I had plenty of momentum when I wrote my review of the first episodes of the Defenders. Finishing the series, that motivation and momentum died a barely noticed death. It’s not that the series was bad, but it had a very high bar to clear, and Iron Fist was pulling at its legs the whole time, tripping it up badly.
The joy at seeing these characters and catching up with them cannot drive one through all eight episodes, and as this is as much a continuation of the Iron Fist story as Daredevil Season 2, the weakness of that former series weighs heavily on this one. This is very idiosyncratic, as I love the character of Iron Fist as depicted in comics, and as each episode went by, I saw very little improvement. There was some improvement over his portrayal in his own series, but I’ve mentioned those already. After some brief promise, my hopes were dashed.
And while I think there was some real promise with the villains – and at least Sigourney Weaver delivers when she is on screen – there is a lot of wasted promise. Murakami looked interesting, but he just ended up being ninja-contrarian. The one that seemed the most promising to me was Sowande, who seemed to suggest (during his captivity) that face punching wasn’t his only talent. Unfortunately, if you’ve seen the series, you know how that promise was answered in the series.
So the villains don’t have the level of threat or fascination that we got from the Kingpin, Kilgrave, or Cottonmouth. We really get slightly better variations of Bakuto, who wasn’t a very strong character. The criminal underuse of Colleen Wing and Misty Knight continued, though there were some hints at future greatness for at least one of them.
In the end, this isn’t the worst of the Marvel-Netflix productions, and with word that Disney will be removing itself from Netflix, I can’t imagine we have too many more of these to go. What that says to me is that we won’t be seeing anymore of Iron Fist. I never thought I’d ever say this, but . . .
I give the Defenders 3.5 kind of weak fingers on an uninspired Hand out of 5. There were moments of interest and some good action scenes, but the charisma and character touches couldn’t save the series from a mediocre story and its weaker links.
You can find my review of the first five episodes here.
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