The Defenders (and the other Netflix Marvel stuff)

I need to talk to someone about this stuff. My Wife left me (not literally) after Jessica Jones, so I watched Cage and IF solo, and then the Defenders. No-one I know on a daily basis has Netflix, or is inclined to use it to watch these shows, so I am adrift. I need help. Probably to stop watching but I find good in all the shows, even Iron Fist. Honestly. We all know he’s a but rubbish but the stuff around it had merit. Well some of it did.

There was a thread back in May that mentioned Defenders but I was hoping to read what others have thought about the Netflix output in general, as well as if they felt the latest show worked.

Plus, Punisher soon(ish)!

Lists are frowned upon but here is mine anyway:

DD S2 (first half, mostly Punisher)
Jessica Jones
Luke Cage
DD S2 (second half, mostly Elektra)
Iron Fist

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I personally have enjoyed damn near everything Marvel has done on netflix with Iron Fist probably being the only thing I wasn’t close to 100% sold on even that I found enjoyable for the most part. Maybe I’m just a hapless fanboy at this point but I have a hard time coming up with stuff from anything outside of Iron Fist that I actually disliked. I generally found myself enjoying the shows when they were more grounded and held back on the fantastical stuff, which my list probably reflects.

Jessica Jones
DD S2 (first half is outstanding, second half merely good)
Luke Cage
Iron Fist

All in all I think what they’ve done since Daredevil season 1 is pretty damn spectacular, especially when you take the general quality of super hero tv shows into consideration. I love that they use Daredevil season 1 as an excuse to make what is basically modern crime noir. I love how Luke Cage is basically a reimagining of 70’s blaxploitation and how it totally knows that it is and plays with that heritage. I love how Jessica Jones deals with issues of abuse and trauma… god there’s just so much great stuff.

Iron Fist and Defenders is good too.

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Jessica Jones is the only one I’ve properly watched. It is probably the best show I will never bring myself to rewatch. At the end when she broke his god damn neck I was literally sobbing with… relief? it was incredibly weird. That show was emotionally draining. I don’t know how anyone had the energy to binge the whole thing in a single weekend.
My dream for season 2 is basically just a Case of the Week show but I’m not sure that’s very likely. Also: (chanting) hellCAT hellCAT hellCAT

I watched the first episode of daredevil when it came out and decided it Wasn’t For Me.
I got several episodes deep into Iron Fist (5-7?) and just, gave up. I don’t know. Danny isn’t very compelling, to me.
I meant to give Luke Cage a shot but didn’t get round to it? Maybe I should?

The Defenders is probably fine but I can’t see me watching it coming in with just JJ under my belt, you know.

I think you would probably be OK. DD and Elektra have history, Cage and Jones have history, everyone dislikes Danny Rand. Job done.

Jones was certainly the most draining, for me.

I feel like Defenders was too much of a generic superhero punch-fest. We already have the Avengers and literally every Marvel movie for that. The other Netflix shows had a lot more sunstance.

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The problem with Danny is that the most interesting stuff you can do with him as a character necessitates him having a long arc with Luke Cage and the idea of a rich white guy who loves listening to rap music while appropriating asian culture having a team with a black guy. They touch on it briefly in Defenders but don’t really go anywhere with it other than to lay the groundwork for a friendship that will probably lead into its own spinoff, so I still feel like Dannys best stuff is ahead of him.

Due to the negative impressions around Iron Fist I never gave that a shot before moving onto The Defenders, but I’ve enjoyed all the other stuff, especially Jessica Jones.
I agree it was emotionally draining, which makes it hard to re-watch, but the intensely uncomfortable looming premise and the noir style presentation made it really compelling and suspense, I don’t know where I expect them to bring season 2.

I thought The Defenders was a fun romp but lacked what made the individual series compelling, sans the characters, and I don’t think the Hand stuff is interesting, so it was all kind of hinging on the character dynamics for me, which felt alright, albeit a bit forced at certain points.

Here’s my rank, I guess.
Jessica Jones (s1)
DareDevil (s2 a) - the Punisher bits
Luke Cage (s1)
The Defenders (s1)
DareDevil (s1)
DareDevil (s2 b) - i.e. the rest of it

N/A - Iron Fist
I guess I should give it a go?

Danny isn’t appropriating Asian culture, he was an immigrant that was raised in it.

I think the issue with Iron Fist is twofold. First, it is easy to knock the guy, but Finn Jones just isn’t very good. Yes the producers/whoever made the decision to cast someone outside of the “conventional” martial-artist, but he doesn’t act very well and can’t handle the fight stuff. They seemed to have realised that (big fight at the end of Defenders, camera’s pan around all the main guys doing crazy stuff and IF just straight out punches one guy, then another, like he is in a bar fight). Second, boardroom shenanigans just isn’t very interesting, and that was a lot of the arc in the first season. When you don’t have a good bad guy, things go south, or they rely on a strong main character, so IF falls flat.

