The Defenders turned out to be a great entertaining series as anticipated. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. This review will have minor spoilers as we want you to appreciate the series for yourself. Wrest your eyes from Wikipedia for now as The Defenders have some interesting stuff and twists to offer.
The series starts off of course with everyone separate and picking up where they left off. Think of how Matt Murdock feels after losing Elektra, about how Jessica feels having to kill Killgrave and how life would be like for Luke Cage fresh out of prison. As for Iron Fist, he’s off with Colleen Wing on a mission of eradicating the Hand given the momentum they got from killing Bakuto. What’s fascinating here is that the scenes involving these characters are filmed in their respective styles, so much so that you’ll feel it. Of course as expected in this show, they’ll come together. They’ll work different cases which actually turn out to be related and that piecing together comes off as natural, not forced. Given only eight episodes, getting together isn’t a slow burn as thought.
What other critics call cheesy, I call entertaining. Almost reminiscent of 80s and 90s action films. This is the part when the team comes together interacts, banters and fights because their respective universes colors suddenly disappear and we’re left with a rather lighter atmosphere. Strangely enough, not sure if it’s all the months of anticipation, but the four actually have great chemistry and that seemingly lighter atmosphere works. It looked like a cool Avengers moment seeing them together with the camera circling them at a table.
Speaking of the Avengers, this series really begs the question of where the heck they are, given the gravity of what’s happening in New York. The only thing gluing this to the greater MCU is one mention of ‘the incident.’ Details right? But thankfully despite that, the show still works out. Seeing them working together in a fighting stance against seemingly overwhelming odds sent shivers down this Marvel fan’s spine. The action and fight scenes were nicely done.
If there’s any well-noted Easter egg in this series, it’s the great chemistry between Luke Cage and Iron Fist. They work well as friends as if the show is suggesting they team up much like in the comics Heroes for Hire. What’s weird in case that happens is that Danny has no problems using his share of the Rand Corporation any time he needs to so he has no need for money. If anyone should have a team-up for financial reasons, it would be Luke and Jessica. Anyway, a Luke Cage and Iron Fist might come down the road as the reviled live-action character of Iron Fist works better in a team-up. Which is probably why he’s with Colleen Wing from the beginning of the show. For someone who’s supposed to end The Hand, he can’t work alone. Despite Disney pulling out from Netflix, the Marvel agreements stay, because Marvel probably can’t do grounded like Netflix can.
The villains, as a whole, are pretty interesting. They are a more grounded version of the Five Fingers of the Hand led by Sigourney Weaver’s character Alexandra. Separately, they’re devoid of character except for Madam Gao who we are already quite familiar with. The other members include Bakuto, an African named Sowande and a Japanese guy named Murakami. But don’t let that get in the way of appreciating the show as a whole. Minor spoiler, Elektra is back from the dead sooner than expected and becomes instrumental in fulfilling The Hand’s mission in New York. The Hand’s mission is reminiscent of the DC’s League of Shadows’ mission against Gotham City in Batman Begins, but does not involve any morality.
As for Sigourney Weaver, she gave out a fine performance in the series. Alexandra is actually more interesting than she looks. As for Madam Gao, you’ll actually see her in combat but not like Yoda when he fought Count Dooku. Bokuto still feels flat but is there to make Colleen shine.
The series made good use of the supporting characters of the separate respective shows. We see all of them here. Foggy Nelson, Karen Paige, Stick, Jeri Hogarth, Malcolm, Trish Walker, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing and Claire Temple. The Meachums, Joy, and Ward, are strangely absent here though despite taking up much screen time in the Iron Fist series.
Let’s just say that Colleen Wing from Iron Fist holds and comes to her own in this series. The same goes for Misty Knight. If anyone’s expecting anything about her, it happens here, just won’t say when.
Overall, the series was quite enjoyable. Again, this team-up has a great chemistry. They work great as a team. They talk well as a team. Iron Fist’s character has improved because he’s better in a team. There are some sore spots in this series, but it’s better to let you judge.