Monday, August 21, 2017


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I just finished watching The Defenders yesterday evening—all 8 episodes of it.  There are a lot of things that need to be said about this series, but since this is a spoiler-free review, most of them have to wait.  For now it’s enough to say that The Defenders offers an excellent conclusion to the first “phase” of the Marvel Netflix shows and offers a few clues of what we should look for when the characters return, starting with The Punisher in November.

The series does a good job of blending the styles and tones of the different shows together in the first couple episodes, before the heroes start crossing paths.  The soundtrack and lighting—even the subject of the clip—make it abundantly clear which hero it is following.  This starts becoming less noticeable as the series progresses and the heroes begin to work together more, until all of their styles are connected together at the end.

The main attraction—and the main star—of the series is, of course, all of the character interactions.  We were all expecting the Defenders themselves to have some good interactions, and they do.  They all get paired off together at least once over the course of the series to play off each other, with Matt and Jess working together to investigate the Hand on several occasions, and Luke and Danny getting their “bromance” off to a decent start.  During the fighting we see how all of their skills complement each other, particularly the two similarly-trained ninjas and the two super-strong brawlers.

However, we also get some character interactions that we weren’t really expecting:  while the heroes are working together, their supporting characters are all stuck together for most of the series, giving some interesting interactions between them, particularly noticeable with Karen and Trish (the two “investigative journalists”) and with Misty and Colleen (the two almost-heroes).

Of the four heroes, Matt is the only one with a “secret identity” to protect; the others haven’t really tried to hide anything.  This becomes a significant element in the series, as Matt’s struggle to work with the others mirrors his desire to protect his identity and friends.  Karen and Foggy also are placed in an awkward position, as they can’t talk about everything as well as the others for fear of exposing Matt’s dual identity.

There is something of a slow start to the series as the four heroes must all be reintroduced, along with some accounting for “how they spent their summer vacation.”  This is to be expected.  Where something like The Avengers covered all of that within 10 minutes or so of screen time, The Defenders takes its time with it, devoting the entire first episode to introducing the characters before pairing them up by the end of the second episode and bringing all four together by the end of the third.  I appreciate this “natural” approach to bringing the heroes together.

There are a ton of amazing action scenes throughout the series, though a few of them suffer from poor lighting (or it might just be my computer).  The best by far is probably in the season finale when all the heroes are fighting against all the villains with the fate of the City hanging in the balance (is that a spoiler?  I feel like it isn’t since it’s what we would expect from a series like this.).

We can’t talk about the conclusion of the miniseries and how it sets up each of the characters’ next appearances just yet, but know that this is probably required viewing if you are a fan of an individual series.  Each of the characters is put into a slightly different position at the end of the series—Daredevil and Iron Fist, in particular.

Also, be sure to stay after the credits of the last episode (even though Netflix will go to the main screen).

All in all, I highly recommend this series if you haven’t watched it yet.  If you have, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below (but without spoilers)!

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