If you know me, you know I’m a fan of the Marvel/Netflix adaptations that have been coming out annually the past two years… But I haven’t watched Iron Fist yet. Time hasn’t been in my favor these days and something has to give, so for now that something is the show shrouded with tension and controversy from casting decisions and the Reddit community going toe to toe with one another on whether this show is offensive or just plain bad. I’ll definitely watch it before The Defenders comes out this August, and after seeing this trailer, I am definitely more motivated to get Iron Fist out of the way.
First a little comic history lesson: The Defenders are a group of heroes who circulate in and out of the group and consist of loner heroes who more often than not have their own agendas. After their initial appearance, the Defenders quickly took the title of a “non-team” due to members’ disdain for working with others yet still coming together to fight mystics and world-ending threats. The team originally consisted of Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor, and Silver Surfer, but has evolved since its 1971 debut in Marvel Feature #1. As the team mixed and matched heroes, it soon became an outlet for Marvel to showcase their vigilantes and provide readers with more mature content, and seeing as the Marvel/Netflix ventures have been relatively adult, it makes sense that they should come together to form The Defenders and (hopefully) provide a superhero team up that will be as action packed as the Avengers movies, but at a street level that can pack a punch and not be constrained by the damn Infinity Stones or the fact that Captain America and Iron Man “aren’t speaking to each other right now”.
Aside from Iron Fist, since I haven’t gotten to it yet, I have enjoyed the preceding Marvel/Netflix series. Daredevil is the only hero of the group I followed as a kid prior to his series and after the mess that is the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie from 2003, it’s great to see the character get the treatment he deserves. Charlie Cox is great as Murdock and Daredevil, and Season 2 gave me The Punisher, one of my favorite vigilantes, played by Jon Bernthal, one of my favorite actors. In fact, Punisher’s plot in Season 2 was better than the main plot involving Daredevil and Elektra.
Jessica Jones is probably my favorite series overall – giving an all too realistic look into what some men and women can go through, psychologically, when it comes to being a victim of any form of assault. I love the purple undertone and Jones gives us the first successful female-led superhero show since the Wonder Woman TV series from the 70s. Not to mention I’d drop everything in my life to marry Krysten Ritter tomorrow. Luke Cage gives us a black hero who cops cannot kill, and the first half of the season is arguably the most relevant (and best overall) Marvel/Netflix has to offer. Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth is one of my favorite onscreen villains in years and he serves as the perfect ying to Luke Cage (Mike Colter)’s yang. My only issue is I think Luke Cage’s second half drags more than the other two series’ do – and both of those series have some dragging moments as well. 13 episodes is a lot to keep viewers fully invested, and that’s why I think Marvel/Netflix are smart to contain The Defenders to eight episodes. These series have been suffering a bit from the same fatigue that I’m sure Game of Thrones fans feel too as certain plot points are dragged out, whereas a lower episode count might clear the clutter and speed up the pacing.
The action looks great, and the notion that all of these “heroes” want next to nothing to do with what’s coming to New York makes for a team up that could be a breath of fresh air from team ups in the past. They’re definitely going to disagree with each other on some things like in every team up, but it won’t be littered with copy & paste motivations like we’ve seen in Avengers movies and the upcoming Justice League (2017). It doesn’t look like a back and forth of, “I don’t like your style of saving the world,” and, “Well I’M a better hero than you so everyone listen to ME.” No, these people look like they don’t want to work together because they honestly couldn’t care less – but as Stick says so perfectly before Nirvana kicks in, these four need to, “Get their shit together.” I think with only eight episodes, viewers are going to be treated to a succinct and precise story that will combine world-altering scenarios with reluctance and realism (take realism with a grain of salt, considering everyone here has powers to some extent). There doesn’t need to be a giant beam in the sky and an intergalactic army to make a few misfits team up, and as of right now, Marvel/Netflix appears to be on the right track.
The Defenders premieres on Netflix August 18th, 2017.
And you can watch Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all on Netflix right now.