“Marvel’s The Defenders,” Netflix’s newest original series could be one of its biggest hits this year.
The four Marvel series, Daredevil season 2, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, lead to the latest binge-watching series. These series were the most-viewed Netflix originals in terms of the first 30 days of release.
The Defenders maintains the essence of each character, faithful to the original shows’ looks. In this series, you will see the misanthropic Jones, the blind vigilante Matt Murdock, the bulletproof Luke Cage and the martial artist Danny Rand fight a common enemy, The Hand.
The Good And The Bad
The Defenders is very well put together but comes with some costs. One is the need to give everyone equal screen time, and the exposition required to make sense of their getting together means less of the things we come to comic-book stories for. For just 8 episodes, there’s a lot of getting-to-know and not a lot of action or emotion. The team doesn’t truly come together until halfway through the season, which doesn’t leave as much time as you’d like for villain-bashing and heart-tugging sacrifice.
Another problem, especially for the comic fanbase, is the choice of the main antagonist. The producers have chosen the shadowy ninja syndicate called the Hand as the enemy that unites the Defenders. Because of the histories of the various Marvel comics from which the show is drawn, this results in the story flowing primarily through Iron Fist, the least interesting and least popular of the Netflix-Marvel characters.
Do not get me wrong, the series is still worth watching. It would just help if the series had a better villain as the best Marvel-Netflix seasons have benefited from larger-than-life bad guys: Vincent D’Onofrio’s raging Kingpin in Season One of Daredevil and especially David Tennant’s icy psycho, Kilgrave, in Jessica Jones.
Visually, the series exceeds the already high standard of the shows that preceded it. The cinematography is heightened by a four-pronged color scheme with a shade assigned to each character — red for Daredevil, blue for Jessica Jones, gold for Luke Cage and olive green for Iron Fist.
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The Defenders is not a perfect series but it’ll give you the same kind of thrill as when you first saw the Avengers grouped together in that hero shot. Except it feels a lot more personal and that is something worth waiting four years for.
What Can We Expect From Phase 2
The Defenders ends with a series of closing scenes, and the most amusing one of all is when Luke Cage drops in to remind Jessica Jones that she has friends — one of whom is in Harlem. This scene can really feel the heaviness of two heroes’ romantic history. In the comics, Luke and Jessica are a power couple were they even married and had a kid. But on Netflix’s series, Luke is in a serious relationship with Claire Temple so there is a possibility of a complicated relationship in the future.
Matt Murdock’s closest friends believe him to be dead. The final scene shows Matt waking up in what appears to be a Church hospital, cared for by a nun. We hear one whisper an instruction: “Get Maggie. Tell her he’s awake.”
The scene’s a deliberate homage to one of the most-loved Daredevil arcs of all time: Frank Miller’s ‘Born Again.’ We’d already seen hints that Daredevil Season 3 would explore this arc, with the surprise return of Kingpin. It’s clear the Netflix show will heavily adapt it, as both Karen Page and Foggy are in very different places.
The first season of Iron Fist wasn’t exactly critically-acclaimed, but The Defenders serves as a we-will-make-up-to-you to the series. The series ends with Daredevil giving Danny Rand a mission: “Protect my city.” It’s clearly a charge that the Immortal Iron Fist will take seriously; he finally admits that New York is feeling like home, and we get a final scene with him stalking the skyline of Hell’s Kitchen accepting his mission.
Get ready, phase 2 is set to kick off with The Punisher in November.