Marvel’s Defenders: Fanservice Exercise?

Marvel diehard fans are probably going to lose their britches over this post, but a man’s got to do what a man has got to do. Which is blog in this case about the American Netflix web television miniseries, Marvel’s The Defenders, or simply The Defenders.

The series is based on the Marvel Comics characters DaredevilJessica JonesLuke Cage and Iron Fist, who form a superhero team to fight a common foe called  the Hand. And while I’m not really a fan of the last three characters, I happen to like the Daredevil and the actor playing it, Charlie Cox.  I think Cox absolutely killed the character in the Netflix Daredevil series (See Post The Undergo Movie). And so I was willing to give The Defenders a chance because of him.

Released with the full season of eight episodes on Netflix, the plot which is centered around the events of the second season of Daredevil, has  my hero,  Matt Murdock / Daredevil team up with the vigilantes, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) to defend their beloved city.

The series also stars Élodie Yung, the character Elektra Natchios from Season 2 of Netflix Daredevil and Sigourney Weaver, the woman that made us all fall in love with the Alien species from the film “Aliens” (See post Alien Covenant: Robots Vs Aliens). Yung plays a weapon of the Hand and Weaver is the leader of the evil organization. (My, she got old!).

The review agregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 75% approval rating with an average rating of 6.52/10 based on 71 reviews. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Marvel’s The Defenders further develops well-known characters in an action-packed arc whose payoff packs more than enough of a punch to offset its flaws.” And Metacritic also indicated “generally favorable reviews”.

The early screening of the first episode at San Diego Comic-Con was met by “applause throughout” from the crowd. The reason for the excitement, I’m yet to comprehend. Because if there’s anything creative or unique about this new tag team, I’m yet to spot it. It’s clear that the show’s nothing more than Netflix ploy to get these four superheroes together for another exercise in fanservice.

While some critics praise the showrunners, Petrie and Ramirez for “upping their own game, honoring the best parts of every series, and elevating the franchise“, I’m inclined to differ. The Defenders appears to have fallen into the category of a cliché superhero franchise with forgettable characters, unimpressive action sequences, terrible cast chemistry, disappointing villains, and a wearisome plot.

Perhaps it has something to do with the bland characterization of the superheroes; Jones, Cage and Iron Fist. I found absolutely nothing exhilarating about the three. Particularly Johnny Rand, whose character I found ludicrous, annoying and irritating. I mean his claim to super power status is some fist that glows and can punch real hard. Really? Super unimpressed face.

And introducing some bad ass villains in this same ‘ole tedious tale of the superheroes saving their city would have definitely energized the series, but rather we got some Chinese guy, an African dude, an ageing old woman and a fashionable Weaver.

I should also mention that I haven’t seen such unexciting action sequences in a while. One would think that with villains that supposedly defied death for centuries and a deadly weapon, our heroes would get the shorter end of the fight now and end, in their quest to deny the protagonists their ultimate quest for immortality. But the fight scenes turned out to be a long drag.

And as for The Hand’s deadly weapon “Black Sky” played by Yung. She’s so “deadly” that she could only dispatch of Daredevil’s blind mentor, Stick. And Weaver too? Though I didn’t see the precedence for that. Felt more like an unnecessary twist to stork the embers of an otherwise tiresome storyline.

Even Murdock and Elektra’s climax fight was hardly thrilling. With TVLine naming Cox and Yung as “Performers of the Week” for the week of August 20, 2017, for their performances in the fight. The site described their final fight as “an emotionally compelling two-hander” and “a lovers’ quarrel like no other”, with Cox bringing warmth to the scene and Yung being “brutally blunt” with her line deliveries. Seriously? I must have missed all that because their epic fight didn’t feel like a life or death battle between lovers to me.

The only memorable episode for me would be four “The Chinese Restaurant Scene”, where our heroes make the decision to stand and fight together. The episodes before and after kind of just blended into each other, and not in a good way. These heroes maybe stronger together but in no way were they entertaining together. H**l no! Netflix should have just left my Daredevil on his solo act. But at least I got to console myself with seeing Cox put in another great performance. He does make an adorable Daredevil. Huge grin.

It would appear the studio may be looking at The Defenders crossing over with the MCU films and the ABC television series, since they all exist in the same universe. Like with The Avengers, and Captain America  in Thor 2 . But with better characterization and a more energizing storyline, we hope.

There you have it; Jollyhood’s take on Marvel’s The Defenders. I know I’m definitely going to be hearing from Marvel fans. LOL! Do have a beautiful week. XoXo guys!

 

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