With a poor choice in villain, B-list heroes besides Daredevil, and extremely slow pacing with few action scenes, The Defenders had potential but falls flat. 3/10.
Plot Synopsis: Four Marvel heroes: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, are each working individually to help save New York City. Realizing their solo efforts are not working out well and when a new villain shows up and challenges the city, they decide to team up and form The Defenders, a superhero group dedicated to saving what they hold dear.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
Review: Marvel’s Netflix shows have had a topsy turvy ride so far. Their first outing with Daredevil was a unanimously agreed upon masterpiece, their second outing with Jessica Jones a good but uneven satisfaction, third with Luke Cage a mixed result hurt by its slow pacing, and lastly Iron Fist a vast disappointment with a whitewashed miscast and poor actor for Danny Rand. Every show had different results, so I did not know what to come in expecting for The Defenders, but was excited due to my love for Daredevil that they might get back on the right track after the cascading descent of recent.
However, I was disappointed to see that the biggest problems from Marvel’s Netflix shows carry over and become even more noticeable in The Defenders. Let’s start with the pacing. The pacing is UNBELIEVABLY slow. I kid you not, there is only one action scene in the entire first episode of an 8-episode series.. and it’s the opening scene.. in a SUPERHERO team-up show. I’m not sure how that’s even possible but should have seen it coming because that was the biggest complaint for Luke Cage and Iron Fist – bizarre as action should be the first, second, and third priority for a superhero product.
Next, the heroes. Charlie Cox’s Daredevil is still phenomenal, and carries the show with incredible acting and badass fighting (however scarce it is). I feel sorry for him being looped in with what otherwise are pretty much B-list superheroes like Luke Cage and Iron Fist when Daredevil is one of the most popular and well-designed Marvel heroes and should be standing with The Avengers instead. Krystin Ritter’s Jessica Jones has an intriguing storyline and good acting as well that has flaws like being annoyingly skeptical, but Luke Cage is underwhelming and gimmicky with things like them forcing Hip Hop soundtracks in every one of his scenes and Iron Fist is just awful in every sense.
That leads me to Iron Fist. Still an absolutely TERRIBLE casting and disrespectful whitewashing of Asian martial arts, as well as not even a good actor running around like a child with a new toy in his fist, I struggle to understand what Marvel Netflix was thinking with him. He borderline ruins the show when he’s on screen. Need to go back to the drawing board with that one, as soon as possible for our sakes.
Fourth, the villain. Sigourney Weaver is a VASTLY underwhelming villain. Don’t get me wrong, I love her as an actress (especially in the All-Time great Alien series), but c’mon, you could not have gotten someone less intimidating and weak than an older woman going up against a team of superheroes. And, when she *Spoiler* is killed and Elektra takes over as villain (Elektra AGAIN?? They’ve recycled her, Madame Gao, & organization villains for seemingly every season of Marvel Netflix.. The heights of lazy writing- get some new villains.) it is really hard to figure out what was going on in the showrunners’ heads when they picked these weak villains for a superhero team-up show. Villains make superhero movies/shows, believe me having seen all of them, but not here.
Next, the cinematography and production value. The scenes and sets are very poorly set up with little to no attention to detail or to make it look appealing; It honestly looks like they put more attention into the opening credits/theme than the actual show.. Also, the production value is poor, as it is hard to even justify why this show had to happen in the first place at times and why 20 min of plot got stretched to 8 hour-long episodes.
Following, the tone and team-up. I love the more serious tone of Marvel’s Netflix series, taking the art form of cinema more seriously than the movies which prefer soiling the movies with jokes forced in seemingly every line. However, the pacing ruins it, becoming dark and slow which is a bad combination. Also, it takes wayyyy too long to get to the actual team-up. It is only an 8-episode series, a short season by every metric of television, so one would rightfully assume that the team-up HAS to start in episode 1, right? Well, you’d lose money on that bet. 2nd episode? Nope. That’s right, the team-up doesn’t even show signs of starting until after episode 2 of an 8 episode series!!! Head-scratching.
Finally, the ending. Perhaps my least favorite part of the entire show, the ending was extremely basic and superhero clichéd. It’s like they watched superhero movies (without studying what makes them interesting and how to pace well), and copied the ending scenes – Daredevil’s sacrifice and return has been done 50x already, as well as Elektra returning from the dead as a villain (again, really?). With lazy writing and production value, undeniable pacing issues, and that ending, The Defenders does not live up to its potential & is an underwhelming product both in an entertainment and superhero senses.
Official CLC Score: 3/10