A review for The Defenders was previously released the The Silver Screen Surfer and represents the official Couch Crunchers score. This review acts as an alternate view of the show. Enjoy!
***Mild Spoilers follow***
What starts off strong, Marvel’s The Defenders cannot maintain the momentum in the latter episodes.
The crunchers are divided on the opening two episodes but I personally thought they were great. I loved seeing the wrap up from all the shows. These characters are deeply independent and don’t easily allow others to help them. Daredevil gets help from Elektra is Season 2 of Daredevil but even that was with great reluctance. Likewise, Danny, Colleen and Claire team up in Iron Fist but Danny was hell bent on doing everything on his own and took convincing. Because of this, I thought it fitting that they didn’t all meet up until Episode 3.
Further to the meet-up, I expected that Claire would be responsible for the team getting together but that ended up only being half true. Luke and Danny meet unexpectedly and then realize they are allies through Claire whereas Jessica and Matt meet under completely different circumstances. I loved seeing how each character’s respective worlds connected to the Hand especially with both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones previously had no interaction with the evil organization in their respective shows.
Regarding the Hand, I was disappointed in them. In Daredevil and Iron Fist they were built up as this menacing and powerful organization. The two shows did a great job leaving the mystery intact and leading us to believe that the hand was an incredible force that should not be dealt with lightly. To me, they were better developed and more imposing than even Hydra, a similarly evil organization. However, The Defenders, rather than capitalizing on all the ground that had been made in previous shows, portrayed a very different Hand.
In the first few episodes, I liked how the Hand was less secretive and fine with the members of The Defenders knowing about them. It showed confidence. Further, I found it interesting how submissive Madame Gao was to Alexandra. Gao was such an imposing force in Daredevil and Iron Fist that it led me to believe that Alexandra must be even more powerful and threatening. While that may have been the case, the show never shows us that and her villain was a massive let down. As the leader of the Hand, I expected so much more and, in the end, she was the worst villain the Netflix shows have seen, even worse than the unbelievably over the top Diamondback from Luke Cage.
The heroes had some genuinely great moments such as their team up in episode 3 and their work together throughout the next couple episodes as well. Great action sequences took place, team work and some extreme fun! When Daredevil finally comes out in full costume, the little boy in me giggled and lept for joy. I think I even let out and audible gasp of excitement. Charlie Murdock offered another amazing performance as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Even better was when the Hand realized that Daredevil was assisting the others. It made them experience discomfort and feel unsure of themselves, a testament to how good a job he was doing cleaning up the streets and terrorizing the Hand.
While these moments of pure comic book bliss occurred, they couldn’t make up for the lackluster ending to the season. A late twist in episode six was intended to have a surprise factor and just made me upset. Yes, I was surprised but it was a terrible story decision that left a bad taste in my mouth as well as unanswered questions. The last two episodes we’re not what I expected from a team up of these heroes. The “big reveal” near the end of the show was underwhelming and the conclusion unsatisfactory overall.
What I loved about the ending was the comraderee between Defenders. These are people who went through something extremely intense and they have grown close because of it the traumatic experience. Other than Luke and Jessica, none of these people previously knew one another and it was fun to see their friendships maintain after the climax.
The closing minutes do a great job of setting up Daredevil season 3 and adding some closure to the series but I was still left wanting due to the absolute horror they did to the story in episode 6. It ruined the final two episodes as it seemed forced and left far to many questions unanswered.
While The Defenders is one of the weaker installments in Marvel’s Netflix shows, it is still a fun ride worth watching.
3 out of 5 cushions on the couch!!!