6 Thoughts on The Defenders
Get ready for a lot of rants. That’s what I was doing by the time the end credits rolled for the final episode of The Defenders. This show was a huge letdown. Or maybe my expectations were too high. I was expecting something damn near as good as The Avengers. I was expecting something as good as the Daredevil TV show. I was expecting TV greatness! Instead, The Defenders is TV okayness.
TV Rating: 6/10 – Pretty Good.
Oddly enough, nobody is talking about The Defenders anymore. The show is barely more than a week old, and was highly anticipated, but there’s been utter silence since that debut weekend. It doesn’t help that, the weekend after, we had this big Game of Thrones season finale. I’ve been hearing more and more anti-binge washing talks since releasing a show all at once has people talking about it just that once, but go back to a weekly schedule, like Game of Thrones, and people are talking about it all summer.
Maybe Netflix should switch to that model. Either way, join me after the jump for my thoughts on The Defenders TV show! And beware of SPOILERS!
6. It was fun, but dull, with a terrible ending
The Defenders was fine. It was entertaining and, for the most part, I enjoyed myself. But it’s far from the most exciting TV Marvel and Netflix have produced, and it’s quite far from the best TV out there. It’s middling, at best. I enjoyed the characters coming together, I enjoyed the action, and that’s pretty much it. The rest of the show is really, really dull. None of the villains have super-powers to contend with the Defenders. None of the villains are anything more than just criminals, with a little bit of martial arts thrown in. What happened to the fancy ninjas that Daredevil fought in season 2? Why is the Hand only employing hired goons in The Defenders? What happened to Iron Fist being able to do cool stuff like clearing the room in the finale of his season? Why does his fist only amount to being able to throw one really good punch every once and awhile? Especially when the only thing every single character can do is throw a punch?
And the ending was terrible. Horrendous, even. The Defenders just builds up to a big group fight in an underground cave? Followed by some really, really crappy green screen moments on an elevator? Followed by everybody boo-hooing about the death of Daredevil even though WE KNOW HE’S NOT DEAD! Seriously, did they think they were fooling us? Did someone really think that the audience would ignore the fact that Daredevil Season 3 is happening and actually believe he’s dead?
How can you hang the entire emotional climax of your story on such an obvious fake out? Did they learn nothing from Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice?!
While mildly entertaining, and overall, an OK show, there was so so so so much wrong and so many dumb decisions with The Defenders.
5. The conflict was very underwhelming
Let me get this straight: The big conflict in The Defenders, everything we’ve been building towards across five different seasons of TV, is that a bunch of old martial artists need the Iron Fist to punch through a wall so that they could get more of their resurrection juice? That’s it?! And somehow this threatens the entire city of New York?! How?!
Were those load-bearing dragon bones? Because that’s ridiculous. And not properly explained. It makes zero sense that the entirety of New York City rests on the bones of a dead dragon. It sounds cool, but the show absolutely doesn’t sell it. And it doesn’t sell the idea that this is a mass murdering level threat. Yeah, sure, it would suck if the leaders of the Hand were allowed to keep living, but they could be dealt with in time.
And why did the Hand need Elektra so badly? What did her being the Black Sky amount to? That she was a pretty good fighter? She was a pretty good fighter even before she was resurrected and revealed to be the Black Sky. What does that name even mean? She didn’t turn the sky black or anything like it. She was just a good fighter! Is that name supposed to be “kewl” or something? Is that all it is?
In the end, Daredevil fights Elektra, like he’s done before. And the other Defenders get to fight a bunch of hired goons instead of actual Hand ninjas. Everything in the big finale was something we had seen before. There was nothing new or interesting or spectacular or worthy of a big, uniting show like The Defenders.
4. Why did they pull another Luke Cage?
The Luke Cage TV show was really good, but there’s a very specific moment in the middle when it goes from a great show to a good show: when they randomly kill the villain Cottonmouth halfway through. Cottonmouth was amazing, played by actor Mahershala Ali. The guy went on to win an Oscar! But Marvel killed him off halfway through and replaced him with a terrible villain in Diamondback. Why?!
Worst of all, they did it again in The Defenders when they killed off Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra before the finale. She’s Sigourney freakin’ Weaver! She’s your villain! Why not use her to the fullest extent possible? Why build her up, give her some pathos and then just cut her out of the show before she even really has a chance to face off against our heroes? None of the other Hand leaders amounted to a proper villain in the end, not even Madame Gao. And while Elektra is cool and all, she was not great as the overall villain of the show. I’m not even sure why she was a villain in the end. Once she regained her memories, why did she continue to fight against Daredevil? Since when was Elektra obsessed with living forever? Are we supposed to believe that she was somehow turned into lusting after immortality? Why would Elektra want to usurp Alexandra?
