Posted August 29, 2017 by Omar Guerrero in Movies/TV

Review: The Defenders Season 1 is Satisfyingly Awesome!

Marvel’s The Defenders Season 1 kicked off last August 18 on Netflix with fans scurrying to binge-watch the much-awaited series. The show is the culmination of the solo superhero shows that Marvel and Netflix released the past few years. The Defenders brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist in one action-packed adventure.

SPOILER ALERT! This review contains spoiler material so please refrain from reading if you haven’t watched the series yet. Proceed at your own risk!


Image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

As you may have expected, I was one of those who didn’t take long to finish all eight episodes as the excitement to see an Avengers-type assemblage on TV was too much to resist. Inasmuch as there were many points for improvement on the show, I found The Defenders to be engaging, entertaining, and exceptionally satisfying!

Let’s break down the series based on the Plot, the Heroes and Villains, and its Future Implications.


From the trailers, we know that the villainous Hand is back with Sigourney Weaver’s mysterious Alexandra as the biggest bad of the series. The story revolves around Alexandra and the Five Fingers of the Hand seeking the means to immortality and power. Madame Gao, Bakuto, Murakami, and Sowande round up the rest of the gang. They look up to Alexandra as their leader, despite their disdain for her bringing Elektra back to life when she used up the last of their already depleted resources to do this.

To achieve immortality, they need Iron Fist to open a doorway that’s hundreds of miles beneath a tower in New York City. This doorway is their means to not only achieve immortality but also their chance to go back to K’un-Lun, their native land.


Image courtesy of Netflix

Along the way, Jessica, Luke, and Daredevil, through various circumstances, end up joining forces with Danny Rand in protecting New York and seeing to it that he fulfills his destiny to destroy the Hand. Our heroes’ supporting cast also helped out, especially Claire Temple and Colleen Wing, with Misty Knight lending a hand (and losing one), too.

The plot is a bit simplistic, while sometimes confusing, especially considering that the Hand’s purpose seemed to shift from destroying New York City to gaining immortality as the series wore on. Opening the doorway was supposed to destroy New York with it but after Iron Fist accidentally (or stupidly) did so, nothing happened! What gives?

It may not be the most well-thought out story but it’s good enough to make you believe that New York does need all four heroes to defend it. The Defenders had the potential to be an excellent series that became very good instead.


Image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly



Despite not having a true leader, Daredevil appeared to be the heart and soul of the team, someone who thinks more rationally than any of the three. He’s the most emotionally involved as his former ladylove Elektra is back from the dead. He’s also dealt with the Hand in Daredevil Season 2 with his former mentor Stick (Scott Glenn) returning to explain again why he trained Matt to be a fighter in the first place.

Charlie Cox was at his best once again, portraying the character with the authenticity that Daredevil fans have come to expect from him.

His final battle with Elektra was beautifully done and his sacrifice at the end was touching. Don’t worry ‘coz he’ll be back for Daredevil Season 3 albeit in healing mode after surviving the destruction of the Hand’s base of operations in New York.

Jessica Jones

What can I say about Krysten Ritter’s character? Jessica Jones is hilarious! Her sarcasm and one-liners are some of the things I look forward to whenever she appears in a scene. It’s almost as if you want her in every scene just so you can have a good laugh!

Among the four heroes, Jessica is the one who least likes being part of the group. Though she tries to pull away from them, eventually, her desire to help solve a case leads her back into the group’s arms.

My only gripe about how they used her was in the fight scenes. I don’t understand how she doesn’t seem as strong when facing the villains even if one punch from her should knock them senseless at best or dead at worst.


Image courtesy of Netflix

Luke Cage

If Daredevil is the heart and soul of the Defenders, Luke Cage is their moral compass. He legitimately just wants to help people and he’s someone who isn’t out to kill anyone no matter how evil they may be.

As in his solo series, Luke continues to get his hoodies ripped every time with bullet holes. He takes on the role of the protector whenever they run into gunfire. Yes, gunfire even if they’re dealing with martial-artist villains. More on this later.

It’s great to see him paired with Iron Fist on several occasions, teasing us with their Heroes-for-Hire pairing in the Power Man and Iron Fist comics.

Mike Colter seems more believable playing the character than at any time in the past. It helps that he’s playing the role with other heroes who are carrying the weight of the show with him.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Luke gets to have his coffee again. You know what I mean, right?

Iron Fist

Finally, on to my favorite superhero, Iron Fist!

I’ve been very critical of the Iron Fist series especially since it was being built up to be the best of the four heroes’ shows. Finn Jones and his fight scenes didn’t exactly wow me so you can imagine how disappointed I was with Marvel’s adaptation of a beloved superhero.

In The Defenders, however, Jones redeems himself and the character (somewhat) by playing a more believable Danny Rand. He’s not as whiny but still determined to finish off the Hand for good. Additionally, his fight scenes are much better, with Iron Fist looking more badass than when we last saw him.

