Starring: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Elodie Yung, Jessica Henwick, Rosario Dawson, Elden Henson, Rachael Taylor, Simone Missick, Scott Glenn, Eka Darville, Carrie Anne Moss, Deborah Ann Woll
Plot: Daredevil (Cox), Jessica Jones (Ritter), Luke Cage (Colter), and Iron Fist (Jones) come together to fight The Hand, and their leader (Weaver) who seek to destroy major cities, but also seek immortality for themselves.
So Let’s Talk About It: I’m only reviewing the first four episodes right now. Just to get the word out about whether or not The Defenders is worth your time. It’s definitely an uneven show that probably didn’t really need eight episodes. The first two episodes move so slowly that I’m convinced they could have been condensed into one episode, and at least we’d only have seven. Episodes 3 and 4 are a lot more interesting and stuff actually starts happening, and getting revealed. For me, their best show was Jessica Jones, which was interesting from the first episode. I didn’t have to will myself to watch more episodes. I was hooked. Daredevil is a bit more like The Defenders (the first season of Daredevil anyway), where it starts slowly and builds. As of the fourth episode, the majority of the side characters remain almost like easter eggs. Colleen (Henwick) has had the most screentime, but hasn’t really contributed anything. The rest of the characters mostly served as catalysts for plot points. Henson’s Foggy has popped up twice. Once was important, once wasn’t. Claire (Dawson) has served as a bit of a catalyst for bringing Luke and Danny together.They’re basically wasted. Not wasted, however, is Sigourney Weaver, who is incredible as the villain. She’s almost David Tennant good. There’s a scene where she shows she’s not just smart, but can handle herself too, and I was impressed. It seemed like she does more of her own stunts than Finn Jones dows. About Finn Jones…
Here’s my problem with The Defenders. I’ll admit. I haven’t watched any of Iron Fist. This is my first encounter with Jones. To me, he seems like a Diet version of Stephen Amell (Arrow). He even looks like him a little. He acts like him. Even the tone in his voice is similar to Amell. This is problematic, because their characters are almost identical, except for that whole added Chi thing. Iron Fist’s story is that his parents died in a plane crash, and he was orphaned, and lived with monks and learned how to embrace his chi and become Iron Fist. He’s super rich, and returns to his super rich empire that his parents built. Arrow’s story is close. Father died in a plane crash which he survived, leaving him marooned on an island, where he eventually had to train and learn how to be the bad ass Green Arrow. Then he returns to the super rich company that his Father built.
Also, welcome back the plot of Nolan’s Batman Begins. Shady Organization looks to topple a major metropolitan city. Instead of Gotham this time, it’s New York City. We all know Gotham is really just a stand in for NYC anyway.
And furthermore, as the previous stand along series have gently mentioned in the past, they do live in the same world as The Avengers. Who have a tower in NYC. Spider-Man is based in NYC. I can’t get past the fact that a giant earthquake happened, there’s this major shady organization, and neither Stark or Parker have stumbled onto this? And i know that they’re trying to hide The Punisher and pretend that he’s not relevant to this story, but what are these heroes doing? Honestly, it would have been better for these Defenders to have needed to travel somewhere else, because when NYC gets attacked, I keep thinking about it as this hub for Superheroes. Why attack NYC? There are far too many superheroes based in NYC.
So I have mixed feelings about the first half of The Defenders. I couldn’t make it through all eight in one setting, mainly because I felt physically drained after the first two. Three and Four brought some life back into me, so now I’m at a neutral position again. I have a feeling 5-8 will continue to increase the action-to-boredom ratio, and by the time we finish it will just be one long extended action sequence.
So if you’re thinking of watching The Defenders, I’d caution you that the first episode is going to be very rough. However, I will confirm that it fortunately doesn’t set the tone for the entire series. By episode 4, we’re working at a much faster pace. Honestly, if you’ve seen the TV shows, you could probably skip Episode 1 entirely and be fine. It’s one giant hour of exposition.
FINAL GRADE: B-