Details: Released in 2017. Eight episodes at around an hour each. Aired on Netflix.
The Defenders is the culmination of all the Marvel, comic book, superhero shows that have been airing on Netflix over the last couple of years. It takes the characters from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist and smashes them all into one big crossover event of a show. Despite the anticipation and hype that the show was trying to build up, The Defenders is just okay.
The Defenders picks up where the first season of Iron Fist left off, as well as the where the last season of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil left off. The Hand, an ancient criminal organization has evil plans that will destroy New York City and it’s up to these four heroes to save the city.
Unlike the other Netflix comic book shows, there are only eight episodes here and you’d think that would mean a bigger budget for special effects and action scene choreography. What we get is a show that is a bit of a mess. The main attraction of the other shows individually is that they each offered a different tone than the other shows. The Defenders tries to mash up all of these tones into one package and the show just ends up being indecisive and broke my immersion into the story pretty often.
One problem with the show are the action scenes. You can tell that they weren’t really sure how to choreograph an action scene where there are such different abilities working together at the same time. Fights with Daredevil and Iron Fist make sense to a degree since they are both martial artists, but that then falls apart because Iron Fist essentially has bombs for fists and could win most fights just by using his Iron Fist powers. Instead, they make Iron Fist hold back his powers and they keep drugging him so as to make fights convenient. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones both have super strength and should be able to absolutely destroy everyone they fight, but they keep having inconsistent scenes where in one scene, they are immune to punches and in other scenes they seem to be getting hurt by normal punches. Luke Cage is bullet proof and should be able to handle all blows and sharp edges, but he keeps getting hurt from normal punches near in the last few episodes. Daredevil also takes blows from someone who is powerful enough to hurt Luke Cage, but seems to shrug them off as if they were normal blows. It’s all just really inconsistent.
The special effects were surprisingly bad, which is surprising considering how much money Netflix likes to throw at its shows.
Acting was fine, but you can tell that the cast is doing the best they can with just a really out there story. These are characters from very different kinds of stories and to have them in scenes where they share dialogue is really odd and The Defenders didn’t do a great job meshing them together in my opinion.
Overall, I found the show to be mostly enjoyable, but a mess in terms of its story and direction. I feel like a lot of the narrative seeds planted in earlier seasons of shows like Daredevil were ignored or rewritten and made more convenient in order to support this show, and they didn’t even do a good job at that. At the end of the day, The Defenders just felt like a show that did not have the necessary budget to execute the lofty ideas that this shows seemingly tries to achieve. If you’re a fan of Netflix, superhero shows, then you’re going to watch this regardless of whether its good or bad. If you’re not and debating whether to watch this or not, I’d say you can skip it. It’s not essential viewing.