The low budget Avengers yet somehow better (Defenders Episodes 1-4 Advanced TV Review)

 

Long time fans of Power Man and Iron Fist, Daredevil, and Jessica Jones, will recall prospects of getting a group of them together for a television show was a simply mind blowing concept. One of Marvel’s greatest power couples (Jessica Jones and Luke Cage who are married in the comics), one of their best bromances in Luke Cage and Danny Rand, The Immortal Iron Fist, and one of the greatest street level protectors in Daredevil all together in one television experience. Even the thought of these four coming together seemed impossible. Then Daredevil premiered on Netflix in 2015, with Jessica Jones following soon after and the announcement of a greater television landscape seemed to be coming into fruition. Now with The Defenders not that far from release, it’s time to see if a blind lawyer, a bullet proof dogooder, an alcoholic P.I. and a young man with a mystical destiny can be the heroes New York desperately needs.

 

Special Thanks to Netflix for making these first 4 episodes available to bring the most honest review from us at Shoot The Breeze Comics.

Daredevil was presented to us with 2 seasons of tragedy, growth, friendship, pain, loss, and overall amazing story filled with action. Jessica Jones was presented the same formula but with a slower pace and seemingly extended moments, yet was still faithful to the stories written in the comics. Luke Cage and Iron Fist were the two that seemed lacking full focus. The former having a very promising start and would have easily been called second best next to Daredevil but fell apart story wise midway through. The latter didn’t really know what it wanted to be and easily became a chore to finish even from the most loyal fans.

 

Defenders, to much surprise, redeems both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, while also boosting the already promising stories of Daredevil and Jessica Jones. From attorney Matt Murdock(Charlie Cox) assisting Jones (Krysten Ritter) in her investigations to Cage(Mike Colter) coming to blows with Danny Rand(Finn Jones) because of a misunderstanding. The interactions engaged between these characters just go to show how well these actors portray these iconic heroes. Especially noted is Mike Colter and Finn Jones who bring the blooming brotherhood of Power Man and Iron Fist to life spectacularly. Combined with the roads traveled for the four of them to assemble, the team brought together here has such a well executed dynamic and chemistry that it rivals the Avengers in their first movie.

 

What’s quite ironic about this series is of how almost in a way, they trick you. All four of the previous shows had sort of a slow build up to get things going. While Defenders lets the slow burn explode, quite literally after episode one, then throws you into an exciting and compelling narrative that you wish you could complete. Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez, the showrunners of the second season of Daredevil and now The Defenders, do an amazing job of balancing the stories that this show has to juggle. From catching us up with Luke after he leaves Sea Gate Prison and Danny going on a quest to defeat his sworn enemies, to Matt continuing his career as an attorney and Jessica investigating a case that’s affecting the entire city, and somehow still making time for side characters and villains!

Villains? Yes villains. Alexandra, played by Sigourney Weaver, isn’t really a compelling villain and would more than likely fail, if it werent for the fact that she’s played by Weaver. She commands the room each time she enters. Almost dwarfing our heroes in comparison at times. Yet somehow, they manage to keep it an even playing fields by the talent of the actors opposing her, and the interjections provided by side characters. Yes Alexandra is important because of her role with The Hand, the evil organization that has appeared in both Daredevil and Iron Fist, but if it weren’t for Weaver’s performance, this character would fall flat.

Side characters especially deserve note here, with members of each show’s supporting cast make appearances throughout the 4 episodes and provide growth for themselves, while also not overstepping boundaries which is always important. Special shout outs going to  Simone Missick as Misty Knight, and  Élodie Yung as Electra, (Disclaimer: Not a spoiler. Electra’s return was announced months prior to the shows release and has been shown in trailers leading up to the show.) both women represent perfectly their comic counterparts and Yung especially who has improved drastically since season 2 of Daredevil. Missick, continuing her role as a detective, is just trying to protect the city she loves within the law rather than outside of it, which is perfect add in for a show like this. Where forces too powerful for the police to deal with, still make time for said police to somehow have an impact.

 

As a whole, Marvel’s Defenders first four episodes and frankly baffling. How the prior two Netflix shows almost seemed to show signs of laziness and lack of focus, have no doubled down on what made them great originally and all 4 previous shows in different ways. This show knows what it’s supposed to be and doesn’t go leaps and bounds to be what it’s not. Is a street level Avengers tv show, that truth be told, has more heart and chemistry than the original Avengers movie. The movie itself was so focused on just getting to the heroes teaming up. Defenders does more than that. Growing the characters involved,revealing how much they matter even in a world with God’s and monsters. And with that realization, comes a slowly forming bond that succeeds Avengers by a fair margin.

The only fear looming is if this show can stay grounded and keep the momentum it has going. With 4 hours left to be revealed, this presentation so far has been well worth the wait but can easily be ruined if the focus is lost. Marvel’s Defenders arrives on Netflix August 16, when we will learn if forces of evil can stand up to these unlikely heroes.

 

Rating: 3.5/5

 

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James Portis
Director of Operations
What’s up folks? I’m James Portis. Director of Operations here at Shoot The Breeze Comics. I am the overseer of all that is Shoot The Breeze and I am in charge of everything media from podcasts, liveshows, and social media. In addition I also write for our review team. I cover DC, Marvel, and Valiant Titles