**Contains heavy spoilers**
It has taken me awhile to gather my thoughts about The Defenders series on Netflix. This review will contain minor spoilers at the end. Just to get it out of the way, I liked The Defenders, but I felt let down…like there was so much potential that didn’t get explored. I’d say Marvel’s report card is still good, they will make honor roll…but they are slacking off in their junior year. Daredevil opened with so much promise, Jessica Jones delivered something that was uniquely different, while still fitting into the world that had been established. The integration of Luke Cage into that series was flawless. DD season 2 was even better than the first and the stand alone Luke Cage was solid (I did miss JJ appearing) and had an awesome soundtrack. We all know Iron Fist was the weakest offering and if you are like me, you gave the Marvel/Netflix alliance a pass on that one.
Danny Rand was the first problem I wanted to see fixed in the Defenders. I expected better fight choreography and a more solid and defined hero. The first time we see Iron Fist I’d say he was a marked improvement over his own series, but as the series wore on he became a one note character the audience and the other players tired of “I’m the immortal Iron Fist”, yeah dude we know. You would think someone raised by monks would have more balance and patience…instead Iron Fist and Daredevil kept vying for the “who can do the dumbest hot head thing and mess the whole team up” award. I really wanted to see a centered, less whiny, more focused fighter this time out…unfortunately we didn’t really get that. He did use his iron fist power a lot more which was a plus.
The plot just sort of meandered along, there was no tension, no great reveal. The Hand was relegated to “evil organization doing evil stuff” status without too much rhyme or reason. I wish more time was spent with the character interactions. I loved the chemistry between Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in her series, and there was a bit of it here…but nothing much for the rest of the team. They teased the uneasy alliance between Cage and Iron Fist that could blossom into the “Heroes for Hire” series…but it never materialized. I wanted to see a moment where one of them went out of their way to save the other thus earning that hero’s respect….SOMETHING to bring them together but it never happened.
One last thing COSTUMES!!! Where are the costumes? It actually made DD look so weird to be decked out and no one else was. I really don’t have too much more to say about it other than I had hoped for more. Sort of the feeling you get when someone goes out for ice-cream and comes back with Neapolitan…it will do, but it is no one’s favorite. Also, was it just me or was there Squirrel Girl graffiti in the scene where Iron Fist is being held?
GAMER BECKA ~
Okay…just to preface, there are a great many elements I found absolutely fantastic and others I personally felt were lost or were poorly executed from a storytelling standpoint. ALSO, I unfortunately do not have a comic book background, so please forgive me there. I love both the DC and Marvel universe movies, just not an avid comic reader.
After all the success of the previous Marvel Netflix series I had very high hopes for The Defenders. I couldn’t wait to binge, yet I didn’t breeze through it like I did with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, & Luke Cage. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the series, however, it still felt like an overall disappointment.
With a star-power cast and long-awaited team-up, it didn’t fully live up to the expectations that it should have. Despite the fact that the series was a lot of fun with some good fight scenes, and many familiar faces it wasn’t enough to make The Defenders great.
So what went wrong?
Three of our favorite Marvel superheroes join forces, oh yeah and there’s also Iron Fist. How can we forget
when he reminds us every 5 minutes as if his name were Hodor or Groot. (at least they have an excuse) Although the team members have great chemistry, once again Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is the weakest link. Unfortunately, Iron Fist seems to be the center of the story for The Defenders plotline, when you rather he just disappear or sit this one out.
The series was crammed into only 8 episodes yet never fully seemed to build up to anything. It was poorly written and didn’t feel entirely planned out. The plot never escalated, and the show did not use our heroes to their fullest abilities, pun intended. Even the villains were not used to their potential. The show seemed to rely more on what was going on with the side characters then our main protagonists.
I kept asking myself could we get the Punisher instead?
Not only was Iron Fist the weakest of the four Marvel Netflix Shows, but as Douggary mentioned above, Iron Fist still hasn’t improved much since his solo series.
I laughed so hard at this scene when Sowande, a member of the Hand threatens Danny. This pretty much sums up his role up, he doesn’t come across as a martial arts master and his fist barely works.
He should be pulling the team together instead of constantly whining. He claims it’s his sole responsibility, yet he seems to know the least about the Hand. Instead of portraying a hero he comes off as a stubborn and annoying privileged brat that needs to be reprimanded. I just wonder why would the elders of Kun-Lun choose him, has all this “training” prepared him for anything besides entitlement?
“You are the dumbest Iron Fist yet.”
His partner Colleen was just as annoying. Although, It was great having all the characters from all the Marvel Netflix series come together, the side characters over powered the actual Defenders. The story felt over crowded and cramped. The whole series was the Defenders and side-kicks. Too much time was also spent on explaining backstory and not letting the main four relationships build. They also could’ve toned back Colleen and Karen’s crying. I mean Hello New York is under attack, the cops sure can’t handle this one.
However, I loved having Luke’s partner-in-crime Misty Knight around. Her role wasn’t overbearing. It also made sense as the NYPD were set on keeping the Defenders in custody, and finding out the truth about the attack on New York.
But let’s get to the biggest problem, why was the predominant threat ‘the Hand’ so inadequate, and why were our main super-villains so futile?
The mystical organization known as the Hand, led by a team of five elders in the search for immortality, are
the main antagonist in the Defenders. Throughout the series, we are left wondering what was the Hand’s initial plans. Eventually we learn that Danny’s fist is the key to opening the gate-way home to obtaining more of ‘the substance’ used to gain immortality.
Sigourney Weaver is fantastic as the Hands leader Alexandra Reid, but her character served no real purpose. Why bring on such a Super-Star actress, for her character to be such a let down as a major villain, and to succumb to a meaningless death before accomplishing anything real.
Elektra aka ‘the Black Sky’ is resurrected by Alexandria with a sole purpose of capturing Iron Fist. Elektra (Elodie Yung) is an awesome badass as usual. But after going through all that, I wish she posed a bigger threat.
Stick, another Daredevil favorite (The Chaste) was a bit of a series regular. But what was the point in Stick betraying the team if he so passionately wanted to destroy the Hand, and only be killed by Elektra minutes later. This didn’t lead anywhere plot wise, and it is eventually Elektra that captures Iron Fist anyway.
Overall the Hand was a joke; the super-villain organization posed a bigger threat in the Daredevil series. The Yakuza villain known as Nobu and his highly trained team of ninjas were a much stronger force and way more enjoyable to watch. This could also be due to writing and production, as they were practically phenomenal in Daredevil, and mediocre in Iron Fist. Madam Gao (Wai Ching Ho ) appeared much weaker than expected for a leader, as did the rest of the elders alongside Alexandria. The Hand didn’t accomplish much besides ‘the earthquake’, after-all it’s the Defenders who cause more damage and take down Midland Circle. We’ll have to wait and see to find out if Gao, or Elektra made it out and will reprise the role of Leader of the Hand.
I give The Defenders 6 out of 10.
Although I highly enjoyed the cast chemistry, our favorite hallway scenes, and seeing all the familiar faces. The Defenders falls about average, with nothing overly spectacular, and leaving fans only partially satisfied. This series had so much potential. Lets only hope the next season improves its writing and focuses more on our Defending team.