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The Defenders (2017)

Josh Reviews Netflix’s The Defenders!

September 4th, 2017
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Way back in October, 2013, Marvel and Netflix announced that they would be collaborating on four TV shows — Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist — whose characters would then cross over into a combined series The Defenders.  This would be a TV version of the approach Marvel had taken so successfully with their cinematic universe, releasing individual films that then crossed over in The Avengers.   I was excited by that idea, and bowled over by the excellent, adult-in-tone, dark and gripping first seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones For those two seasons alone I am glad this Netflix Marvel venture exists.  I also quite liked Daredevil season two, though I felt its ending was somewhat anticlimactic.  Luke Cage had moments of greatness but was mostly disappointing, with a particularly dull second half of the season.  Iron Fist was by far the weakest of the series, with little characterization to speak of and a terribly miscast lead role.  And so it was with excitement but also trepidation that I approached the long-anticipated crossover series, The Defenders, here at last.

The Defenders is an enjoyable romp, and at only eight episodes in length it never over-stays its welcome, nor suffers from the way nearly all of the other 13-episode-long Marvel Netflix shows felt like they didn’t have quite enough plot to actually fill their 13-episode length.

The biggest pleasure of the show comes from seeing these characters on screen together.   Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, and Mike Colter as Luke Cage are all terrific.  I love those actors and I love those characters, and it is a hoot to get to see them bounce off of one another.  The best episode of the show is the fourth, “Royal Dragon,” the one that spends most of its time with the four main characters hanging out in a Chinese restaurant together.  I still think that Finn Jones is woefully miscast as Iron Fist, but he’s a little more tolerable here than he was in his own show.  It helps that all the other characters on the show (except for Colleen) seem to find Danny as annoying as I do!

Anyways, as I was saying, it’s a huge amount of fun to get to watch these actors and these characters play together.  The show wisely takes pains to explore their different perspectives and background, which result in their usually being at odds with one another.  This could feel fake, false drama or manufactured disagreements just to prevent the heroes from working together and thus defeating the villains too quickly or easily.  But as executed on the show, for the most part I felt … [continued]