Netflix’s and MARVEL’s “The Defenders” was highly anticipated as it marked the culmination of all the efforts that they started with the very first season of “Daredevil”. In a way, you could say that “The Defenders” is almost like the first “Avengers” movie, as it brought all four Defenders together. There were also a lot of high hopes riding on this, especially as “Iron Fist” wasn’t as well received as MARVEL and Netflix had hoped. However, in the end, they were able to come up with eight episodes that was able to balance a good story, good action sequences, and that didn’t seem too overstuffed with characters. (Also, yes, I know that it’s been over a month since it was first released, but hey, better late than never!)
Before I say anything else, I have to confess that I actually did not watch “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” before watching “The Defenders”, and to be honest, if those shows aren’t your cup of tea, just read the recaps, or the season finale recaps, and you’ll be good to go.
I really liked how they took their time in re-introducing the characters and showing where they currently are at that point in time, and how they took their time in getting the four together and allowing them to figure out their dynamics with each other. This, I think, was important, because without that, then it would be hard to see them actually working together as a team.
It also managed to have character arcs for each Defender, which were also tied into the main season long over arching plot.
I think that I am at an advantage for not having watched “Iron Fist”, as I’m not too biased against Finn Jones. In fact, I thought that he did well in this series. I think it also helped that he was always paired up with Mike Colter’s Luke Cage, and their dynamic together worked really well to the point that I would actually watch an Iron Fist – Luke Cage show if they do make one.
Colter did a great job as Luke Cage, and made me like his character a lot. However, I still won’t watch “Luke Cage”, as that series really isn’t my cup of tea.
As usual, Charlie Cox and Krysten Ritter were at the top of their game as Matt Murdock/Daredevil and Jessica Jones, respectively, but I feel that among the four Defenders, Daredevil is still the strongest character among them.
Sigourney Weaver was nothing short of amazing as the season’s main antagonist-Alexandra.
The story was well-paced, and it wasn’t too draggy as they could have fallen into that trap while taking their time to really flesh out this fledgling team of street level heroes.
There were also some great character moments in the series, and there were some great fight scenes in it as well.
In the end, I loved “The Defenders”, and it is, by far, the easiest and fastest binge-watch I have ever done. It kept me at the edge of my seat, and I honestly cannot wait for the second season of “The Defenders”, and to see where these four characters go next based on the particular realizations they each had at the end of the season.
Before moving on, you know the drill, there will be spoilers beyond this point!
One of the things that I really liked that I mentioned earlier was how each main character was introduced and how each Defender was paired with another before all of them met each other. This also allowed viewers to catch up a little bit with what was happening with each character, and to see their dynamic with at least one other member of the team, before chaos broke loose.
I particularly like the way that they paired Luke Cage with Danny Rand, and Matt Murdock with Jessica Jones.
As a team, I like how they worked together. Luke and Jessica were both skeptical and really didn’t want to get involved at first, while Matt immediately got turned off after Stick (Scott Glenn) appeared. In fact, it was only Danny who was eager to fight The Hand, as that is his purpose as the Iron Fist.
Interestingly enough, Matt and Elektra (Elodie Yung) were also raised to fight The Hand. However, Elektra died and was resurrected as the Black Sky, while Matt has an estranged father relationship with Stick and would rather save innocents then fight Stick’s ninja war for him. So, in that respect, Matt does have something in connection with Danny, but he’d rather not.
I also like how each Defender, and even the secondary characters, had their own particular story arcs throughout the season.
Claire Temple went from being on the sidelines to being in the thick of the action; Misty Knight struggled as to whether or not she should help the Defenders; and Colleen had to find closure after breaking away from The Hand.
Luke’s story arc dealt with him finding a purpose in life after his stint in prison. In the end, after getting entangled in everything, he realizes that his purpose is to be the defender that Harlem needs, and is a role model to troubled youths in his neighborhood.
Danny had to get over his guilt of not being able to save and defend K’un-Lun when they needed him most. In the end, he realized that even without K’un-Lun, there is another city that he can protect and defend- New York City.
Jessica, who was still not over what had just happened with Killgrave/the Purple Man (David Tennant), managed to gradually open herself up to others and accept the fact that she can use her powers to be the hero she is meant to be. Aside from the fact that her interactions with Luke and Matt open possibilities for her to crossover on their shows and vice versa, I like the fact that she decided to put Alias Investigations back in business.
Matt, among all the Defenders, had the most personal story arc, and whose stakes were pretty high the entire season.
First off, Matt was struggling against his nature to help people as Daredevil, and in the end, he realized that being Daredevil was really just a part of who he is, and is something that he cannot push away. Then there was his struggle to fight Stick’s war against the Hand, something that he had been struggling against ever since; and finally, there’s the reappearance of Elektra. Her resurrection and her being one of the antagonists as well meant that Matt had to decide whether or not to kill her or not. Matt being Matt, he decided to try and see if h e could turn Elektra back to the light, and ended up getting buried with her after they collapsed Midland Circle, the Hand’s headquarters.
However, I do think that Elektra, whose struggle to reclaim her old self was a sight to behold as well, did manage to drag Matt from under the rubble to that convent we see in the post-credits scene, which I do honestly think is a big hint that they might do the iconic “Born Again” storyline for “Daredevil” Season 3.
However, to be honest, when they all came through the precinct door and hugged their loved ones, I cried, and cried even harder when I saw it was Danny who was sitting on the rooftop and not Matt.
That post-credits scene, though, made me breathe a welcome sigh of relief.
As I said earlier, Sigourney Weaver was excellent as Alexandra, and I am very glad that the whole Hand arc has been wrapped up, so we can hopefully get more Kingpin/Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) in either “The Defenders” Season 2 and “Daredevil” Season 3.
The Five Fingers were quite menacing, and yes, they were formidable enough that only the four of them could take them down.
However, that’s not all that Netflix and MARVEL had in store for us as they also dropped a trailer to “The Punisher” after the end credits, and it got me excited to see what will happen to him come this November. And something does tell me that Matt’s supposed death and the events in “The Punisher” will cause Karen to go down a spiral that might set the scene further for “Daredevil” Season 3, if they do go the “Born Again” route.
Also, I was shocked that they were bold enough to kill of Stick, Alexandra, and cut off Misty’s arm.
All in all, I really loved “The Defenders” from start to finish, and I can’t wait to see what will happen next to each of these characters and to the rest of the team.
What did you think of “The Defenders”? Did this make you change your mind about Finn Jones’ Danny Rand/Iron Fist? Do you think “Daredevil” will go the “Born Again” route? Let me know what you think in the comments below!