Flat out, folks, I’m pretty disappointed with The Defenders.
Eh, it wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t great. I think a large portion of the blame for that lands squarely on the shoulders of the Immortal Iron Fist, Danny Rand, who continues to be just an awful, annoying brat that I badly want to slap. He spent a whole eight episodes being a whiny, irritating, shouting, idiot screw-up and the best parts of The Defenders were the parts where everyone else was smacking Danny around.
There’s a great scene early on where Luke Cage slaps Danny all around an alley and another awesome bit later in the run where Daredevil stomps the monkey snot out of him. Both of these scenes? Were my favorite. And of course, Jessica is just a constant snark machine running in Danny’s direction, and that’s also pretty wonderful.
The story itself was a hot mess. So, you’ve got the Five Fingers of the Hand – Madame Gao, Sigourney Weaver, and three redshirts. One of the redshirts is that one bad guy from Iron Fist who I can’t be bothered to remember because Iron Fist was (mostly) so dreadfully boring. Anyway, so I guess Sigourney – who I have to tell you is just criminally wasted in her role here – is dying of… something? It doesn’t matter, because this plot point is only there so that she hurries up the Hand’s plans, which draws the Defenders’ attention.
So, you remember that massive pit Daredevil and Elektra found back in season two of Daredevil. The Hand built a building on top of it. I think this might have been mentioned in Iron Fist, but again, that show was super boring and I remember nearly none of it. Anyway, turns out that at the bottom of the hole there’s some magic MacGuffin dust that the Hand wants so they can bring people back from the dead and continue living forever and whatnot. The MacGuffin dust is locked up behind a door that only the Iron Fist can open. Also, the MacGuffin dust turns out to be, I don’t know, dragon bones or something? And if the Hand mines it out, New York will collapse.
The Defenders have trust issues and bitch at each other a lot. Stick turns up, infodumps, attempts to kill Danny and fails (Boooo! You had one job, Stick!), and then dies. Danny gets kidnapped by the Hand. Obviously. The Defenders eventually get their crap together and go rescue him and save the city. Daredevil “dies.”
Also Elektra comes back from the dead as a bad guy and emos around occasionally beating things up. She kills Sigourney, rendering her “I’m dying” plot utterly moot. Sigourney spends her time doing a terrible Wilson Fisk impression.
There is… guys, there is a lot of brooding going on in this show. Way too much. Ninety percent of Sigourney’s screen time is genteel brooding. The only time Elektra isn’t brooding is when she’s killing something, and even then, that’s perfunctory – the rest of the time she just moons around mournfully blank-faced. Daredevil broods, but then, you’d expect that.
Jessica Jones was out of place and under-utilized in the show. Since Jess isn’t a fighter like Iron Fist, Daredevil, or even Luke Cage, she sticks out like a sore thumb in every fight scene. The one thing she’s much better at, investigating, she barely gets to do. Although when she finally does they let Matt Murdock outclass her. That was super irritating.
The police are involved. A lot. Like a whole lot. And if they don’t know by the end of The Defenders that Matt Murdock is Daredevil then that cop shop is full of the dumbest people on Earth. There was so much police involvement that absolutely everyone should have gone to jail for all eternity, but they didn’t, because there was a “cover up,” of course. Which is really stupid, because this is the Marvelverse and there’s no point in covering this crap up. The cop line should have been, “Yes, we arrested a metric shit ton of undead ninjas and four completely incompetent superhero wannabes in a big operation yesterday evening. New York is safe. Carry on.”
The other three Defenders spend most of their time not trusting Daredevil because he basically lies to them about Elektra for no good reason. This is especially stupid because DD has no reason to think he’s teaming up with three sociopaths, so a simple “Holy crap, that’s my dead girlfriend, can we please try to save her before we inevitably have to kill her, guys?” would do the trick.
All of the fight scenes and three quarters of every other scene in the show were lit by one guttering candle set thirty feet back from the action, so you can’t actually see anything that’s happening. Oh, except for the kind of half-assed hallway fight. That was lit by a thousand fiery suns, because we wouldn’t want to miss a second of that completely joyless fight scene they wedged in because everyone expected a hallway fight and the writers hated us for that.
Everyone mutters and/or whispers all of their lines. Except Danny Rand, who smarms and/or shouts everything.
There were a few good scenes. Basically any time Luke Cage or Jessica Jones was running the scene, it was fun. Even Daredevil got a couple of good scenes in. But the rest was joyless, soulless, and clearly designed by committee. Shame on you, Marvel. It’s pretty obvious that you barely even tried with this one.