So I expected at least a couple tons of quality after the excellent Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Didn’t-Finish-Because-I-Lost-Interest-Iron Fist seasons. Netflix and Marvel gave these characters and their version of New York City a level of care that is rare for most any TV series out there. Despite the similarities between them, each series has a distinct feel to it. I was honestly skeptical when it was announced that these 4 incredibly diverse characters would somehow be forced into unification for 1 season.
So is The Defenders worth the buildup? It really depends on what you were expecting from the show.
There’s no doubt that Iron Fist’s storyline adds cheese-encrusted cheese to the The Defenders, but there isn’t really any option but to either fully embrace it or laugh at it as if it were some dare[devil]ing pun. The series decides that a mix of both is appropriate and I think the choice pays off explosively.
Jessica’s snarky quips about all the mystical elements in the show are hilarious and right in line with what you’d expect from her. The Defenders is able to keep sight of the gravity of the plot while still not taking itself too seriously. That being said, the supernatural influence in The Defenders is pretty heavy handed. As a sucker for all things fantasy, I ate it up like so many unclaimed carbs.
Did it work? Absolutely.
I don’t eat junk food.
Good Chemistry or a Bad Math Equation?
Our 4 leads play off and against each other like I hoped they would. Teamwork is an unseemly trek through the mud, and these characters prove that. My favorite interactions are the ones that frequently take place between Jessica and Matt. Murdock sets himself up for some great lines from Jessica; they’re exactly what you’d expect from her character. It isn’t like he doesn’t hit back with his own wit either, he definitely does and it’s glorious.
The whole “dysfunctional team” trope is handled with oozing style. It makes sense, due to the differing motivations and personalities they each have. Luke isn’t going to trust some blind lawyer who decides he needs to cover his face when the other teammates have theirs exposed. Jessica is going to prefer a drink to saving the world. And Iron Fist is the idealist who thinks a team of heroes is something the group can be.
He’s gotten a lot of hate from audiences, but I’d say Danny is actually quite likable in The Defenders and earns his spot on the team, even if he’s not pragmatic like the rest.
An Issue of Character
All the main characters have their own shortcomings and struggles that they bring along with them. This isn’t some idealistic “justice league” of super buddies where everyone loves each other through the power of friendship and pretty sunflowers. The protagonists don’t even like each other all that much, if at all.
Most of the supporting cast from each show make an appearance in The Defenders, even if their screen time isn’t remotely equal. It’s great to see the new dynamics sprout up due to the insane crossover that happens. It’s nice to know where characters like Foggy are in their lives and how they contribute to the overarching drama.
The villains are intense, although the show still suffers from the common “this group of expendable enemies gets knocked down like nothing because they’re not the boss” concept. There are some truly insane characters in this show and they all fit right into the world.
Should You Defend Against Watching The Defenders?
Watch the series. It may not be your glass of whiskey, but you’re sure to find plenty of entertainment from just the characters alone, even if you haven’t watched all the other shows. The cinematography is on point, music hits the right chord, and few moments go to waste in this exceptional series.
9.5 fingers out of 10