MARVEL’S THE DEFENDERS FACE A FAMILIAR VILLAIN….IT’S VILLAIN PROBLEM: THE DEFENDERS REVIEW

Marvel’s The defenders is finally out. After two years of build up. It’s really hard to imagine that in 2015 we got our first major MCU series on Netflix in Daredevil and then the rest came rolling out. Three Origin series followed plus a second season of Daredevil last year along with a bevy of other connected characters. Now we have the big team-up we’ve been promised. Did it live up to the hype though? Well let’s say by the time I got to episode 6 it was a solid 8.5 for me, by the time I was done?…

Look there’s a lot to love about this show. But the one thing to hate about it sadly brings it down at the end. Let’s get right into it.

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  • BLIND NINJA

Speaking on Daredevil, Charlie Cox is an amazing actor. It’s probably been said a lot, but he’s really good. The emotion and depth he adds to both Daredevil and Murdock is on for all to see as he refuses to disclose his identity to the team when they first meet; choosing instead to protect those he cares about, the rest of the team don’t mind disclosing their identities but he’s two seasons ahead of them and has faced “the hand” more times than the their supposed bane so…yeah let him have this.

At the start of the show Matt has ceased being “The devil of hell’s kitchen” much to the satisfaction of Karen and….Foggy? He clearly wants to go back though but feels it’s better as being Daredevil drove the people he cared about away.

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  • CLASSY

Jessica is still Jessica. An alcoholic and doesn’t want her experience from Season 1 being aired on “Trish talk” much to the bemusement of Trish. This I understand. Jessica has never liked the idea of being seen as a hero but it’s not like if someone is in need of help she turns a blind eye. Which is why I can’t understand why she sent a lady clearly in need of this help away along with her daughter in the first episode. In fact it wasn’t until her husband, via the aid of a voice scramble called her, warning her not to pursue him that the case caught her attention.

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Aside from this, I know Jessica doesn’t like using her powers or at times doesn’t recognise that she even has them. But for some reason she barely uses them in the show. Except in the finale when she held an elevator to prevent it from falling, she didn’t use her powers often. Hope this changes in season two.

  • BULLETPROOF

Luke Cage gets out of prison via the aid of Foggy and his defense team (more on this team later). From their discussions, apparently Foggy helped him get out prison through documents found by Bobby Fish at the end of the first season. When he gets out, he meets Rosario Dawson’s “Claire” waiting for the coffee that got interrupted and then proceeds to do what any man would after being incarcerated for an unspecified amount of time. I could only assume that by the second season some scenes would be re-visited because his release from prison seemed way too abrupt.

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  • THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST

To end the beginning of the defenders is Danny Rand. Seen at the start of the show alongside Colleen Wing chasing someone in Cambodia. This individual gets beaten easily and killed by “the dark sky” a.k.a Elektra. I actually liked Iron Fist in this. A massive, major improvement from the first season. The fighting, his acting, he was just better as a whole. I’m not sure whether it’s because of a much better cast beside him or the creators, or Finn Jones. Whatever it was it worked. It’s no wonder they changed the creators for the second season.

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One thing that must change though is how he keeps telling everyone who he is. The creators were clever enough to have Colleen point out that fact, but it still has to stop.

Unto the big bad.

Alexandra is played by the legendary Sigourney Weaver. Look, as much as Marvel has a history with villains, their track record has been good with Netflix. Bar every villain on Iron Fist except Madam Gao of course and Diamondback from Luke Cage, All the villains have been spot on.

From the start of this whole Defenders project, we were led to believe that “The hand is coming”, “You’re not prepared”, “They’re very dangerous”, etc. Sadly they’re virtually not threatening at all. Like in any way.

Here’s the gist. “The hand” actually represents five fingers…of a hand. These five fingers; Alexandra, Gao, Bakudo(sigh) and for the first time in this universe, Sowande (African warlord also known as White Hat) and Murakami. Their mission, believe it or not, is to obtain immortality. Not world domination, heck not even New York Domination. Like all this while, “The hand” was an organisation that just wanted to live longer? I mean I can understand that, makes sense. But where is the threat?

