Cameron Lee ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Spoiler Alert: This review contains spoilers for The Defenders.
The wait is over: after two and a half years of build-up, the Defenders are finally here. And for the most part, the series succeeds in bringing four unique characters together to do what they’re best at: beating up bad guys down long hallways while grappling with their own morality.
It takes almost three episodes for our heroes to come together. The first episode checks in on where each of the characters are after the end of their respective shows. Iron Fist/ Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is hunting members of the radical group called The Hand, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is released from prison and returns home to Harlem, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is investigating a mysterious disappearance, and Daredevil/ Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) has given up on being Daredevil and is focusing on his profession.
The show is clever about how our heroes run into each other; it feels organic and natural instead of forced and haphazard. Once all four do meet up, the show kicks into high gear. Daredevil and Jessica Jones have fantastic chemistry together. Jones often makes fun of Daredevil and the team as a whole, which leads to some fantastic banter between the two of them and provides some much needed humor to the whole series. Iron Fist and Luke Cage similarly have solid chemistry. Iron Fist is by far the worst character in the lineup being that his show was the equivalent of being kicked in the head repeatedly. And while Finn Jones has only slightly improved as Danny Rand, he ends up working better here as a member of the team as he doesn’t have to carry the show and is surrounded by three excellent costars. Luke Cage is so charismatic that he elevates anyone in the scene he’s in. Danny and Luke have some great moments together, starting from the first time they meet, which ends in a fun fight scene to just bonding in a warehouse.
The Hand is led by Alexandria, played by the always wonderful Sigourney Weaver. Alexandria has led The Hand for hundreds of years and wants to continue to live forever, as she is dying from old age. The show excels when she’s on screen, She’s cold, intimidating, and calculating, but is likeable and more of an adversary to our heroes then simply an evil villain. Stick (Scott Glenn) also shows up to give some pep talks to the conflicted team and continues to be a joy to watch and is still the ultimate badass he was on Daredevil. Electra (Elodie Yung) gets resurrected and gets turned into the Hand’s ultimate weapon, which causes friction between the team as Matt doesn’t tell the team about her until it’s too late. He continues to have deep feelings for her and is convinced she can be redeemed.
The action for the most part is solid; each character has a signature fighting style from each of their respective shows that gets carried over to The Defenders. Some highlights include a great hallway battle in episode three and a fight in a Chinese Restaurant in episode five. Thankfully, The Defenders is only eight episodes, which makes it an easy binge and doesn’t have nearly the amount of pacing problems that all the other Marvel Netflix shows have. There are still pacing problems, but they’re far less noticeable than in all the previous shows. Episode six is by far the best one of the season, in which major events play out that dramatically shape the final two episodes. The stakes are at their peak here and some major deaths occur that will surprise almost everyone.
In the end, The Defenders is a solid addition to the Marvel Netflix universe. It may not do anything new or special, but it’s a fun, easy watch. The whole show feels like a dinner party: there were memorable moments at the party, of course, but it’s not something that will stay with people for a long time.
Series Grade: B