Summary: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist team up to fight crime in New York City.
Director: S.J. Clarkson (for this episode)
Writers: Douglas Petrie (creator and writer for this episode) and Marco Ramirez (creator and writer for this episode)
Stars: Charlie Cox, Kristen Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, and more.
Marvel’s neighbourhood-level superhero team has finally arrived on Netflix and they aren’t here to mess around. Or are they? Ever since the success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and the build-up to the ever so successful Avengers, we have been bombarded with superhero movies who end up being connected to other movies only to reunite together for a bigger threat later along the line. While the Avengers showed us the potential of a connected universe, Netflix has been slowly putting together the pieces to creating it’s very own team of get-down-and-dirty superheroes with their own special skills in order to fight crime and save the one thing they all have in common: New York City. Taking place directly after Daredevil Season 2, Jessica Jones Season 1, Luke Cage Season 1 and Iron Fist Season 1, The Defenders slowly but surely ties things together in order to face a common threat. Fans can now squeal in joy with the arrival of their next superhero TV show binging experience.
There’s one thing you have to understand with the first episode of The Defenders. It is not here to bring in new fans. The show is a direct sequel to a series of events that have taken place in the previous season of our respective superheroes. At no point in the pilot will you feel like it is trying to build a fan base. In fact, you’ll be immediately thrown into the game and be forced to embrace and rejoice at familiar faces and signature cinematography. As much as you’d like things to start off strong, the first episode of The Defenders has others plans for you. Slow-paced and choppy, the pilot serves more of a reminder of past events and places each characters in their respective settings before any merging begins. Fans of the previous shows and seasons will surely find this episode acceptable, but will struggle to feel anything more about it. While you can see and feel how different each hero is and how shook they are by the events they have had to go through, the first episode struggles at being captivating as it felt more like pieces of each show glued together rather than an episode of The Defenders.
The heaviest part of this show lies however in the introduction of a new villain. Shoe-horned into the story-line after being absent and never mentioned before, the new Big Bad played by Sigourney Weaver, fails to convey the level of menace that she truly wishes to bring forth in The Defenders. Showing similar characteristics to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, Sigourney Weaver’s scenes highlights her wealth, classiness and power through silence and posture. Her role and her abilities remains a huge secret through the whole episode (and even throughout most of the season), but the fact that her motivations and objectives are so vague and unknown leaves this pilot episode a little dry. For a show than only has 8 episodes, I definitely thought this pilot could’ve done much better in integrating all the essential pieces before the big explosion. However, with that being said, The Defenders should not be judged solely on its first episode. I can tell you right now that the show finds its groove around episode 3 and the mysteries that have been haunting our heroes for so long are slowly unveiled as you get further into the season.
What about the action scenes? With such a diverse bunch of superheroes, you can only imagine the chaos they could bring to anyone that dares stand in their way. From refined martial arts to raw head-bashing and body-throwing, you’ll be sure to get everything you want from The Defenders. The pilot episode does start off pretty intense as mysterious figures—easy to guess who they might be—show up and deliver a dangerous showdown to some of our heroes. While there won’t be that much going on in this first episode, a lot more will be thrown at us further into the story. It’s definitely a pleasure to see how their different fighting styles end up complementing each other, as well as seeing all the downsides and limits that they might have if they were to go at it alone. While Iron Fist should’ve had the most interesting style of them all, my issues with his choreography continues in The Defenders. I wish his sequences were filmed in one shot without having to use so much editing and cutting to make him look graceful and elegant on the kill floor. Daredevil however remains the most satisfying fighter on screen, and will probably always be, for me.
Even with new faces being tossed into the mix, a lot of old faces will resurface from the darkness. The Defenders is filled with surprises as you progress into the show. The troubles of characters and their hunt for their identity will keep this show engaging, but first you’ll have to endure the first couple of episodes. Seeing these heroes struggle to understand what they truly want to do in life and what they want to do with their special talents is what pushes these characters to embrace aid and seek camaraderie. Visually, the show continues to strive in originality by delivering a unique style that easily helps in distinguishing our heroes from one another. When the story shifts from one point of view to another, you can feel a colour correction being applied that is reminiscent to their respective shows (from red, purple, yellow and green’ish tones). Nothing is lost when it comes to staying loyal to each of these character’s shows. While The Defenders‘ pilot episode has its fair share of issues, it is not an end line that you should contemplate. The show finds rhythm and takes off after a couple episodes when the story finally jumps into the mystical lore and brings these heroes together.
If you want to check out a comic book series based on this Defenders team, check out Brian Michael Bendis’ Defenders (2017). You could also check out other series featuring the Defenders, but it’s very likely that the team won’t be these four (heroes like Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor and Silver Surfer originally teamed up as the Defenders).
Have you read any of these comics? Did you start the show yet?
I’m done with season 1!
Tell me what you thought of The Defenders (TV Series 2017-) or if you plan on checking it out soon! 😀
MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★☆☆/