The Defenders


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Finished it today.

This wasn't a perfect season, the biggest issue being pacing. (Maybe 13 fifty minute-hour long episodes might be a little much) Overall though, I found this much more entertaining than the first one, mainly because of the new characters and the development that the existing ones got. I don't really have much to say that Don and Chris haven't covered.

The Fisk and Matt confrontation also became one of my favorite scenes in an adaptation because that was just perfect.

The stuff between the Hand, much like in the Miller run, wasn't nearly as interesting to me as the crime stories. Still enjoyed it though.

I suspect that the Elektra resurrection tease was done to ensure that the fans who fell in love and were watching it for her would still stick around for next season.

I'm sure that Matt and Foggy'll get back together as they always do. (And considering what happens to Hogarth...) 

It's amazing how much a cool cowl really adds to the whole look. The helmet was the best part of the Netflix suit to begin with, but making it that bright shiny red really brought it up some more. Though seeing him unmasked in the suit was a nice look too.

The most important moment of the season to me, though, was the introduction of the billy club. I had to stand up and punch the air when I saw it.

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Finally finished this tonight. Overall I thought it was... fine?

Having two separate stories with almost no crossover was an interesting way to go. The only problem with that is that one was so much better than the other. The Punisher stuff was fucking outstanding. Bernthal did a terrific job as Frank Castle, totally selling the idea of a completely broken man who is simultaneously completely fucking badass. The urban crime drama aspect of Daredevil works brilliantly, and if that's not enough, we get

Vincent Motherfucking D'Onofrio

absolutely nailing every scene he's in. Great, great stuff.

The Elektra storyline, on the other hand, left me totally cold. I don't have a lot of time for the whole "Night of a Billion Zillion Ninjas" thing anyway, and while it's nice that they tried to give Elektra a personality beyond "stoic badass ninja assassin", the whole thing was incredibly dull, and quite frankly, the actress wasn't any great shakes.

I did enjoy the Nelson & Murdock stuff overall; the relationship between Matt and Foggy is generally strong work, and while I don't get how a legal secretary walks in off the street and immediately becomes a reporter with her own office, Deborah Ann Woll was really good again. I did like that the season took its time to really portray Matt as being the architect of his own misery; his entire existence would be so much more bearable if he just let his friends get close to him, but he's just functionally unable to do so.

It's funny, Daredevil Season 1 is one of the best comics-to-screen adaptations I've ever seen, so Season 2 had a lot to live up to. I generally thought the stuff that worked more than outweighed the stuff that didn't, but the fact that every time I was saw Elodie Yung on my screen I invariably looked at my watch and waited for Jon Bernthal is a real problem.

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I disagree about Elodie Yung, I honestly thought she did a great job. The Elektra she was written to play was kind of annoying, and

making her Black Sky or whatever felt very very contrived

 but I don't think there are really any weak links in the acting lineup for this show.

The one line that fell flat for me in the entire season was Foggy's "The trial of Frank Castle...begins tomorrow" or something. That didn't land with enough "OOOMF" as it felt it should have.

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That trailer has gotten me the most hyped, and I love how they're doing the music. Being a big Nas fan, that shot of Cage walking slow-mo down the hall to the verse "Gettin' big money/playboy ya time's up" is fucking Life. I'm probably going to like this version of Luke Cage way more than the comic book version.

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I'm through episode 5, and I'm loving this. Colter is terrific. The look and feel of the series is fun and exciting, the messages are good ones, and Cottonmouth is up there with Fisk and Kilgrave. And the music is insane.

The ten seconds we get of Mike Colter in the Power Man costume are incredible, both in a "Holy shit, it's Power Man!" sort of way, and a lesson in why a grown adult human person should never be dressed like Power Man.

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The music is by far and away, incontestably the best music that any of the Marvel related projects have ever had. Even if Wu-Tang wasn't in it.

I'm about halfway thru after episode 7. While shit gets real in that one, I like the fact that this show doesn't feel the need to be as bleak as DD or JJ. Both shows were great, but they stressed me the hell out by the end. Luke Cage gets you in with its characters, not with mean-spirited no-win scenarios.

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Finished it tonight. I maintain that in terms of strict technical quality I think writing was a step behind the very best of the Netflix shows, which IMO was Jessica Jones. But it was never bad. The finale is however VERY comic booky, by far and away the most upfront with its comic book roots that any of these shows have done before. I loved it though. I actually think the finale is the best out of the four seasons of shows we've gotten so far, and sets up a lot of the Defenders. This show, more than DD and JJ, had style to spare. It really carried a vibe, and that vibe perfectly gave off a feel of a Luke Cage comic. It's an incredibly spiritual translation.

I do think that the show's dip into current affairs and the BLM movement in the second half was less than graceful, and that's putting it mildly. The scene with Luke and the cops on the dashboard cam was very uncomfortable, and lends itself to idiots who still think all black people in America have some sort of supernatural quality to them which justifies brutality. It was also really bad seeing Black Mariah co-opt so much of that for her own gain. It kind of straightened out at the end, but for a while it was really wading in some muddy waters.

But Luke was cool. I liked Claire the most in this show out of all her previous appearances. Misty Knight was the goddamn queen in this show, and I loved seeing her superiors be black women as well. That last episode scene with them and Alfrie Woodard was an acting clinic. Cottonmouth was kind of a chump bu charmingly acted throughout.

I'm sure he's a controversial character, but I really dug Diamondback. By far he's the most cartoonish, comic booky villain but A) he's exactly like he was in the comics right down to the personality (he also looks like a snake which is cool) and B) THAT COSTUME. I mean I hoped against all hope he'd be wearing the costume in some form in the show, but I loved it, especially with Bobby's response after seeing it at the end of episode 12. He was just a fun, very theatrical and well acted villain who made things come alive for me.

So ultimately it wasn't as proficient as the other shows but honestly this was a lot of fun, more fun than JJ or DD. In some ways that makes me enjoy it more than the others, but IMO they've all been very good.

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Finished this last night. This was fantastic. The series got significantly less pulpy as the episodes progressed, which on one hand is kind of a shame because that was seriously entertaining, but it also would have gotten to be too much after a while and the series made absolutely the right choice.

For the most part, the villains were terrific. Alfre Woodard nailed Black Mariah, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Theo Rossi was charismatic as hell.

The death of Cottonmouth halfway through was legitimately surprising, although I was a little less taken with Diamondback. Cottonmouth was a really interesting character with a backstory and motivation; Diamondback was a crazy cartoon bad guy with magic punchy gloves. The fistfight at the end was anticlimactic. However, I was very pleased that the majority of the bad guys survived the season (and, to all appearances, came out on top), as it opens up some interesting angles for next time (although

The Defenders is supposed to hit before (the by now absolutely inevitable) Luke Cage Season 2, so I really hope they don't wrap up Luke's arc too quickly, even as Rosario Dawson all but looked into the camera and said "I'm sending Daredevil to come pick you up from Seagate").

I don't know if I'd call it my favorite Marvel Netflix series (I think that's still Daredevil Season 1), but it's clearly the best one.

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