And it’s not like Alexandra was all that great to begin with. Sigourney Weaver was never not Sigourney Weaver. Alexandra never really became her own character. She was just Sigourney Weaver. And then she was gone without accomplishing or amounting to anything.
For that matter, The Defenders did something similar on the hero side, too. Halfway through the show, they waylaid Iron Fist and took him off the team. I get that there’s a lot of drama in having the team turn on one of their own (even if the team, and not Iron Fist, was in the right). But when the show is all about bringing these characters together for a team-up, why remove one of them from the team-up? Why make it so that Iron Fist doesn’t get to be one of the Defenders for the majority of the team-up? Weird decision.
3. Why focus so much on law enforcement if everybody is going to be an idiot?
Why were the Defenders being so secretive with the police? I get that they felt they were the only ones tough enough to take on the Hand, but still, c’mon guys. The cops already knew that a sinister criminal organization was operating in the city. They were right there, ready to uncover it within the confines of the law. But rather than just explain everything, the Defenders kept their mouths shut and decided to get themselves into deeper trouble. Who were they protecting? The Hand?
When the cops took them all into custody at the double-murder scene, why not explain what happened? Why not tell the truth? Tell the cops that Stick killed the first guy, a criminal, and then that guy’s criminal enforcer came back and killed Stick. And then kidnapped billionaire Danny Rand. Tell the cops that this criminal organization is based in that one building, have likely brought Danny Rand into the basement and it’s all tied into that earthquake from the beginning. Work with the damn cops!
The Ghostbusters cooperated with the Mayor’s Office and the city let them handle the big Gozer emergency at the end. Do something like that! Obviously the cops wouldn’t want vigilantes leading the charge, but just stick around alongside the cops, and when the shit hits the fan, surely Misty Knight could pull a string or two and let the Defenders go in and help out. Or just sneak in while the cops are launching their own SWAT raid.
There was no reason the Defenders couldn’t be open and cooperative with the police. The cops already knew that Luke and Jessica had powers, and they already knew that the Hand existed and was up to no good. Nothing about the big final conflict couldn’t have been explained to the police.
Especially when you consider that, apparently, the police just wave their hands and ignore everything the Defenders did in the end. Even though at least Luke and Jessica are wanted fugitives, and they know that Colleen stole the explosives, and the cops all saw these heroes at the scene of the building collapse, nobody gets charged. Nobody gets arrested. There was, like, one line of dialogue in there waving everything away, but that line of dialogue made no sense. The cops were ready to arrest these heroes not an hour earlier before anything had even happened. Then when a lot of horrible stuff happens, including the bombing of a skyscraper, nobody gets arrested?
If nobody was going to get arrested in the end anyway, why not have the Defenders cooperating with the police?
2. The actors were all still great in their roles, and great together
At the very least, the main characters were fun and made the show worth watching. All of the actors were still on their game. Even Iron Fist wasn’t so bad this time around. They were fun to watch interacting, especially when paired off like Luke Cage and Iron Fist or Daredevil and Jessica Jones. I especially liked the Luke and Jessica bits. So at the very least, the most important part of The Defenders was the strongest part. At least there’s that. And at least we can hopefully expect more quality solo seasons coming up.
1. The Netflix Marvel shows have been getting progressively worse
That being said, I feel like the Netflix Marvel shows have been getting worse as they go along. The first season of Daredevil was out of this world good. It was the first show and it was the most brilliant, with great performances all around, a great story and some really wonderful villains. Everything worked well in that first season of Daredevil. Then Jessica Jones came along and it was even better! Such a good season of television! Such a cool cast and main character. Then Daredevil season 2 was good. Not as good as the first season, but still good (even though I personally hated the final episode). But then things started to decline. I liked Luke Cage just fine, but as I mentioned earlier, the second half of the show really stank up the joint.
Then we can all agree that Iron Fist was not a good show. And now The Defenders has let me down. What’s going on here? Did Marvel learn the wrong lessons from the initial success of Daredevil? I want my good, quality superhero TV back! Where’s the energy and excitement that went into that initial hallway fight? Or into the Kingpin and Killgrave? I want that energy back! I want that awesomeness back!
Let’s hope Marvel and Netflix can turn things around before it’s too late!
Posted on August 30, 2017, in Lists of Six!, Marvel, Television and tagged Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Netflix, Netflix Defenders, The Defenders. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.