Benz Eye View: Marvel’s The Defenders

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Marvel’s The Defenders

Pros: 

1.) All four members of the Defenders: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have their own character arcs that actually converge into the main plot: four heroes have to fight an evil organization before they deal their evil power to the world (in this case, New York).  It is written well enough to give these people reasons why they have to join together to stop one big organization that has built up in two of the Marvel Netflix series.  Not only that, all four characters have their own plot lines involving their own personal problems.  Overall, the narrative is written well enough to give these four heroes an excuse on why they have to join together to become the Defenders.

2.) For the first couple of episodes, I really like how each of the main characters have their own visual tones.  Those tones are red (Daredevil), purple (Jessica Jones), yellow (Luke Cage), and green (Iron Fist).  While it is not that noticeable as the episodes progress, I do like the visual color symbolism that represents these characters that we have been following for a couple of years now.

3.) I love how the characters interact with each other thanks to the written dialogue and acting.  It shows how these actors (particularly the four main leads) are having fun with each other while acting out in their roles.  Iron Fist and Luke Cage are great friends despite a rocky start, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have a rocky relationship since they were former lovers, Daredevil and Jessica Jones are in a not-so-great lawyer-client relationship, and so many more.  That is just including the main characters; some of the side characters get some time to shine as well.  However, the series knows how to focus on what is important: the four main leads, and they did so wonderfully.

 

Cons: 

1.) While the heroes are well-realized, I cannot say the same thing with the villains.  It is a shame since despite having great performances from actors like Sigourney Weaver, none of the villains have a shred of compelling moments whatsoever.  I really wanted to like them, but their motivations are so cliched and typical that I lost interest in them as the series went on.  In contrast, the past Marvel Netflix antagonists (i.e. Wilson Fisk, Kilgrave, and Diamondback) are compelling enough to be a match with the other heroes.  While the villains in this series are still a competent threat, they are not as interesting as the past villains we had in each of the series.

2.) There are some great action scenes, but there are also some poor ones as well.  I blame it on the cinematography on certain action moments, because they use the low-lighting shots that are way too close to see what is actually happening in these fights.  The worst action moments involve Madame Gao, because all she does is some sort of Force Push-like attack that looks lame, because the actress is way too old to move like a karate master (and I cannot really blame her).  Also, there are attack blows that clearly did not hit, and some people do not seem to take the fight seriously and just flail the bodies around just to look like they are attacking.  I did say that there are some good action scenes, but the bad ones are really obvious.

3.) I found the last half of the series to be the least interesting compared to the first half.  Whereas the first half was establishing the events of the series (the first episode is admittedly a catch-up episode, which is nice if slightly boring), the second half does not really hold up as much.  It reminds me of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies.  The first one is a mystery movie while the second one is not since the characters know who the criminal is and they have to stop his evil plan.  This parallels with this series: the first half is a mystery while the second half is stopping the villains, except not as interesting as the mystery portion.  The pace is slow (the first half had slow pacing, but the series took advantage of it), it is kind of predictable, and I have seen other shows and movies that do the same thing, but better (coughAvengerscough).

 

Overall: 

Two years ago, the first season of Daredevil was aired on Netflix as part of Marvel’s Netflix series coinciding with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  From those past two years, Jessica Jones, Daredevil (Season 2), Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were released on Netflix as well.  All of those shows were building up to the newly released The Defenders.  Does all that build-up work as well as The Avengers five years ago?  To a certain extent, yes, but it could have been done better.  I enjoyed all four main characters (three to be exact, because Iron Fist still kind of sucks) and I like how they joined together to face a huge threat that they cannot fight alone.  That is the main reason why this series is pretty good to begin with: the four main characters.  Their interactions, heroism, and characteristics are what makes anyone appreciate this series and its build-up for the past couple of years.  However, it does have some noticeable flaws like the antagonists and the narrative falling apart in the second half.  If you wanted to have four of the Marvel Netflix heroes join together to fight an evil organization, you will get it here.  However, with the flaws that I have pointed out, it could have been so much better.  Here’s hoping the second season is much better, as well as the other Marvel Netflix series and the upcoming Punisher series.

Occasional Viewing

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