With only 8 episodes, I was able to make it through The Defenders over the weekend, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s not perfect, and does run into some of the same problems as the previous Netflix shows. Despite that, there are plenty of really enjoyable bits.
The basics behind The Defenders
The Defenders brings together all the principal players from the Netflix Marvel shows to take on the Hand once and for all. But it takes some time to do so, starting out by giving us a glimpse of where each character is at the start. Matt (Daredevil) is trying to live a non-super life, doing pro bono work. Jessica Jones is avoiding work altogether despite Marcus and Trish trying to get her back in the game. They are unsuccessful until she gets a strange call after turning down what she thinks is a typical cheating husband job. Luke Cage is sprung from prison legally, thanks in part to Foggy Nelson. Danny Rand is hunting the Hand across the globe, but is told they are up to shenanigans in New York. This sets all our heroes on the path to their first meetings.
We’ve been waiting forever to see some of these characters meet, and for the most part, it’s great fun. Finally, there are people who roll their eyes at all of Danny’s “I’ve got to focus my chi, brah” antics. Jessica’s double-takes every time Matt is in costume are worth it, too. The action is a lot better than in Iron Fist. Sigourney Weaver is a boss. Claire is so good it hurts. The combat, for the most part, works and showcases the different fighting styles.
There’s a bit of shoehorning as far as “let’s have these characters meet to set up the future”. There’s a severe lack of ninjas thanks to the updated origin of the Hand. (vague spoiler) They sort of repeat the surprise villain death that happened in Luke Cage (end vague spoiler). While I love the interplay between all the characters, they sit and talk just a hair too much. While the fight scenes are better in general, they are poorly lit.
I won’t spoil things, but there’s a pretty huge Daredevil-related cliffhanger, and the show leaves the rest of the Defenders in a much different place. I feel like we got a worthy finish to what was started way back in Daredevil’s first season, and hopefully the forthcoming seasons can build on it in an interesting way. If you’d like to know more about what may be coming, try these books: