“The Defenders” Review: The Fight for Hell’s Kitchen

After four series, tons of iconic characters and 65 hours of television, Marvel and Netflix are finally ready to play their ultimate card: “The Defenders,” the eight-episode series that brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for one all out war for New York City.

Seeing as the series is essentially the TV equivalent of “The Avengers,” it’s no surprise that the first act of “The Defenders” mimics the formula of that fantastic film. The first episode catches viewers up to speed with the heroes before throwing them into the fire. Matt Murdock has hung up his horns as Daredevil and is a successful pro bono lawyer, Jessica Jones, still reeling from her defeat of Kilgrave, is refusing to take even the simplest case, Luke Cage is fresh from prison and is trying to start over, and Danny Rand is still battling the mysterious organization known as the Hand.

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The characters themselves are still the same incredible and complicated personalities that fans remember, but fans expecting to get their team up fix right out of the gate may be a little thrown. It takes a while for the characters to interact, and it’s not for a few episodes that they actually fight together. While that may come off as a disappointment, it actually works for the series that the moment in which all four heroes collide is not just a payoff, but a well orchestrated crescendo to the last few years of shows.

And once they do interact, it’s a real treat. Wisely, showrunners Marco Ramirez and Douglas Petrie give every character time to interact with each other, which leads to memorable moments. Unlike “The Avengers,” which featured a lineup of six larger than life heroes, “The Defenders’s” stripped down roster of four allows for more close quarters character moments, much like the shows preceding it. This is still as grim and realistic as the other four shows, but the added bonus of the four heroes in the same room means that this has much more fan service than its predecessors.

“The Defenders” succeeds in giving fans of the Marvel/Netflix world what they’ve been waiting for, so long as they don’t mind waiting a bit more to get it. The action is great, the characters are still the same characters we love, and the new drama gives them a new purpose that should carry interest for a long time.

“The Defenders” premieres globally on August 18 on Netflix.