Review: The Defenders (Season 1, Episode 1)

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80%
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Promising

'The H Word' is promising start for a miniseries with a lot of potential.

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It’s time for the miniseries that has been massively hyped ever since the release of Iron Fist and Luke Cage, but The Defenders is finally here. Going in to the series, this writer was really hoping it was going to live up to the extreme publicity it had been getting.

We’ve already seen the origins stories for our four heroes, so you’d think The Defenders would quickly begin establishing the ragtag team dynamic. However, in typical Marvel Netflix fashion, very little actually happens in this first episode. Much of the episode is spent catching up on each of the street heroes. We get Iron Fist’s (Finn Jones) ongoing search for the Hand, Luke Cage’s (Mike Colter) release from prison, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) drinking in a bar and Daredevil (Charlie Cox) winning a huge pro bono settlement case as lawyer Matt Murdock. Although there was a lot for the audience to catch up on, Episode 1 still moves at a pretty quick pace. It has been a while since Jessica Jones and Daredevil last appeared, so it’s nice to have them back on screen.

Something I was interested to see from the episode was how the crossover series was going to mash together the unique tones of the previous Marvel Netflix series. From Daredevil‘s superhero drama to Jessica Jones‘ mystery noir, The Defenders needed to somehow combine these tones. However, during their individual segments, Defenders simply adopts each show’s style, Jessica Jones’ scenes featuring that series’ distinct grey filter and Luke Cage’s scenes appearing brighter. It’s a subtle touch to show the character’s differences.

Episode 1 features very limited story progression. The seeds are sown for Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, including her connections with The Hand, but this doesn’t really come into play until much later. It only really lays The Defenders‘ basic groundwork. Although Episode 1 fails to unite the four heroes, it still doesn’t feel boring or wasted.

The cast is great all round. Krysten Ritter continues to shine as the same sassy Jessica and Mike Colter still embodies Luke’s charm, but Charlie Cox plays a more mellow Matt Murdock now he’s “retired”. Unsurprisingly, it’s poor Finn Jones who is left as the somewhat underwhelming character in this first episode. To his credit, though, he seems more comfortable in the role here than he did for much of Iron Fist. Perhaps it’s better story, or that the supporting characters aren’t as bland as some of those in his stand-alone series.

The real appeal to the new cast, however, is Sigourney Weaver. She portrays Alexandra with an air of mystery, yet an immense amount of charisma. Even though she only has a few scenes in the premiere, she comes across as likeable, intelligent and even sympathetic. She’s already proven herself to be a great addition to the Netflix series and the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While there isn’t much story progression in this first episode, it’s great to catch up with each character after their standalone shows. Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra is established in an understated way and it is full of foreshadowing of the four heroes’ eventual meeting. Overall, ‘The H Word’ is a good introductory episode for this miniseries.

Fancy some more Marvel? The Defenders is available in full on Netflix right now.

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Second year Physics with Astronomy Student. Routine cinema-goer, habitual binge-watcher.

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