Netflix has seen a major transformation since it’s inception. What began as a DVD direct to home rental service, has become a juggernaut of movies and TV shows that you can view for only a monthly service fee. I know this, you know this, even my Dad knows this. So what was the next logical step in their evolution? Original content. We’ve had the good, such as Stranger Things, House of Cards, and GLOW. We’ve had the bad, Real Rob and Flaked come to mind. And finally the weird, Between and the OA. Finding it’s place among the great, good, and bad has been the different Marvel series, which includes Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist. Daredevil and Luke Cage I put in the great category, Jessica Jones is just off beat and gritty enough to sit comfortably inside the good category, while Iron Fist is just bad. So when all 4 heroes joined forces this past weekend to become The Defenders, I set to task binge watching of the show. My only expectations were that I’d be entertained. Was I? Yes, with some hiccups along the way it was a good series to watch. Here is the great, good, and bad of the series.
GREAT- Daredevil, Luke Cage
Given that these two heroes are the best 2 series so far, this didn’t come as a surprise to me. Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock, a.k.a Daredevil, a.k.a The Man Without Fear, a.k.a The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen (I just realized he’s giving Daenerys Targaryen a run for her money with multiple names) is solid as the de facto leader of the team. Mike Colter returns as Luke Cage, an underrated hero in the Marvel universe. Between Daredevil’s struggle to keep his real life as a lawyer and his masked hero separate in the story line works well for the series. Seeing Luke Cage released from prison starts off the series on solid footing as well. I love Mike Colter’s swag. He has been brilliant in this role from the moment he was introduced in the Jessica Jones series.
GOOD – Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandria, Jessica Jones, Coleen Wing, Elektra
Being the leader of the Hand and seemingly immortal, Sigourney Weaver chews up every scene she is in. Callous, in control, and just a touch insane. Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones is growing on me. Foul mouthed and boozing most of the time, Ritter brings a “do I have to?” attitude to the character that works for the most part. The characters of Coleen Wing and Elektra are at their most basic two sides of the same coin. Martial arts experts, students in weapons, and a touch of crazy works for the two. I wish we had more Wing, less Elektra. We did get a tease for another Marvel property that Wing is a part of, but I won’t spoil that here.
BAD – Iron Fist, Plot Line
It came as no surprise to me that every time Iron Fist is on scene a low groan came out of the back of my throat. Marvel could have done SO MUCH with this character. Instead they slapped a generic white dude that looks exactly like the comic book into the role, no offense Finn Jones (who I had to look up). Huge missed opportunity on their behalf. I also wasn’t too thrilled with the plot line. Three of these characters have had successful series already, one a big misstep. The joining of the whole gang needed a bigger problem too solve than some random bad guys and a few explosives. Let down for sure.
There are some other highlights worth noting. Scott Glenn’s Stick is cryptic as always. Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple is compelling. Three of the heroes riding the subway was my favorite scene. Could they have done better? Absolutely. Will they get a second shot at this? I think the success of the second season’s of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage will answer that question. I also think it would behoove the writer’s to bring in another hero… Oh look! I see you over there filming Jon Bernthal! So yes, make the problem and danger bigger next time, have Iron Fist be less of the main guy, and bring the Punisher into the fold and I believe you have a successful series. We will have to wait and see. As for the first one? I’ll give it a B- on the report card. Worth binging for the simple fact that there are some cool fight scenes with all the heroes, and at 8 episodes that range from 42 to 50 minutes, it’s easy to get through in an afternoon.