenders. This is Marvel’s Netflix culmination of the series’ thus far. The equivalent what The Avengers movies are to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) the Defenders are to the MNU (Marvel Netflix Universe). Did the Defenders meet that promise? Or did they let New York and the rest of us down? Let’s find out.
Going into the defenders it’s important to keep in mind that this group of heroes deal with street level crime. They aren’t going to be dealing with a global threat like Loki or Ultron. There focus is more on a group of villains threatening New York. So, we aren’t going to get the spectacle of an entire city being levitated off the ground to be hurled back at the earth. Keep that in mind to help keep your expectation levels in check.
What we do get is a lot of action in the way of brutal hand to hand combat. The one thing that the Netflix series have delivered on over and over again are some spectacularly choreographed fight scenes and Defenders does not disappoint in that regard. Whether it’s the 4 heroes engaged in a hallway fight (as seen in the previews) or Luke Cage and Iron Fist having a tussle the fights feel real and brutal. Like a street level brawl, we’ve grown to expect from these shows.
Also, the other thing that Defenders has over The Avengers is that is 8 hours long. Some people might feel that’s too long to tell a story like this, however I feel that is the complete opposite. In The Avengers, we had heroes with very different personalities essentially thrown into a situation together by Nick Fury. They have a quick brawl in the forest, then argue for the first third of the movie and then are thrown a catalyst that causes them to suddenly become an amazing team and save the world. This always bothered me because they never spent enough time exploring the characters relationships and motivations. Or when they did it was short changed and you just get that quick turnaround to story ahead.
But Defenders takes a very different approach. It takes a fairly long time for the heroes to even meet let alone decide to work together. They spend a lot of time exploring each individual character’s motivations and relationships with in the group. Some people have complained this made the show boring, to me it made it more grounded and believable. Something the Netflix’s shows can take pride in that they have kept that feel throughout all the shows. With great story telling and amazing casts. Speaking of the cast let’s look at the heroes.
Charlie Cox proves once again why he’s the definitive live action Dare Devil. He does an amazing job of portraying a hero struggling between giving up the costumed life to protect the ones he loves and using his powers to do the right thing. Being a long time Dare Devil fan, I pray that Cox portrays Matthew Murdock for a long time to come.
Krysten Ritter is still doing a beautiful job as the foul-mouthed Jessica Jones of Alia Investigations. She delivers a very believable performance once again of the selfish detective with a heart of gold. Even though she’s ruff around the edges you always want her in your corner.
Mike Colter is brilliant yet again as the unbreakable Luke Cage. Portraying a man that was just released from prison and all he wants to do is have a normal life once again. But that’s not something that’s easily achieved for the Hero of Harlem. A character struggling between wanting to be invisible with a quiet normal life and using his amazing gifts to do the right thing. Yes, a very similar path to Dare Devil, but with different motivations.
And finally, we have Finn Jones as the Immortal Iron Fist. Danny Rand is a character struggling with emotional instability. He’s torn between his childhood home of New York and his sense of responsibility to his adoptive family of K’un-Lun. I know a lot of people had issue with the Iron Fist series, but let me tell you that there seems to be a good amount of improvement in the character in Defenders and some scenes that hint at a possible Heroes for Hire spin off. Which as a huge fan of the old Power Man and Iron Fist comics this has me very excited. Defenders does a decent job of making up for Iron Fist IMO.
Well I don’t know how much more I can say before giving away any spoilers, so let me just end with this, Defenders was well executed. All of the actors were brilliant and the writing was some of the best far. I’m looking forward to more Defenders and hope you enjoy it as well.