It’s my take, anyway. I would have hoped for more in season 2, but he doesn’t get any better in Defenders so not sure much can be expected.

TBF neither Jessica nor Luke are very good fighters either. Some of Jessica’s fights especially look bad. But they get over it because of their powers. Iron Fist is meant to be THE martial arts guy so it’s pretty jarring when he doesn’t look great. Daredevil has the advantage of wearing a mask so that they can have a stunt guy do all the fights and not have to rely on editing and shadows. I was hoping Danny would have a mask at the end of Defenders to solve the problem.

That’s true, but I fee like when you consider the origins of the comic and how it came to be made to cash in on the 70’s kung fu movie craze (same thing with Luke Cage and Blaxploitation) We’re still talking about a white character that is better at kung fu than the “authentic” martial artists, being marketed to what was predominately a white male audience. I get what you are saying and I think your point is valid, but I still can’t shake a small part of me that feels like something is off, in some way. It could be Finn Jones’ performance but I don’t really mind him, honestly. He’s not close to Ritter, Cox or Colter but I think he’s perfectly fine.

Maybe my biggist beef with Iron Fist is that they actually have a chance to talk about some of these things in the same way Luke Cage regularly poked fun at and acknowledged their origin in blaxploitation, but Iron Fist just plays it so straight. A Heroes For Hire arc would be able to deal with some of these things, which is why I’d like to see it.

I also completely agree with you on the fight scenes. I don’t watch those marvel shows for the action (except for maybe Daredevil), because it frankly just isn’t that good most of the time. Iron Fist could have been that but it just sort of fell flat.

Yeah that’s my point. You can go outside what many people’s image of IF is, but he needs to be a kick-ass fighter, whoever you cast. It doesn’t look like he can cut it, so it stands out even more in Defenders. As said, it is easy to knock the guy but that fight scene early in IF in the files room speaks volumes. Cut after cut after cut.

I am still hoping, but it’s not been great compared to the other casting.

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Iron Fist was actually created as a deconstruction of that trope not a glorification of it.

Really? I had no idea, my understanding was that Marvel just wanted a Kung Fu franchise as wanted their protagonist to be a white guy to make it more paletable to their fanbase? Can you explain how it deconstructed the tropes or are there any good articles on the subject?

I thought the Defenders was okay but it annoyed me they fought in the dark a lot, although it could have been the tv I was watching on but like seriously…it was hard to see! The fight choreography was meh and I didn’t really care for Danny’s character arc. It was nice seeing Jessica go and investigate something :slight_smile:

The overstory of Iron Fist is a deconstruction of the Might Whitey trope. Danny doesn’t become better at martial arts than the people of K’un Lun, he becomes a student and servant to them, one in a long line. He is a privileged rich white guy brought up in a different culture and shown a better way to live and he even fails at this by running off on a quest for vengeance. But after he realizes he was wrong to do so he tries to show America this better way to live but he also fails at that, being the well meaning air head that he is Danny tries to do it by beating up poor people in Harlem and he doesn’t realize how messed up that is until he meets Luke Cage and Misty Knight. Shang Chi already existed before Iron Fist and was a much more successful character.


That’s interesting, thanks. I feel like maybe my problem with Iron Fist is that they’ve just not gotten to that stuff yet, which seems much juicier than than what they’ve actually been doing with him so far.

Yeah, I was hoping the Netflix show would dive into that like it does with the meatier subjects of the other characters but instead they just kind of… ignore it.

Defenders did a good job of blending the visual motifs of the various shows before it. I had an okay time watching it, but it kinda felt like less than the sum of its parts. The action is never as good or as ambitious as Daredevil, it doesn’t carry the kind of emotional weight or manage to evoke the villains as a threat like Jessica Jones did and it doesn’t have the sense of place that made Luke Cage so interesting.


Liked the first season of Daredevil, but I loved the first season of Jessica Jones (except for that episode when the policeman goes crazy…). Second season of Daredevil peaked at the fourth episode, everything else was a bit rubbish. I’ve watched a couple of episodes of Luke Cage, but lost interest. I want to watch Defenders, but not sure if I can be bothered with Iron Fist, can you jump into it relatively easily?

I think what really helped the first season of Daredevil and Jessica Jones were the villains. Kingpin was fantastic, and I loved how David Tenant basically played the doctor again, but as a megacreep. Can’t wait to see what they do with him in the second season of Jessica Jones… Though I’m guessing he’ll probably have become a part of Jessica’s consciousness. He will never leave her, even in death.