Review: The Defenders are heroes worth binge watching

Many fans have been anticipating the meeting between our Netflix Marvel heroes in next month’s The Defenders, and rightfully so. If you loved the characters individually in their own series (even if there was one you were meh about), you’ll love the team together when they actually meet. We were lucky enough to view the first four episodes, and here’s what we thought.

The series starts off very slow as we see what has happened to each of them since their series finished –  Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is fresh out of jail and mentoring the neighborhood kids; Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is still doing her P.I. work and takes a case to find her client’s missing husband; Matt Murdock aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox) has retired from crime-fighting and practicing law; Danny Rand aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones) along with Colleen (Jessica Henwick) are looking for the Hand.

Strange things are happening in New York City, which all of them live in, and they end up meeting randomly trying to stop the same thing. But just who are they trying to stop? This is where Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandria comes into play. Like all the other villains in the previous Netflix stories (sans Iron Fist), Alexandria has a deep backstory that allows you to understand and possibly even empathize with her situation. She is more than just someone with an evil plot. Weaver commands every scene she is in and proves herself to be even more dangerous than the previous baddies, including the fierce Kilgrave (David Tennant) and menacing Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio).

The only characters who seem to have a flowing storyline are Jessica, who is actively searching for clues to find her client’s husband, and Luke, who is trying to connect with the neighborhood kids to help them avoid trouble. Matt seems to not have any direction in the show, as he is having an internal struggle with himself to return to the vigilante justice. That and finding out that Elektra (Elodie Yung), one of the many women he loved, is still alive-ish.

As for Danny, there are still many moments where you eye-roll over Rand’s entitlement on being Iron Fist and his “qi”, but the series does poke fun at it with the other three mocking him for it. Even Stick (Scott Glenn) adds to the mocking by calling the Iron Fist a “thundering dumbass.” There is even a scene where Luke tells Danny to check his privilege. So you do feel a bit better about Iron Fist being the butt of jokes.

The best scenes are when the team is together fighting. There is a hint of Luke and Danny’s budding friendship, like in the comics, as they tag team against their enemies. Matt and Jessica have their own non-romantic banter as she figures out his true identity, the Devil in Hell’s Kitchen.

Between the four, there are plenty of action scenes that are well-coordinated, including giving Iron Fist fewer cuts for his fight scenes. Please note, the fight scenes are scattered throughout the series. There is a one-shot fight scene as we’ve seen in Daredevil, and it’s pretty awesome. When they are all together thought, you do cheer!

Unfortunately, if you were looking forward to seeing side characters like Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss), Misty Knight (Simone Missick), Trish (Rachael Taylor), Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), prepare to be disappointed. Their roles are minor in the series, as the focus will be on the major four characters and the villains. Claire does bring together some of our heroes, but doesn’t stay very long to be part of the action. Things may change when we see the rest of the series, as this was only the first four episodes.

The series does a great job establishing each character’s individual scenes by adding their color scheme, including with the opening credits. When dealing with Murdock’s storyline, red is the defining color in the scene. Cage is surrounded by spots of yellow, including some of the characters he interacts with. Jessica Jones has this blue-ish/purple tint in her scenes, and Rand is shown with spots of green. These color schemes allow the audience to know whose storylines are being followed, which was the intention from showrunner Marco Ramirez. When the four are together, the colors all fade in with each other.

Even though The Defenders is slow to start, it is quite satisfying when they’re finally a team. The banter and the fighting styles of each character just meshed so well with each other. With only eight episodes it may feel a bit scattered, but it doesn’t take away from the entertainment value. Ramirez gives each character their due and it’s a great watch.

Marvel’s The Defenders launches on August 18th, 2017 on Netflix.

Marvel’s The Defenders Official Synopsis:

Marvel’s The Defenders follows Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). A quartet of singular heroes with one common goal – to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.

Blind ninja. Smart-ass detective. Bulletproof ex-con. Kung Fu billionaire. Marvel’s The Defenders centers on four outsider heroes that have to put aside their personal issues and come together when a villainous sect threatens to destroy New York City as we know it. The Netflix original series launches globally on August 18, 2017.

 

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1719 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul