The Defenders Review Essay
Despite Plot Flaws, The Defenders Is a Mostly Satisfying Adventure
The mini Netflix Marvel universe that started with the first season of Daredevil finally brings all 4 of its main heroes together. The Netflix Marvel universe has been through a lot of ups and downs. Many people love Daredevil and Jessica Jones, while both Luke Cage and Iron Fist tended to have somewhat mixed reviews. This is the time to see if all 4 can come together and create an epic series. Did it work? Well, for the most part, yes.
The Defenders brings together the heroes Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). They all have one unified mission and that it is to destroy the deadly organization, known as the Hand, before the Hand destroys New York City.
The most important part of this show is the characters and they are all pretty great. The two Defenders who get the most screen time are Daredevil and Iron Fist as they are the two who have dealt with the hand in their shows. Cox is once again fantastic as Matt Murdock. He has fully captured who this character is. He wants to help people, not just because he wants to, but also because he feels that he needs to. He really helps to carry the plot because the Daredevil plot lines are probably the best part of this show.
Daredevil is arguably the best Netflix Marvel show and the Daredevil moments are the strongest of the show. Iron Fist is the weakest of the Marvel shows and it is also the weakest part of this show. Finn jones isn’t necessarily bad as Danny Rand, but whoever is writing his dialogue does not understand this character. So many of his lines are so cheesy and it is impossible to deliver them without being stiff. He also just seems like a spoiled brat. Luckily, his character does get better as the show continues and he does have some cool fight scenes.
Krysten Ritter is great again as Jessica Jones. She is a borderline anti-hero but she does a great job at making her character likable. She is an alcoholic and is very crude, but it is clear that she is a good person. The characters who were in the first season of Jessica Jones who are in this show don’t really do much but they are nice to see again.
Luke Cage is back as well and Mike Colter does a great job. He is such a cool character. He is very witty and funny, but he also takes helping people very seriously. It’s also cool to see him being treated as somewhat of a celebrity in his community. His best moments are when someone is trying to fight with him and he just takes all the punches without even flinching and then just throws them. It’s so easy for him.
Their are also a couple of supporting characters who have pretty important roles in the show. Rosario Dawson has been in all four of the other shows so it makes sense for her to be in this one. She is pretty good again, however, it does seem like the writers are trying to find ways to force her character into more of the plot. Jessica Henwick also comes back from Iron Fist and she is great. The best supporting characters, however, are definitely Stick and Elektra. They are both just such badass characters and they play pretty huge roles in the plot of this show.
Heroes need good villains and the ones in this show are a little bit underwhelming. The main villain in this show is playe by Sigourney Weaver, who is one of the 5 fingers of the hand and leads the organization. She is a pretty good villain. Weaver is great, but her character is a little bit basic. The other 4 members of the hand are also pretty cool, especially Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao. This character is so cool. Every time she speaks, I feel both relaxed and intimidated at the same time.
The main problem with the villains in this show is not the leaders of the Hand, but the Hand itself. The henchmen in this organization are useless. The Defenders run through them like an army of ants. They show no threat to the Defenders. Even when they had guns, I never felt that they were fair opponents.
I also had a problem with the Hand’s plan. It is very vague. They say they want to become immortal, but I have no idea what destroying New York has to do with that. They say they fight for life, but they kill a ton of people. Their plan is just very confusing.
The Defenders are a group of heroes who know how to kick ass, so the action in this show needed to deliver and for the most part, it did. Seeing the 4 heroes fight as one was pretty cool. They all have unique powers and they all show why they are a useful part of the team. The hand to hand combat is handled pretty well and some of the stunts are entertaining.
However, there is one fight in particular that is not handled well. I won’t spoil the context of the fight but it does take place in a parking lot. The direction of this fight is bad. It is very poorly edited with a ton of cuts that make it hard to understand what is going on. There is also a lot of shaky cam that blurs the screen. It is also very obvious to tell when a stunt person came into the scene to do the stunts. The good thing is that this fight is short and it is the only bad fight in the show.
Overall, I would say that this show is a satisfying tie in for all of these characters. While it does suffer from some vague plot points and some poor action, the overall show is pretty enjoyable. If you haven’t watched the other shows yet, you can still watch this show and enjoy it but I do recommend watching the other shows first.