Marvel’s The Defenders: A Netflix Original Series
Warning spoilers ahead…
When is less, more? When you go from 13 episodes to 8 just as Marvel’s The Defenders did as it debuted on August 18th on Netflix. Much like The Avengers was a co of all the solo cinematic films that brought our heroes together, The Defenders does the same on a smaller scale. Make no mistake however; when we finally see Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones) stand together, their impact is just as effective.
Like any good chess match, the opening moves sets up the bigger picture, that being the attack and capturing of the king. The first couple of episodes of The Defenders work in the same way. The pacing is slow yet deliberate. If you stick with it, the payoff is well worth it. Here all four of our heroes are brought together to face down a common threat to their city. This threat is called The Hand and its leader is Alexandra played wonderfully by screen legend Sigourney Weaver.
Now, as far as this mini-series is concerned it has the feel of Iron Fist 1.5 as the central story revolves around Danny Rand and his mystical abilities. Continuing where the first season of Iron Fist left off, we learn but about the ancient, ninja-like order of the Hand as there are five of them with a singular goal of eternal life and control of the world. The biggest threat isn’t Weaver or any of the other members of The Hand but the resurrected assassin Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung). She is a one woman wrecking machine. Her appearance compromises Matt, as he wants to save her from herself while keeping the others from trying to kill her. This leads to some of the very best choreographed fight sequences you will ever see.
Along the way, many familiar faces from the other series appear including Karen Page and Foggy Nelson (Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson from Daredevil), Trish Walker and Malcolm Ducasse (Rachael Taylor and Eka Darville from Jessica Jones), Misty Knight (Simone Missick from Luke Cage), Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick from Iron Fist) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) who is essentially the linchpin that bridges each Netflix Marvel series. It’s the female supporting characters in particular that add a little extra to the moral compass the heroes must face. I especially like Colleen and Misty.
Every little thing fans were hoping to see when they all appear together does come fruition. The banter between Jessica and Murdock is as solid as you would expect. Seeing Luke and Danny come to blows and later seem to have a moment of admiration as Danny hints at without saying the words, of he and Luke teaming up echoing the “Heroes for Hire” we know from the comics. Nice touch by the writers. The producers make the assumption and understandably so, that its viewers have seen all the series that has led to this. If you haven’t, you may end up being slightly lost at times in the narrative.
Overall, Marvel’s The Defenders is a solid entry in what has become a very good addition to the Marvel Universe.
“Marvel’s The Defenders” is streaming now on Netflix. ***1/2
May the Dork be with you,
The Dork Knight