The latest Marvel series has hit Netflix, The Defenders combines the heroes of the four previous Netflix shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist into a proper superhero team. They have teamed up to fight against evil invading New York. It goes without saying that I was very excited for this. I enjoyed all of the previous shows and couldn’t wait to see them all together.
Marvel movies have already given us The Avengers, so we understand how the whole separate stories combine into the larger team up, and for the most part, The Defenders follows that same formula. We see the classic tropes, including the heroes fighting each other before they realize they are all on the same side. However, the show also does poke fun at it’s own mythology. Seeing the characters make fun of Danny Rand’s claim of being the Iron Fist is fun and Jessica Jones gets some great lines in, especially once costumes are involved. Tone wise it’s all very similar to the shows that came before it.
At 8 episodes long the feels both slow and rushed. It feels like it takes into the third episode before things really get moving. The first episode is a lot of setup for what happened to each character since we last saw them. Then the final episodes have to rush to cover a lot of ground in wrapping everything up.
The cast is huge. Nearly every major character who survived the individual seasons makes an appearance and it seems some of them (Trish especially) get the short straw storywise. In the early episodes, I was getting annoyed when they would cut away from one character for something that was seemingly less interesting.
Once the characters are together, the show really shines. Watching them all fight together for the first time is pure joy. As the story progresses each of the 4 contributes to the whole, even some of the secondary characters like Colleen Wing and Misty Knight become very important. One of the major improvements with The Defenders is with Iron Fist. Danny works much better in this show, especially in the action and fight scenes. I’m not sure if the production schedule allowed time for the producers to adjust after the criticisms or if they had the same problems that the audience did. Overall, I was much happier with him here.
The Defenders is a great show and just as good as any of the individual series. Each character contributes and gets a fair amount of story and screen time. It combines the best parts of each series and even works to correct some of the flaws from the prior shows as well. They have set quite a stage for Marvel’s next phase on Netflix.