The Defenders Season 1 Review

The Defenders Season 1 Review
Rating: TV-MA
Grade: B
Length: 8-1 Hour Episodes

Summary(No Spoilers):

Kicking off Phase 2 of Netflix’s MCU, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones join forces to form The Defenders.

Over the first few episodes independent stories bring our heroes to the same destination and conclusion; the Hand is back in New York. The evil crime organization is planning something sinister, and the entire city is in danger. Led by Alexandra(Sigourney Weaver), the Five Fingers have descended on the city, and only the combined might of our heroes could be enough to stop them.

Review(No spoilers):

What’s more exciting than a superhero story? Four superhero stories jammed into one!

Not to sell Luke and Jessica short, but The Defenders plays out as a miniature Daredevil season 3, and an Iron Fist season 2. The Hand is a featured enemy from both their previous seasons, and Jessica and Luke are more-or-less along for the ride. The two of them, Luke and Jessica, often work as audience POV characters, pointing out the absurdity of the situation’s mysticism and scope of the Hand’s influence.

Though, this dynamic does give us more screen time with Charlie Cox, who offers the best individual performance of the group. It’s clear how much he struggles to put the mask back on and continue to risk the lives of those around him.

Finn Jones’s performance is slightly better than it was in Iron Fist season 1, but he’s still outshined by every other actor on the screen. While Mike Colter continues to be as cool as they come, it’s Kristen Ritter’s performance as everyone’s favorite alcoholic detective that holds the group together. Her history with Luke, pessimistic attitude, and on-screen chemistry with Daredevil allow her character to grow and often work as the show’s comic relief.

While Madam Gao(Wai Ching Ho) has always come across wicked and ruthless, The Five Fingers of the Hand were overall disappointing and non-threatening as our main villains. While they were intentionally written to be vulnerable, it felt as though they never posed any real danger to our heroes or the supporting cast. Sigourney Weaver may be a terrific actress, but her role as the leader felt like an empty shell without giving her and The Hand abilities to put them on par with our heroes.

Most of everyone’s supporting cast is back; but Claire Temple(Rosario Dawson), Colleen Wing(Jessica Henwick) and Misty Knight(Simmone Missick) get the most screen time and are most involved in the plot. While they’re probably the three strongest supporting characters in the Netflix MCU, the way they’ve written themselves an opening for a “Daughters of the Dragon” series is exciting.

Overall the series is solid. The eight episode format works well as they’re able to focus on a single storyline with minimal set-up episodes. With an infinite number of goons to punch, the action scenes continue to be some of the strongest you’ll see outside of the big screen. Every building block is firmly in place and it’ll be interesting to see the direction they take the Netflix MCU over the next few years.

A stand-alone Punisher series is expected in November, 2017.

Final Thoughts:

  • I think it’s weird how they present Jessica’s alcoholism;  a quirk, something to laugh at, and not a life problem she needs to deal with.
  • I’m so sick of loud whisper talking, and Finn Jones does it all the time.
  • Luke Cage feels a bit like a cheat code. For future team-ups they need to do something to make him vulnerable.
  • If they wanted to give the series more stakes, don’t announce upcoming projects. I’m more likely to fear for a character’s life if I don’t know they have another season of their own show coming out next year
  • I’m curious how they’ll address the “Why don’t I just call the rest of the Defenders” fallacy when our characters are in trouble in their own series.

Stay Classy,

Andrew Knauff

Andy Knauff