Let’s recap the five(!) seasons of shows you had to watch between 2015 and 2017 to be fully caught up for The Defenders. There was Daredevil seasons one and two, which I did watch because the fighting was fun and the Punisher showed up. Jessica Jones season one which is straight up amazing. There was Luke Cage season one which I didn’t watch because Mike Colter is about as emotive as a brick wall (incidentally, this is his super power). And Iron Fist season one which I didn’t watch because I heard it was awful. Judging by what happens in The Defenders I made the right choices. Not in terms of plot or understanding, but just enjoyment.
The Hand, the sword wielding karate bad guys, are planning something big in New York. Led by Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) they only require one more thing, the immortal Iron Fist and his glowing hand. Conveniently, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones are investigating disturbances that lead them to Iron Fist. Only together will they be strong enough to defeat The Hand’s secret weapon: Elektra.
Somehow, even with only eight episodes compared to the usual thirteen, this show was way too long. Barring introductions and plot starters, the run time is thoroughly elongated by unnecessary and out of character arguments between heroes, debates where people switch sides to enhance the drama, and ENDLESS side character meet ups. I swear there are at least eight scenes between Rosario Dawson and whoever Iron Fist’s girlfriend is, where they tell the other one how important they are. Answer: no, you are both useless. I thought I hated Foggy and Karen Page but geez, you are giving them a run for their money.
I feel bad for Luke and Jessica. Sucked into this world of ninjas and ancient dragons. “Am I the only one who doesn’t know karate?!” Jessica screams at one point. I feel you, girl. Devil and Fist need to get their acts together.
The fight sequences are generally fun, but after you see The Raid any kung fu sequence short of that looks like highly edited shit. And with The Punisher upping the violence ante, The Defenders is relatively tame, even by Daredevil standards. Thank god there is an overarching villain holding it together. Sigourney Weaver does her best, but even she can’t keep this boat afloat. A late game twist genuinely caught me off guard, and I applaud the show for it, but overall this is a waste of time. I watched because I thought it might be important for season 2 of Jessica Jones. I have a feeling that the events of The Defenders will be completely forgotten in that script, as it should be.
1.5 out of 4 stars.