The Defenders (2017) - Review
Updated: Nov 17
The Defenders unite 4 street-level heroes from New York: Matt Murdock / Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand / Iron Fist (Finn Jones). The crossover of these 4 heroes has been anticipated ever since Netflix and Marvel decided to create a set of series on some of Marvel’s marginal heroes. These heroes exist in the same universe as the Avengers. Marvel decided to apply the same strategy they used for the Avenger movies: a build-up of 4 storylines that lead to one epic team-up. This strategy made Marvel the best studio of the modern times for franchising filmmaking. Teaming up with Netflix was an insurance to make these TV series a success. Their gamble paid off: 4 series and 65 episodes later, The Defenders hit out screens at the end of the summer. However, this series is shorter that the individual series with only 8 episodes. Despite the shortness of the series, you feel that there is a narrative drag. Perhaps the story could have been told in 6 episodes instead of 8.
I have to admit; the first episodes are very slow going. Instead of assuming that the viewer is already a fan, they take a few episodes to build up their story, re-introducing every hero. I believe that this was done so that the series could stand on its own. It is a good strategy, however they could of build in a little more action into the storyline. The build-up to the meeting of all 4 heroes is well done. Despite the slow start, it makes up for it in the remainder of the series, especially with the fighting scene in the hallway and the final battle.
Hallway Fight Scene
The 4 heroes come together to fight their common enemy The Hand, which the leader is Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) with Elektra (Elodie Yung). The danger is that there is a Hallway (Hole), beneath New York City under a building owned by the Hand that contain dragon bones that give the Hand the ability to cheat death. However, the dragon bones, or what they call the Substance, is found behind an impenetrable wall that only the Iron Fist could break through. That is why the Hand is constantly following and attempting to kidnap the Iron Fist. The Hand eventually succeed in abducting the Iron Fist, and lead the 3 remaining heroes and their supporting cast to the Hand building. This is where all the build-up is for the epic fight scene that goes on in the cave, in which every hero has the opportunity to demonstrate their different abilities.
The Final Epic Battle
Sigourney Weaver (Alexandra) played her role perfectly. She was elegant, very business like, however very mysterious. The fact that she is killed by Elektra (aka Black Sky), provided an unexpected twist, and rejiggered the audience’s investment who became the major antagonist later in the series. Despite this, I would have preferred to see the return of Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) as the main villain, but adding someone of the calibre of Sigourney Weaver was a great touch nonetheless.
The Best of Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock
There is good chemistry between the different characters more noticeable between Matt (Charlie Cox) and Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) (see trailer above). The weakest character I find is the Iron Fist (Finn Jones). I do not know if his character in the books is similar to this: cold, distant, and at times awkward. Perhaps the issue with the Iron Fist series is that it was rushed or poorly edited. His performance in this series has improved along with the fight scenes.
We also need to mention that the support cast did an excellent job reprising their respective roles: Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, Scott Glenn as Stick, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple (who played in all 5 series), Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao, and Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson just to name a few. Their presence appeared to be natural and well placed.
The series does have great villains and some good fighting scenes; however, the plot was not developed in great detail. It is kept very superficial and a little more detail of everything that was happening would have been welcomed. More background information on the Hand would of made the move more interesting instead of having the Hand portrayed as a boring, clandestine group whose purpose is never really explained besides the fact they need these Dragon bones to remain immortal. This series was created in the image of its cousin counterparts (Avengers): less emphasis on the narrative and story development and more inline with the action and delivering a spectacle. In this sense, they indeed succeeded.
In my opinion, the best series of the 4 heroes is Daredevil, and I would place The Defenders in the same category. It is slow going at times, however the great fight scenes like in the Hallway, makes up for it. Casting Sigourney Weaver as the main villain and having her killed halfway through the series was definitely an enjoyable unexpected twist. Perhaps more plot development would have been welcomed, however the average fan of this type of series want to see the heroes kick some ass, and they definitely do that. This is a great series just to escape and enjoy the action.
I give this series 8/10. A great series to binge watch !!!!!
For those who did not see the previous series leading to the Defenders, I found a really cool summary of the 4 series on YouTube from ScreenCrush. Check out the video below:
Summary of Previous Series in 9 Minutes