Title: The Defenders
Air Date: August 18, 2017
Genre: Action, Crime Drama, Superhero
Having watched every Marvel Netflix original up to this point, I still had my doubts going into The Defenders. The combination of Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones was everything I hoped for in the series, but Iron Fist was still a considerable disappointment. That being said, the show was not weighed down Rand too much, even raising him up at points.
The Defenders starts off at a very slow pace, taking multiple episodes before all four of the characters all meet. While this might seem like a bad thing, it’s one of my favorite aspects of the shows. One of the biggest gripes I’ve had with each of the series so far has been their pacing. Each show suffered from different problems, but for the most part, they either seemed to rushed or too drawn out, with certain things taking place quickly over one episode, or having series that have no need for 13 hour-long episodes.
Yet, The Defenders is only eight episodes long and followed the same narrative throughout. A lot of this can be accredited to the work the stand alone shows put into not only building up the heroes and their plotlines, but the villains as well. Madam Gao and Elektra’s returns are welcomed, as both put on phenomenal performances. But both of those series regulars were outshined by the newcomer, veteran actress Sigourney Weaver.
Despite having seen Weaver in so many important roles (Alien, Avatar), her role as Alexandra Reid, the leader of The Hand, was still so distinguished and unique. Usually, the actress plays the role of a good guy, so I was skeptical to see how she could handle being the antagonist. But despite every role I’d seen her in before, despite the fact that she’s a woman approach 70 years old, she was still menacing. Seeing the way she interacted with an established villain like Madam Gao, really helped solidify her. Yet her character was still vulnerable as well. Her disease not only made me sympathize with her, it also revealed her motivation.
When it comes to The Defenders four main protagonists, their chemistry was phenomenal. Matt Murdock as the Leader, Luke Cage as the Muscle, and Jessica Jones as the Wild Card. While Danny Rand still struggled to find an identity character wise, making him the center of the conflict actual helped his character. Alongside this, interactions with the other members of the group, especially Luke Cage, fleshed out the Iron Fist’s personality nicely.
Unfortunately, some of the aspects that burden Iron Fist season 1 carried over along with Danny. While the action scenes with Iron Fist improved tremendously, The Defenders has a some jarringly inconsistent camera work. Quick camera cuts and poorly choreographed fighting take away from some of the more important fights in the show. The music was very odd at parts as well, featuring violin, Game of Thrones like sad songs taking place during fights. Instead, I wish The Defenders featured more music like “Know What I Know” by California rapper Lou U.
The scene featuring this song was hands-down my favorite fight scene in the show, and quite possibly the series. It also shows off some of the best camera work in The Defenders, borrowing long tracking shots and tight corridor fight scenes from Daredevil’s first two seasons.
The best part about The Defenders revolves around the ongoing saga between Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchio. I’m usually not one for romance in stories, and I thought the death, then rebirth of Daredevil’s love at the end of season 2 was a tad cliche, but their tragic story is gripping. It was simple scenes like seeing Elektra curl up in Matt’s bed that really brought their tale together.
The Defenders did a solid job of giving side characters enough screen time as well. While naggy at times, Claire Temple, Trish Walker, Colleen Wing, and Foggy Nelson all play their roles well, acting as motivation for each of the main cast.
It’s obvious that the story of The Defenders is far from over, but this first season proved that despite hiccups from individual shows, they work well together as a team. My fingers are crossed that the coming seasons for each individual Defenders show can only help make the second season of The Defenders even better than the first.
VERDICT: The first season of The Defenders is another solid installment in Marvel’s Netflix original series. While Danny Rand and Iron Fist still have problems, the cast work marvelously together. The story, while simple, is coherent and paced well enough to have me on the edge of my seat for a second season. If you are a Marvel fan, there is no doubt that The Defenders is a show for you.
- Comic Book like scene transitions
- Team chemistry
- Elektra and Matt tragic storyline
- Sigourney Weaver
- Danny is still somewhat bland
- Camera and music inconsistency