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Marvel's The Defenders: Season 1 (2017)
Critic Consensus: 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.
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as Jessica Jones
as Luke Cage
as Danny Rand
as Malcolm Ducasse
as Trish Walker
as Jeri Hogarth
as Karen Page
as Foggy Nelson
as Colleen Wing
as Claire Temple
as Misty Knight
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The Netflix/Marvel house style might skew deliberately dark and gritty, but these repeated melees in office corridors, Chinese restaurants and building sites had the chopsocky exuberance of Xena: Warrior Princess.
Though Defenders has its flaws, Marvel has accomplished most of the mission.
Netflix's Marvel series were hits because of subtlety and depth ... The Avengers formula might print money at the multiplex, but when translated to the streaming service's more grounded corner of its connected universe, bigger isn't always better.
I'm not adverse to a slow build or having these characters come together in an organic way, but I can't help be feel The Defenders -- despite always being a part of the plan -- wasn't helped by the arcs of the individual shows.
This is part of the issue with TV built for binge-watching: It sacrifices narrative momentum, knowing it can always defer the drama to the next episode. But it ends up harming series overall.
The first fight scene, when it eventually comes, is giddy with excitement. It is fast and fun and tightly choreographed and, like the airport fight in Civil War, there is the undeniable thrill of watching kids fling their action figures together.
Audience Reviews for Marvel's The Defenders: Season 1
While not as deeply grandiose as other series in its universe the Defenders packs a mean punch. The first season's stylish action, cultivating characters and drama make for a very solid intro to Marvel's new super-group of vigilantes. 4/5
The team-up show that everyone has been waiting the past few years for has finally arrived. Daredevil has been a show that is universally cherished for the most part, and most people seem to feel the same way about Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, but Iron Fist being the lead-up to this team-up was quite the letdown. Myself included, everyone deserved to be nervous for this new series, due to the fact that the hype was starting to die off, but that's precisely why I think I loved it so much. If you're someone who's been worried about this being a disappointment, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. The Defenders may just be the best show that Marvel has released on Netflix for multiple reasons, and here's why.
Unlike the shows that preceded it, The Defenders is a breezy eight episodes, rather than the 13 that we've grown accustomed to. This definitely worked in its favour, making for far less extended stretches of dialogue and a much quicker pace. Picking up pretty soon after the conclusion of each one of these characters final episodes, as soon as a conspiracy is started in New York, Matthew Murdoch, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Danny Rand all find themselves pursuing the same clan. The Hand is a clan from the show Daredevil, and you'll find many of the plot elements from each of the respective shows flowing over. The show is solid throughout its first couple of episodes, but once the team finally begins to converse and work together, it became pure gold.
We've seen Luke Cage and Jessica Jones interact throughout their respective shows, but Danny Rand and Matt Murdoch have been pretty much on their own until now. The second they all share the screen together, you'll be sold from the start. From emotional ties, to comedy, to pure awesome action, this team is well worth your time. They are all so different and eventually grow on each other, making for a emotionally satisfying conclusion to the first season. To be quite honest, just like I felt at the end of the first Avengers film, I just wish they would continue working as a team instead of going back to their own shows, because it just works so much better this way.
While I don't look back on this first season and remember any glaring issues, it's not without its cliches and tropes that the Marvel brand has been known for lately. Sigourney Weaver began as a very solid villain and I was looking forward to seeing her arc grow, but she's not quite utilized enough to really make herself memorable in this universe, but that might just be me. As far as the climax goes, it's wonderfully constructed and a blast to watch, but the continuity is thrown out the window and there are quite a few clerical errors made that I just couldn't ignore. Aside from those gripes, this is a very well-constructed first season, showcasing loveable characters (yes, even in Danny Rand this time around).
In the end, this first season of The Defenders feels more like an elongated film, culminating the events of everything that has come before it. There are emotionally motivational moments, empowering and well-choreographed fight sequences, along with some extremely well-written episodes, and pacing that will have you clicking onto the next episode at a very rapid rate. This season can be watched in one sitting, easily. If you have enjoyed any of these characters in their shows and have made it through the franchise thus far, then I think this series will blow your socks off in terms of entertainment in comparison. It suffers from a few classic Marvel tropes, but that's not much of a complaint. The first season of The Defenders is fantastic from start to finish.
Charlie Cox as Daredevil and Krysten Reinner as Jessica Jones definitely shine, and Sigournea Weiver does her best out of a mediocre villan, but the chesmitry between the leads, although pleasent, is not coherent enough to sustain a weak narrative too focused on its flawed elements too be the epic team-up that has been promised when the far superior Daredevil and Jessica Joned shows came along.
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