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Oh right, that earthquake at the end of the first episode. Somehow the Hand, were able to cause a mini earthquake in New York. No one knows how. Apparently it turns out it was beyond a building called “Midland Circle”. Apparently the husband that called Jessica Jones, his name “John Raymond” by the way, designed the building and The hand was after him to cut loose ends which is why he had a huge pile of C-4 in his building when she checked his apartment. He wanted to blow the whole thing up.

I like how connected this Universe is. Placing characters from other shows together on a new show is the first step to building a universe. This was done well with The Defenders, but with the supporting characters not as much. When they were kept in the Police precinct for their protection they all acted like exes who were set-up.

The villains are lame without remorse. It would’ve been better if they were introduced in previous shows like Madam Gao and did something other than re-hash more “Iron Fist” level fight scenes. When “the hand” was coming I wanted to see Nobu-type ninjas constantly causing havoc in New York and making the city submit.

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The show revolved around Iron Fist. In the sense that The Hand’s main objective was to use his fist to open a doorway that led to a bunch of dragon bones. These dragon bones contains a “substance” as the show calls it or an “elixir”; which brings the dead back and gives eternal life…I think. How these Dragon bones were placed there, I don’t know. Don’t ask me, the show didn’t give an explanation.

Truth is, their plan, however boring, didn’t matter because they didn’t live to see it through. Elektra becomes the main villain towards the end. She kills Alexandra, the woman who brought her back to life using the last of the hand’s errm….substance. Murakami is impaled, Sowande is beheaded along with Bakudo. While Gao survives and personally I hope will return.

K’un Lun be praised because Elektra and Daredevil’s side-plot was exactly what the show needed at times. Their chemistry in season 2 was displayed for all to witness again. There’s never too much Charlie Yung. Ever. The defenders wanted to go after her for what she’d done/was going to do. Matt warned them against it for their protection against her and him. Case sealed.

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Towards the end, the “Defenders”, then decided to use the C-4 from Raymond’s apartment to go through with his plan. These are heroes. Protectors of New York and their plan to stop and Organisation famed for their persistence is to blow a massive building to the ground. Granted Luke Cage opposed the idea at first but then proceeded when his ultimatum was for no innocent life to be taken. Sure. Like that could be guaranteed and as if the others didn’t have that in mind initially. It made no sense.

Then they go through with it and of course Daredevil and Elektra are buried under because they must remain in each other’s lives even in death. The police knew The Defenders were inside the building when this happened and were at the least accomplices in the destruction and terrorism as Luke Cage rightly pointed out previously, they get away with it. Foggy and his firm responsible.

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There is no way on earth this should’ve been covered up. You can be Johnny Cochran for all I care. No lawyer or firm is that good or influential enough to cover up an explosion of that magnitude. It just doesn’t add up. It leaves the defenders with a clean slate before they return to their new seasons. Hence, cleansing the way for their lives without consequence from their previous battle. Well maybe all four shows can just call what happened “That other incident” and move on.

In the end, there was a bland fight scene. Again. Featuring the remaining members of the hand and Elektra against the defenders. Hip-hop was played at one point. Bakudo cuts off Misty’s arm meaning she’s on her way to becoming the Misty we know with a cybernetic arm. Although I feel this time Danny Rand would be the one to give it to her, maybe through a robotics division at Rand enterprises and not Tony Stark for obvious reasons. Foggy and Karen mourn Matt who is still alive and Danny is well on his way to becoming a real hero which is about the only impact this show would go on to have on future seasons for the characters.

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I think I’ll take this as Iron Fist’s first season. The show really did right by him this time around. Also by the time a second season of the defenders gets announced, I hope they would go for a better and more recognisable villain from the comics than “Alexandra”. They even have one right under their nose.

Riddled with plot holes and a weak villain(s). Marvel’s The Defenders had its problems but also its high points like Luke Cage and Iron Fist’s developing bromance, top dialogue, some fight scenes, Charlie Cox, and an improvement on Danny Rand. With reduced episodes for a more cohesive plot it was still a let-down towards the end after so much promise at the beginning.

Which is why it’s Defender Rating would be – 6/10

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