There are still times when Iron Fist is portrayed as being less skilled than he should be. One instance is when he fights Daredevil and the team when they wanted to move him as far away from the Hand as possible. The other is when he fought Elektra one-on-one and he was duped into using his Iron Fist to open the doorway. He should have known better. The writers dropped the ball on this one.

As good as his fight scenes were in this series, I wish they showed him as more of a kung-fu fighter who’s distinctly different from Daredevil. I’ve always thought that the choreographers need to use Bruce Lee’s fighting form and style as their template for the way Iron Fist’s moves.

The Supporting Cast

The gang’s all here! We got the following actors and actresses reprising their roles from the previous Marvel shows: Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Elden Henson as Franklin “Foggy” Nelson, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker, Simone Missick as Misty Knight, Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing.

Claire was her usual self, getting involved in the heroes’ lives for better or for worse. She was in one of the final fight scenes as well, helping Colleen Wing plant the bombs that would take down the Hands’ base. More than any supporting cast member, Colleen was the most involved in the action when she took on and battled Bakuto once again.


Image courtesy of Netflix

Speaking of which, during that last battle, Bakuto was responsible for cutting off Misty’s right arm. Colleen was seen visiting Misty at the end and telling her soon-to-be partner-in-crime that Danny has connections that will take care of her. The bionic arms are coming and so are the Daughters of the Dragon!


Alexandra was a good but, sadly, not a great villain. She never seemed to be a threat except for that one time when a recently-resurrected Elektra was still making sense of her surroundings. Other than that, I never felt that she was someone who could lead the Hand. The rest of the Hand’s leaders, however, were another story. Each of them got their hands dirty including Madame Gao who was taking on the Defenders head on! How cool is that?

As for the rest, Murakami, played by Yutaka Takeuchi, was a good addition, someone who looks like he can defeat the Defenders on his own. Babs Olusanmokun’s Sowande, however, had loads off potential but his role was cut short in the series. Pun intended.


Image courtesy of Netflix

While it was no surprise that Elektra Natchios returned as a villain, her ascendancy was unexpected. Seeing Elektra kill off Alexandra was a shocker and one that saw her take on the leadership of the Hand just as she did in the comics. Élodie Yung was incredible! She embodied the character with integrity and played the role better than she did in Daredevil Season 2.

As great as she was, Elektra couldn’t make up for the lack of ninjas on the show. After killing off every ninja in the Hand’s employ during her training with Alexandra, Elektra was left with nothing but gun-toting brawling goons. Ugh. As Deadpool would say, “almost like the studio couldn’t afford another” ninja. Hah!


The Defenders set up Daredevil’s future with a possible loose adaptation of Frank Miller’s “Born Again” epic. The classic and much-beloved story was teased at the end which saw a badly-wounded Matt Murdock lying in a nunnery. After waking up, a nun called someone named Maggie, who comic fans know for sure to be Matt’s mom. Season 3 of Daredevil is going to be very intriguing!

Not only that, but I believe they’re also setting up Danny Rand to pose as Daredevil so that the public doesn’t connect the dots between the blind lawyer’s disappearance with that of the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’s death. There’s a precedence for this in the comics when Danny took the mantle from his friend to protect his secret identity from the media and the public in general.

What’s in it for Danny and why would he do this? He appeared to be inspired by Matt’s sacrifice for his city which was evident with his last words to his newfound friend: “protect my city.” Danny was last seen in the dark, on a rooftop, and lighting up his fist while seemingly making sense of Matt’s final words.

Danny’s affinity for a costume for himself will likely be the result of his donning the Daredevil suit. I believe this is how Iron Fist will get his costume in his own series after guest-starring in Daredevil Season 3.

As for Jessica and Luke, it appears that these two will be having coffee again sometime in the future. Ahem. That goodbye in the bar teased another possible date between the estranged lovebirds after they’ve sorted out things on their own.

Final Verdict

Having eight episodes left me wanting more because I loved the show. Perhaps Netflix can do a swithceroo and give The Defenders Season 2 five more episodes next time while limiting the solo shows to eight. There’s enough characters to justify a 13-episode run of an enjoyable superhero series.


Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

While it’s not the most well-thought out plot among Marvel’s Netflix superhero shows, The Defenders was a fun adventure that will leave you entertained and glued to your seats just as I was. The show was billed as Netflix’s Avengers-lite and it delivered on a street-level, world-coming-to-an-end type catastrophe that’s believable with a touch of mysticism.

Netflix subscribers are known to binge-watch entire series in one go. The Defenders is worthy of this dedication from Marvel fans who love these characters with passion. If there’s one series that you’re picking up this weekend after a hard work week, then The Defenders has all the action, drama, comedy, and adventure you’ll need for an all-nighter with friends and family.

Omar Guerrero