The Defenders – Overall Review

Defenders

It’s time to have a look at how The Defenders faired overall as a story. Over 8 episodes it managed to tell the story of four heroes finding, befriending and fighting alongside each other really well, sadly the foe they united to face remained pretty bland and uninspired. Still, can’t deny how fun the series was to watch, the interplay between everyone was great, and the lead foursome all had their stories moves forward, setting their next series’ up well. Let’s take a closer look, regardless!

Synopsis:

Danny Rand and Colleen Wing try to save a man in Cambodia, but they are unsuccessful and the man is murdered by a mysterious assassin. The dying man tells Danny and Colleen that the real war is in New York City. Back in New York, Jessica Jones is trying to avoid her newfound popularity, Luke Cage returns to the city after finishing his prison sentence, and Matt Murdock resumes his legal career while trying to put his vigilante activity behind him…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

Defenders 1

“Okay, so now there are TWO blind fighters? …. Whatever.”

Matt Murdock / Daredevil (Charlie Cox) – The former Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is now just a lawyer again, and doing well for himself… apart from when he’s alone in his apartment and can hear the outcries of the innocent…

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) – The former Private Investigator, or at least that what she’s been trying to tell herself, has been pretty much in hiding since her victory over Kilgrave. The idea of being a hero doesn’t appeal to her, but she may not have a choice any more…

Luke Cage (Mike Colter) – After finally serving an admittedly unjust prison sentence that had been hanging over his head, Luke Cage is ready to resume his life in Harlem… and that includes helping out the neighbourhood any way possible…

Danny Rand / Iron Fist (Finn Jones) – Danny has been on a warpath since his realisation that he had abandoned his post as the Iron Fist and let the people who raised him die. With Colleen by his side he has tried to fight the Hand all over the world, not knowing that the Hand was actually now closer to home…

Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver) – The head of The Hand, Alexandra has existed for a very, very long time, but now she faces the realisation that she is finally on her last legs. As a parting gift to the world she wants nothing more than to return the island of New York to its peaceful forest ways, she just needs to get rid of all those annoying buildings and people first…

Elektra (Élodie Yung) – Former ally of Daredevil, Elektra was killed in their previous encounter with The Hand. Sadly for her, she has been resurrected as a blindly loyal servant of The Hand itself, and is currently unable to even remember her past life…

Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) – Claire is a former nurse who has ended up helping injured vigilantes like Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, as well as having met Jessica Jones. She is trying to lead a somewhat normal life with Luke as he returns from prison, but she knows it’s just a matter of time before people start getting hurt again…

Stick (Scott Glenn) – A member of The Chaste, a group of people who oppose The Hand and all they do, as well as the man who trained Daredevil. He’s back in New York and well aware of what Alexandra is trying to do…

Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) – Danny’s ally and someone who can handle themselves with a sword. Colleen is following the Iron Fist’s plan to take down The Hand, having a bad experience with them herself, but unlike Mr. Rand she sees safety in numbers…

Misty Knight (Simone Missick) – A friend of Luke Cage and Claire Template and a member of a citywide police taskforce.

Bakuto (Ramón Rodriquez) – One of the Five Fingers of the Hand and the man who mentored Colleen for many years. He wishes to have his old student by his side, or kill her trying…

Gao (Wai Ching Ho) – One of the Five Fingers of the Hand who is more reserved than a lot of her fellow “fingers”. That being said, when it comes to regaining her immortality or not, she is willing to put herself on the front lines…

Murakami (Yutaka Takeuchi) – One of the Five Fingers of the Hand, Murakami speaks only in Japanese, even to his fellow “fingers”. He wishes to regain his immortality, but is more than willing to risk his life in a fight.

Plus many, many more!

The Good:

Defenders 4

Is she good though? That’s the question!

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the lead foursome were great, even Danny Rand / Iron Fist was more interesting and had a lot better lines than his debut series. Daredevil was still the standout, at least from a story arc perspective, with him going from trying to resist the urge to fight crime, then him donning the suit again after finding out Elektra was still alive, and then a big ending with him seemingly dying alongside his once lost love, only to wake up in a nunnery in direct reference of “Born Again”. Great stuff.

Luke Cage continued to be the big softy and played it well, and Jessica Jones once again killed it as the sarcastic detective who would rather be anywhere else than saving New York. The four of them, combined with Stick’s bluntness, gave rise to some properly great scenes. The fight scene in the office building in Episode 4, the meeting in the Chinese restaurant in Episode 5, the “will they, won’t they” stuff with Iron Fist being kept out of the Hand’s … hand, and then the big final fight at the end of the series. Plenty of great moments, both funny and serious.

Unlike The Avengers (which admittedly had a lot shorter run time!) the side characters of all four shows also made appearances, and even interacted a few times with people from other shows. It helped the feeling that four worlds were colliding, rather than just four people. Colleen Wing, the only good character to come from Iron Fist, was once again entertaining, and Misty Knight was on form as the police woman in over her head (and she lost her arm at the end, finally getting closer to her comic equivalent). Claire was also the pleasant gel that kept most of them together, which is good given she appeared in all four series leading up to this.

Foggy and Karen, although didn’t have physical roles obviously, also helped, especially to sell the ending of Daredevil / Matt’s apparent death.

Although the villains as a whole were weak, I will mention that it was great to see Gao again, and to see her properly fight at last. Murakami, while clearly just there to die in some cool fashion at the end of the series, was at least entertaining as well.

The Bad:

Defenders 3

“You remind me of me, when I fought aliens in space…”  “Erm… Sure.”

A frequent problem with MCU properties is villains. There have been some good ones, some great ones (Loki, Kingpin, Kilgrave) but most of the time they’re pretty dull and one note. Sadly Alexandra fell into the latter. She was immortal, and now she isn’t so she wants to regain the ability at any cost. Fair enough I guess, but it didn’t make it very entertaining, not to mention she was killed by Elektra at the end of Episode 6 and so never even got a big fight or showdown. Elektra taking over was okay, but you could never take her seriously as the lead threat because you knew it would come down to Daredevil and her fighting to see if she can be brought back round.

Bakuto returned from Iron Fist, and was just as cheesy and one note as he was in that. At least he’s finally dead for good. Although as mentioned he got far better by the end of the series, Iron Fist / Danny Rand was still pretty unlikable at the start. At least his character arc ended up lightening him up a bit and making him less single-minded.

The lighting in Episode 7’s big fight in the garage was too dark, I couldn’t see what was going for a good chunk of it. Actually on that note, there wasn’t any real standout fight sequence like their has been in Daredevil before, which is a shame…

Overall Thoughts:

Defenders 2

The big fight in the office corridor was the closest the series came to a memorable fight scene.

The Defenders had a simple goal: unite Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist together after each had a single series (though Daredevil ended up with two!) and in that sense it completed its task admirably. The four played off each other really well, which made all eight episodes worth watching just for that. Some good fight scenes, though nothing on the level of some of the Daredevil stuff, and sadly some weak villains take it down a peg, but overall I really enjoyed myself.

4 Star Watch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s