Marvel’s newest Netflix Original series, The Defenders, quickly proved itself as a fan favorite despite the presence of the Iron Fist. With a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes at 75 percent, what could have easily become a convoluted mess became the fan fic the Netflix MCU needed.
Season one follows the Defenders Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the Immortal Iron Fist over the course of a few days as they fight The Hand and try to solve a few mysteries along the way. Why does The Hand want the Iron Fist (AKA Danny Rand)? What’s underneath Midland Circle? When will Stick leave Daredevil in peace?
It takes three episodes to reach the meet-cute between all four main characters, and this has been pointed out as a weakness in the show’s arc, which has also been critiqued as lacking. In fact, it’s better to think of The Defenders as less of a “season” and more as a single “expanded movie” starring our favorite characters. The entire story could probably be told in less than three or four episodes, however, the extra bits- the inside jokes, the interactions between our favorite heroes – would disappear, and it’s these extra bits that make The Defenders especially fun. The only character who undergoes an actual “arc” so to speak would be Daredevil, as at the end of episode eight (this season was also the shortest in the Netflix MCU) most of the characters go back to their lives largely unaffected. However, without its short runtime The Defenders would probably seem to drag on. This show isn’t like the heavy character-centric solo titles that need 13 episodes. This show is action-packed for-the-fans fun, and shouldn’t be judged by how well it stands up to the solo shows because it’s NOT a solo show.
One of the highlights of The Defenders is the cinematography and directing. It’s hard enough to get the “tone” of a scene right for one creative project, but to have four different shows intersecting? And the executive producers and creatives nailed it. During a Jessica Jones scene, the light will be cold and blue and the street she’s on will look like it just rained.
While Luke Cage is changing, he’ll slip into a bright yellow shirt with a brown city in the background. In a Chinese restaurant, Matt Murdock will be silhouetted against red neon. Even Sigourney Weaver, who plays the unassuming and conniving – yet strangely sympathetic Alexandra, is dressed in stiff and expensive clothes, surrounded by marble and chilly white light.
But the real strength of the Defenders is the interaction between the heroes. “Your word, not mine,” as Luke Cage says. It’s believable that these four people wouldn’t be friends at first, and not even want to team up. It’s believable that Danny Rand would piss off literally everyone. I, personally, love it when we get to see a little more exposition between characters. My sister and I were screaming at the TV as the worlds our faves intersected. This also means some much-needed confrontations:
— TIVI??? (@downworldean) August 19, 2017
While not quite up to Jessica Jones or Daredevil S1 levels of legendary, The Defenders does quite well for itself and cleans up nicely. We get to see more of our favorite characters being themselves, and some truly sick beat-downs of friends and foes alike. In short, despite the Superhero-Fatigue you might be feeling, this one is a must-see.
The next MCU Netflix show, The Punisher, is set to be the released sometime later this year.