Spoilers for season one of The Defenders
A superhero team-up used to be a special affair but with the Avengers, Justice League and Suicide Squad it’s become the mark of the genre, the world’s colliding and with Marvel that world is usually New York City.
The short description of The Defenders series is The Defenders v The Hand, a worldwide organisation whose main goal has been power, destruction for the past thousand years and now all of their energy is fallen on New York City.
Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the Iron Fist respectively have been laying the ground work for the team-up since the get-go. This sort of groundwork makes The Defenders work as well as it does, shorter than the usual Marvel Netflix show but packs a mighty punch all the same.
A lot of the storylines work into both Daredevil and the Iron Fist who invested a lot of their show time into creating the mythology behind the Hand. Colleen Wang and the Stick were the main secondary characters to cross over and their relationship to the hand explored as well.
Luke Cage and Jessica Jones did feel sidelined at times, Luke’s main issue was protecting Harlem and Jessica wasn’t too sure whether or not she actually wanted to be in the group. I have to say that Krysten Ritter was ultimately the scene stealer. One of Marvel’s saving graces is the dry- Whedonesque comedy that offsets the terror the characters are feeling, Jessica Jones, had that in spades and ultimately saved the show from being overwrought and ‘edgy.’
The arrival of Sigourney Weaver as one of the fingers of the hand was ultimately well played. I think I would have enjoyed her more if she’d made guest appearances in more of the shows prior to the team-up. But ultimately Weaver’s Alexandra is a deeply conflicted woman with a reason behind what she’s doing and a goal in mind.
Elektra’s return as the Black Sky with a memory is beautifully played out. Although in the same way as the rest of the Fingers of the Hand pointed out: after she hesitates once killing The Defenders wouldn’t you just find another weapon? But her relationship with Matt is explored in a way that I don’t think we got in the second season of Daredevil.
As they go down fighting in the Midland Circle building any of us who have ever watched a Marvel show before realise that the Matthew Murdock death is a fakeout….
All in all The Defenders is an ultimately satisfying look at a superhero team-up that balances as well as an eight episode season can manage. However, the world we live in now the crossover event becomes a building block to something more it’ll be interesting to see how our superheroes deal with the aftermath of these events in their respective shows.