In a last-ditch effort to consume something around the time it came out, I recently watched Marvel’s Defenders on Netflix. Like many people, I was excited to see the four heroes of New York come together.
After finishing the series last night, I have to give it a “fine” rating. I didn’t think it was bad, as some people have thought, but my overwhelming feeling after finishing it was that I wanted more.
First, to the good. I thought the show was entertaining enough. There were a few places where I even watched episodes back-to-back, which qualifies as “binging” for me. Seeing the interactions between the characters was pretty entertaining, especially as there’s a big gap in personality between heroes like Luke Cage and the Iron Fist.
But while the show was entertaining, it felt to me like it could have been so much more. I’ve written before about how the Avengers movie could never be as good as a solo hero movie. You simply can’t focus on any one character to develop them well enough.
I’m pretty certain that with a movie, that will always be true. With such a limited amount of time, it pretty much goes against physical constraints.
I’m not sure it couldn’t work with the additional time of a TV series though. Especially considering the relatively slow start of Defenders, I was excited that I might get to see four character arcs well-done. But by the end it had become your typical rumble-in-the-bronx formula. I was entertained by it well enough, but there was an opportunity to make something great, and I think Netflix missed that.
I don’t want to go into spoilers, but it seems to me that the only characters who really changed through the series are the Iron Fist and maybe Daredevil. Granted, we’re going to be seeing more of all of these characters, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
My other great complaint was with the depiction of The Hand in the series. They’ve been built up so much over the years, and with them supposedly at their most powerful, it suddenly feels like they’ve been powered down several times over. There was an opportunity to make even better villains, and that opportunity was certainly missed.
Overall, if you’re a fan of what’s happened so far and want to keep up on the story, or you just want some fairly mindless entertainment and fight scenes, give Defenders a watch. If you’re looking for something more, I might recommend a pass.