It’s not quite, but then again it doesn’t want to be. It wants to be a culmination of an arc that was built from Daredevil and Iron Fist, which it is… with fair results.
Despite Grade A performances from all our established characters, the show starts off too slow. Taking time to establish the situation before throwing you in. It takes a literal earthquake to bring our heroes together, helping to display how volatile they really are. It takes until “Royal Dragon” for anything to really shine. As the “four very different people” need to just sit down and talk. And yes Iron Fist’s Chi is questioned by those ground to reality despite their own abilities. It’s this episode where not only the story picks up but the characters too. They come to appreciate and understand each other until the very end despite their disagreements (made clear through some good action).
Surprisingly, to a certain degree Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra isn’t the real villain of this story, it is the resurrected Elektra from Daredevil season 2. Her actions show how she is the real threat to New York and its Defenders as she acts as ruthless and brutal as we’ve seen her before, but her new life allows her to be written even more dangerously, as she seems to understand her purpose as the ‘Black Sky’.
Elektra’s role, however, illustrates a problem that even the MCU cannot escape from. A feeling that not all characters need to be there all the time. Daredevil and Iron Fist for sure; characters in those shows and the leads themselves have major ties to the central villain “The Hand”, with characters like Stick, Bokudo and Elektra. However, the rest just feel like they are there because they can be, so, whilst they fit the bill they feel out of place just a little.
There are also however great points of character development, as Matt Murdock finally realizes Daredevil is his life, Danny Rand embraces the idea that the hand isn’t just his fight, Jessica Jones throws herself back into her work and Luke Cage acknowledges that he isn’t alone in protecting New York. All of this means that the Defenders did something more than bring these characters together for a mini-series. It changed them going forward. All their stories will be different next time we see them because of the Defenders, which makes the series itself do something more than act as a TV’s Avengers.
Something else worth mentioning is the cinematography. Great use of angles and even a 1 take spinning shot allow for really interesting imagery, emulation and homage to past seasons too. But, sadly, nothing like Daredevil 1 shoot fight scenes.
Finally, Matt Murdock’s death. He isn’t dead and we know that and it seems we might be getting an introduction to his mother in season 3. This is what the Defenders was building up to for him, which makes me very excited to see what is to come. Overall, that is what the Defenders has done. It excited me to see where the characters go from here, but offered a great miniseries along with it.
Image: Den of Geek