What’s up crazy kids, Mr5Centz coming at ya with a new review just for you! I’ll be giving you my “two cents” in this review, but the rating scale will be rated out of 5 (4/5 cents) since my name is Mr5… well you get it. So let’s get into it!
To avoid any possible spoilers and gain context I suggest you watch the episode prior to reading…
Marvel’s long anticipated Defenders series has finally been released on Netflix and is generating plenty of buzz. But is that buzz good or bad? Well, I have to be honest, I haven’t paid much attention as I wanted to watch it with no prior opinions influencing my own. I think it’s only fair that I let you know my ranking of each character so that you have an idea where I stand as far as the characters and shows go, so here it is…
I am well aware that this list may very well differ from yours and that is okay. I think most of you would put Daredevil at number one, Iron Fist at four (terrible early reviews really seemed to hurt it), and spots two and three are up for grabs. I hold a very low opinion of the Iron Fist series and character as I think it was full of wasted time and missed opportunity. But I digress; now you know where I stand on the series’ coming into this new team up event.
I finally had the privilege to watch episode one, and man oh man… this episode bored the hell out of me from start to finish. First off, they make a bold decision to kick off the episode with Iron Fist, which I can admire because this is the one character that not quite everybody is on board with, so kudos to the showrunners for their boldness. Unfortunately it’s a futile effort. It begins with a man and a woman sword fighting in the rain, then Iron Fist pops in out of nowhere to break up the fight and starts fighting the woman (who is assumed to be the “bad guy” of the two), and little to my surprise, he kind of loses.
I swear, they are having a hell of a time selling me on his martial arts prowess when he seems to always draw or lose more than he wins fights. Not only is this fight poor, but it’s poorly directed. I know the dim lighting and rain is supposed to add a unique atmosphere and drama to the battle, but they found a way to do both wrong. It’s edited poorly to the point where you’re not exactly sure what’s going on, but a part of me believes it’s edited that way because they’re trying to cover up bad choreography. This strikes me as so odd because Daredevil is FULL of fantastic fight sequences with great fight choreography. It’s a damn shame.
Oh yeah, and I didn’t even mention that this fight scene that they open up the show with is the only action sequence in the entire episode. So I’m already prepared for this series to be a slow burn, which can be good for certain stories, but when you are teaming up a bunch of superheroes the last thing you want to do is sit around for exposition.
Speaking of sitting around, It became very clear to me that 90% of this episode is meant to get us reacquainted with all the new characters and show us what they’re up to. Nothing wrong with this really, but a lot of time is wasted doing things that probably aren’t going to matter as the show goes on. I also feel the need to warn you that none of our Defenders spend any time together at any point in this episode.
Something I noticed almost from the start is that I don’t quite like Jessica Jones nearly as much as I thought I did. Her whole schtick seems to have run its course for me, and I gave her nothing but praise at the time her series was released. The “I’m a tortured soul with a heart of gold, but I’m still gonna be a jerk to everybody” thing is kind of tired to me. There’s a part of me that thinks the reason I feel this way is because of the lack of Kilgrave’s (Mr. Purple) presence looming. Obviously there is more time for me to fall back in love with Jessica Jones, but the time that I spent with her I did not enjoy. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt because of how stellar her solo series was.
Sigourney Weaver’s mysterious character, Alexandra was given a very lackluster intro that is probably going to account for much of her motivation for the series. It brings nothing new to the table for villains and is mostly to remind us she’s going to be a part of this. I can’t say her screentime on this episode did anything for me. I am no more excited to see what she’s up to than I was prior to. Time will tell if she is a worthy villain.
Now we get to the stronger parts of the episode. Daredevil has the unique advantage of having two full solo seasons under his belt, and at this point there is little they can do to make the audience like him any less. A good job has been done carrying over the Catholic guilt that is such an integral part of this character. I’m interested to see how he plays off of the other characters since he is the most seasoned hero. Other than that we get some of Murdock being a lawyer which is interesting but there’s nothing particularly memorable about it. We just get a chance to see how good he is at his job. Nothing much but the same old Matt Murdock we know and love.
Luke Cage is without a doubt my favorite of the defenders. He really encompasses the “with great power comes great responsibility” sentiment. I think more than any of the other Defenders, Luke Cage has fully embraced his role as a hero. He is from the get go eager to help people and even offers to help Misty with her police work if she needs it. He’s not one to hide from the shadows, he is unafraid and ready to fight evil, and as corny as it sounds, it is awesome, and we see snippets of that in the scenes he has in this episode. Cage being my favorite character may play a part in this, but I do think that his scenes were the best in the episode. They were very atmospheric to the point that before you saw his face you could tell that he’d be showing up soon. I believe Luke Cage has a unique identity that makes it stand out from the rest, and a big part of that is the fantastic choices of music that it features. Just about every scene he’s in comes with a relevant song that throws you in his world and makes you feel a part of it. They’ve done a great job shifting him into this larger world, even if it’s in an underwhelming episode.
Overall as I said from the beginning this episode was mostly a bore-fest. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything to life, but not much. Iron Fist still needs a lot of development, and it seems they’re trying to give it to us. Whether it works or not is still up for debate. All of the characters generally remain the same as we left them. The episode ends on a cliffhanger of sorts that lets us know our heroes are going to be crossing paths very soon. Then we’ll really get going. If this episode is a reflection of how the series will be as a whole, I am very worried. I have to be honest. But I’m holding out faith that, like most slow burns, it pays off going forward. So that’s about all i have to say about Defenders episode one. Here comes my rating… are you ready? I don’t even know if I’m ready and I already know what I’m going to say–type…
Defenders: Episode 1 is a 2/5 cents
Sorry folks, I think it was obvious I didn’t think very highly of this episode, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get better! My hope is the stakes raise heavily in the next episode, and we get proper character crossovers. It’s my hope. Anyways, thank you for sticking with me on this review! Hopefully I have nothing but praise to give going forward. If you want to hear more from me, go ahead and follow me on Twitter (@DJNickelz92)! If you want to read more of my writing, you can find me here at Article Asylum as well as at Moviepilot! Until next time, folks. I’m Mr5Centz, and that was my two cents on the season premier of Defenders!