When it was initially announced that the Defenders would be kickstarted with Daredevil as the focal point, I felt excited. How could I not be; unknown comic book heroes getting their own television debut? Ironfist, a personal favorite of mine, was going to be getting his own television series and they’ll all be together on screen? The fan-boy in me couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, the show was boring. Put bluntly, it was not all bad but I will break down what I found to be most disappointing.
For those who haven't yet watched the show, be mindful of SPOILERS.
Firstly, the show revolves around The Hand and its components, the Fingers of the Hand. Many of these characters have arcs in the other Netflix shows leading up to the first season of the Defenders, particularly, Madame Goa. They proceed to revive Elektra, who is not the same character from the previous show, and Daredevil loses sight on his mission. Unfortunately, this is where the show falls off. It's not until episode 3 that Daredevil realizes Elektra is alive and the entire show becomes a show about Daredevil and Elektra. Where the Defenders fails most is when Daredevil is not on screen. The show feels flat and everyone else feels like addition to Daredevils story, not their own characters. They felt unimportant as a viewer and I would feel anxious just waiting for Daredevil to come back on screen. This is more true of some characters over others.
IronFist is the weakest character of them all. It's a wonder that he can spend years honing his mental and physical skills, can defeat a dragon, and he still fall flat as a character. It's not so much Finn Jones fault, but more so, the creators of this show. They did not study the source material and gave Ironfist a disappointing start as a character in his own season, in which his character improves only slightly. He has issues fighting normal people and at one point loses a fist fight convincingly to Daredevil. Unfortunately, Iron fist is not the only shallow character.
Both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones also have glaring flaws. Luke Cage is more of a follow the leader type of character. If the majority group says they will go left, he doesn't ask questions and he goes left. He never manages to assert himself or show depth. Jessica is the needless rebel that doesn’t make the best decisions for the group. She makes decisions to rebel against the group mentality. All these characters fall flat compared to Daredevil and it's kind of a shame because they all have much more depth in their comic book stories.
The fight scenes are another problem with this show. Particularly, when Finn Jones has no way to hide the fact that he's the one doing the martial arts. His martial arts acting is once again an eye sore. His fighting ability is all acrobatics and it shows how weak his character is when he struggles against the Hand's cronies. Luke Cage has zero fighting ability which seems okay since he’s as strong as a rhino, but just seeing him flail around like he’s Frankenstein is almost comical. Unfortunately, much the same can be said about Jessica Jones. In the end, the poor quality of the fight choreography feels shallow.
End result the season felt rushed at some points particularly near the end of the season. There is a particular substance The Hand is after, but it is never explained why it is required. The devices used to bring Elektra back to life is never touched on, as well. Sub characters are tossed in the show to demonstrate that these characters still exist in the universe but have little to no impact on the main characters. It feels like little thought and effort was put into really developing what The Defenders needed to fight. Even the 5 key members of the Hand seem over hill and underwhelming. They seem to be taken by surprise and easily handled in certain ways.
The show is only ever alive when Daredevil is in it. When he's missing, the show feels strung along and that's a real shame. You’re waiting to see him again and in a show that's supposed to have four main characters, it's pretty disappointing. I give this show 5/10 grails.
As always, feel free to follow us on the social media of your choosing -Facebook/Twitter/Instagram and let us know what you think. I know that we might not agree with everyone but we would love to hear your thoughts.