By Lucas Shim
By Jessica Eusebio
The Mirror Staff
Netflix’s Own Perception of the Avengers
August 30, 2017
REVIEWS: The Defenders manages to take superhero television to a whole new level.
Meet the B-list–yet still excellent–version of the Avengers.
Marvel Television and Netflix unleashed their first epic mini-crossover series, “The Defenders,” was released Friday, August 18, and it has been one of the most intense highlights for comic-book fans this past week.
Created by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, The Defenders, stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Danny Rand.
Taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Defenders starts off with the aftermath of the previous Marvel-Netflix shows: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. The story revolves around an ancient villainous organization called The Hand, who vows to demolish New York City. It’s up to these four unique individuals to stop this pursuit.
Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer by day and a petrifying vigilante by night, faces the aftermath of events that take place in the second season of Daredevil. Confronting the consequences from his actions in previous storylines, Murdock questions himself as to whether or not he should continue to bring justice as the lawyer–or the Daredevil. But after meeting three other unusual individuals, it may be time for him to utilize his enhanced hearing and don the sinister costume to save New York City.
Detective and alcoholic Jessica Jones is once again open for business after battling an atrocious and psychotic murderer from her mysterious past. Living in a filthy apartment with a conspicuous hole in one of the walls, Jessica Jones’s super-strength ability as well as her sarcastic behavior makes her incompatible with the rest of society. However, as she begins accepting cases for her clients, she will be led to a mysterious city-wide investigation and conspiracy, forcing her to play well with others.
Continuing to help others in the neighborhood with their personal issues, Luke Cage, a hero of Harlem, remains hopeful and benevolent for the future of the city. Yet when Cage gets involved in dangerous business, he needs more than just his super-strength and bullet-proof ability–he needs a team of defenders.
Danny Rand was rescued by an organization of monks called the Chaise after surviving a plane crash that claimed the life of his parents. The Chaise later trained him in martial arts as he grew older. Deeming himself worthy enough to punch a “dragon’s heart,” Danny claimed his title as “The Immortal Iron Fist” and gained the ability to use his “chi,” a form of energy used for combat. He returns to his home in New York with little knowledge of the outside world, making him isolated in society. However, coming across The Hand, a long-term enemy of the Chaise, Danny will soon unite with the other soon-to-be Defenders.
The main feature of The Defenders that makes the show appealing is the chemistry between the characters. One is passionate, one is hopeful, one is sarcastic, and the other is arrogant.
The chemistry between Luke Cage and Danny Rand is entertaining and delightful. Whenever Rand mentions his powerful abilities involving dragons and his fist, Luke remains oblivious to Rand’s origin. Other scenes involve Murdock and Jones; whenever Jessica expresses her sardonic manners, Matt would just remain silent and show to be a little disgruntled.
All of the interactions help develop each of their characters throughout the entire show.
The supporting cast features Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson, a link and an ally among The Defenders, Foggy Nelson, played by Elden Henson, and Karen Page, played by Deborah Ann Woll.
Other background characters include ones from Jessica Jones, such as Trish Walker, played by Rachel Taylor, and Malcolm Ducasse, played by Eka Darville. Claire and Colleen Wing, played by Jessica Henwick, build a strong friendship in The Defenders as a continuation from Iron Fist. Misty Knight returns as Simone Missick to watch over these individuals.
Other cool features on screen, such as color coordination, are visible as well. In Daredevil, the color filter was a dark red, which is same color as Murdock’s vigilante costume. Jessica Jones displayed her color as a mixture of blue and purple. Luke Cage displayed a yellow shade, corresponding to his costume in the comic books. Iron Fist, also displayed a bland green tone relating to the comics. The collaboration between the characters exhibits a mixture of their colors, which is a unique way of utilizing creative and artistic cinematography.
Another focal point that makes The Defenders successful is the exceptional action sequences. Although Luke Cage and Jessica Jones battle with their super strength, their combat is not as appealing as Daredevil or Iron Fist’s. Both of these characters’ origin involve martial arts and their fighting scenes flow superbly with the antagonists, which sustains the intensity of the show.
The Defenders mainly focuses on the events that took place in the second season of Daredevil and the first season of Iron Fist.
Although the series had a lot of hype and excitement, there are still a couple of issues that audiences came across.
One of them involved the importance of the antagonists. Although their agenda is clear, the show never really highlights their appeal and distinction from the standard “super villain” stereotype.
The background of the villains as a mysterious corporation is interesting, and this is the focal point that keeps the storyline vigorous with its conspiracy sub-parts. However, their agenda is very cliché that their significance in the show falls short.
Audiences have found the objective of the antagonist destroying cities too cliche throughout general “superhero” movies.
During the midmost parts of the show, there were seemingly unnecessary arguments within the team that could have been easily resolved with consideration–or even omitted in the script.
Rather than including unneeded conflict, the show should have focused on creative story devices and additional character interactions.
Although some may think that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were the first members of the Defenders–they were not.
The original members of the team in the comic books were Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor the Submariner, and the Silver Surfer; the Defenders originally appeared on the issue of Marvel Feature #1, which debuted on 1971.
Doctor Strange and the Hulk could not be featured for budget reasons, and Fox Studios has the rights to Silver Surfer. The writers may have not used these characters for other reasons, including how they wanted “street-level” characters for the show.
After being given negative criticism for the previous Marvel-Netflix show, Iron Fist, The Defenders won audiences over and redeemed the franchise by displaying exciting chemistry, character development, artistic cinematography, and intense action sequences. What drags the series down is the cliche antagonists, unneeded arguments, and over said one-liners given by characters. However, this epic crossover series has the potential to open bridges to new characters as well as remarkable storylines in the near future seasons.
The Defenders has been receiving positive criticism and reactions, including a Certified Fresh Tomato Score of 75% on Rotten Tomatoes and a user rating of 8.0/10 on IMDB, the Internet Movie Database.