Written by James Reilly – Student Pages Entertainment Journalist/Film Critic
If you’ve been watching the previous Marvel Netflix shows then you know the natural culmination of the previous seasons (Daredevil: S1, S2, Jessica Jones: S1, Luke Cage: S1 and Iron Fist: S1) would be the inevitable team up of all the main heroes to take down a threat that would mean chaos and destruction for New York City. Well this finally arrives in the form of The Defenders: S1, a show that fans have been waiting for since the start of the Marvel Netflix journey. The question is, was it worth the wait and the hype?
In a lot of ways yes, the show is worth the hype (in parts). Its hard for me to review something so heavy in spoilers so I am going to do my best to assume you have some knowledge on the Marvel Netflix shows, without trying to go into any spoilers on the shows themselves.
The best parts as you might expect, after watching the previous shows, are Jessica Jones and Daredevil. Luke Cage is a close third, but trailing quite far in fourth and last place is Iron Fist. I’ll get this out the way early – Iron Fist the show sucked. The character? The weakest. Here? Yeah, still the weakest. However it seems the show feels that way too as compared to the rest of The Defenders his screen time is fairly limited, and while he is integral to the plot the character cannot ruin the show like it ruined his stand-alone. That’s not to say he is a terrible, it’s just that this show demonstrates he works much better as a supporting character rather than the lead in his own show.
The chemistry between the heroes is the main driving force here. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage’s relationship (touched upon in Jessica Jones: S1) is obviously developed, as well as introducing new character dynamics between Daredevil, Iron Fist and the rest of the cast. The particular highlight is anytime Jessica Jones and Matt Murdoch aka Daredevil share any screen time together, as their chemistry is easily the most dynamic and intriguing.
The plot itself is sadly by the book, paint by numbers – but that’s not really why we truthfully came. The show demonstrates that when you have strong characters the plot can come secondary if they character development is top class – and while here its not top class, its still pretty good. Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra, the main antagonist of the show is a very welcome addition to the cast. She definitely elevates a rather ordinary villain to something higher just with her presence alone. The plot is pretty simple though however, and to the more hardcore fans of the Netflix shows, could seem rather complicated. If you watched every Netflix Marvel show back to back, and I can’t say I have done this, would The Hand’s plot here make sense? Perhaps, but does it feel that this is what The Hand has been building up to? We know that the goal was to get the heroes together, but in terms of a villain build up I don’t think as much care has gone into it. I do feel Iron Fist was the late game play in terms of having a show directly lead in and try to build up to Defenders, but as no one I know has been able to finish that pile of unwatchable messes, I feel they hit the mark too late in terms of developed villains.
That being said there is still a lot to love here. The heroes, the namesake of the show – do deliver. The action, while not as good as Daredevil S1 is the strongest we’ve seen since then. Its fast, quick and very brutal.
If you are a fan of the previous shows, I’m sure you’ll be treated to much more of the same. The characters too rightly steal the show and manage to elevate a pretty ordinary plot, to something quite entertaining. I hope that if we do manage, and we will, to get Defenders S2, I hope it manages to build on the foundations we have here.
Follow James at @JamesisGinger