by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor
The underground criminal ninja organization known as the Hand is after the Immortal Iron Fist, and they are willing to level New York to get him.
“Marvel’s The Defenders” is an eight-episode series on Netflix that sees Charlie Cox, Finn Jones, Mike Colter, and Krysten Ritter reprise their respective roles as Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones in the culmination of what their individual series’ have been approaching for the past two years.
Matt Murdock (Cox) was blinded as a child and developed super hearing abilities that allow him to pinpoint things better than those with sight. Now he is a lawyer by day and Daredevil by night. Between “Daredevil” seasons 1 and 2, the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen stopped Madame Gao’s (Wai Ching Ho) underground Hand operations, confronted and defeated Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), and encountered the Punisher (John Bernthal).
The other individual Defenders’ series are good, but Charlie Cox does an incredible amount of justice to the role of Daredevil. Sseasons 1 and 2 of “Marvel’s Daredevil” are arguably the best material to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date.
Jessica Jones (Ritter) is an alcoholic private investigator with superhuman strength. In “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” season 1, Jessica takes a case that leads her to Zebediah Kilgrave, or Purple Man (David Tennant), who she kills. Jessica also meets and hooks up with Luke Cage (Colter).
“Jessica Jones” season 1 is kind of boring, but Cage’s presence is great for the dynamics of the series and Kristen Ritter plays a perfect Jessica Jones.
Luke Cage was in jail when he was beaten within an inch of his life. A doctor at the prison did an experiment on Cage that gave him unbreakable skin and super strength. In season 1 of “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” Cage encounters Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali), Black Mariah (Alfre Woodard), and Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey) and comes out on top. That is, until the prison he broke out of years ago comes looking for him. The stakes never really feel too high in “Luke Cage” like they do in “Daredevil.” The action is cool, and Mike Colter fits the role extremely well.
When Danny Rand (Jones) was 10 years old, his parents’ plane crashed with him on and his parents on board. He was the only survivor. Danny was rescued by some monks from a different dimension, known as K’un-Lun. He was trained by the monks of K’un-Lun and became the Immortal Iron Fist.
In “Marvel’s Iron Fist” season 1, Danny meets Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), and encounters two of the leaders of the Hand, Madame Gao and Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez), who also trained Colleen. Danny’s one responsibility as the Immortal Iron Fist was to protect K’un-Lun, and he failed. His guilt from this will follow him into “The Defenders” series.
At the beginning of “Marvel’s The Defenders” season 1, we meet Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver), the leader of the five founders of the Hand, who is dying of cancer.
Luke is getting out of prison when he’s met by none other than Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), who is there to let Luke know that the law firm of Hogarth, Benowitz & Chow are at his disposal, should he ever need them. Seeing Foggy, Daredevil’s best friend, greet Cage in the second scene of the series is so cool and delivers a solid foreshadow of how awesome it’s going to be to see these heroes and their supporting characters meet each other.
Cage couldn’t care less and immediately goes to Harlem in search of Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), the nurse who also gave medical aid to Matt Murdock. Luke and Claire hook up, and afterward, Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick), a friend of Cage’s, comes looking for him to update him on what’s going on in Harlem and to let him know how he can help.
Matt is working as a pro bono lawyer, trying hard to keep his feet on the ground and off the rooftops, and letting the NYPD do their job. After he finishes the case he was working on, Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), a close friend of Matt’s, asks if she can get a statement on the case over a bite to eat.
“But when we first see Daredevil, he’s questioning White Hat, and there’s no doubt that this is the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen”
Jessica is still drinking out of contempt for her powers, and she meets up with her friend, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), on her way home. When she gets to her apartment, there is a mom and a daughter waiting for her so they can ask her to look for their husband/father. Jessica begrudgingly accepts the case, only to be told by her “friend,” Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), of Hogarth, Benowitz & Chow, that she should drop it.
After a brief stop in Cambodia, where they may or may not have encountered Elektra – yes, the dead one – Danny and Colleen meet an ally just in time for him to die, but he tells them to track the Hand in New York.
Alexandra is sitting on the roof of a high rise when Madame Gao approaches her and tells her “it’s ready.” New York then experiences a massive earthquake. Right before the earthquake, the husband that Jessica was tracking killed himself in her apartment. After the earthquake, Misty takes Jessica in for questioning.
Some kids break into someone’s store, and the owner tries to shoot them when Matt saves them, telling the owner that they’re just kids. Later, he meets up with Foggy, who tells him his knuckles “speak volumes” about what he has been doing. Matt gets upset when Foggy calls him out, but Foggy tells him he’s there to help. He offers Matt some pro bono cases that he doesn’t have time for, one of which involves Jessica Jones.
Jessica is being questioned by Misty when Matt bursts through the door and tells Misty she can’t question Jessica anymore without him present. This scene is cool because it’s basically Daredevil and Jessica Jones in the same room together, although Matt is the only person in the room aware of it. Jessica doesn’t know who he is and doesn’t want his help.
The information that Misty gave Luke led him to some 18-year-old kid getting mixed up in something bad. So Luke followed him to a warehouse where he sees a man they call White Hat, one of the five founders of the Hand.
The sword wielded by the ally Danny and Colleen met in Cambodia leads them to the same warehouse as Cage. When Danny goes after the kid that Luke was following, Luke steps in to protect him, and a fight breaks out between Luke Cage and the Immortal Iron Fist. This is just so cool. Cage brushes off every attack and throws Danny around until he unleashes the power of the Iron Fist on Luke’s face and sends him flying.
Claire and Colleen bring Luke and Danny together to talk to each other, and they realize that they’re on the same side and can work together to fight the Hand.
Alexandra brings Elektra Natchios (Elodie Yung), Matt’s ninja girlfriend, back from the dead and calls her the Black Sky. Bringing her back to life used up the last of the Hand’s life-restoring substance, which seems to be their largest motivator in this series. Alexandra plans on using the Black Sky to get the Iron Fist, the only thing that can unlock the door to their substance. Alexandra is holding Stick (Scott Glenn), Matt’s and Elektra’s mentor, hostage when he cuts off his hand to get free.
Danny’s and Luke’s investigations lead them to Midland Circle Financial – where Daredevil had his showdown with the Hand – while Jessica’s investigation and Matt’s history with the Hand lead them to the same place.
Danny calls out Alexandra, who’s having a meeting at Midland Circle, and she sicks her ninjas on Danny for an awesome conference room fight. When Danny starts getting pinned down Luke shows up just in time to help. This makes for some sweet tag-team action when Jessica and Matt – with Jessica’s scarf tied around his head – show up to join the party for one rad fight scene that leads them into hiding in a Chinese restaurant.
Danny writes the restaurant owners a nice check so they can stick around, and the restaurant owners insist that they prepare food for them. So the Defenders sit down for a late-night meal and to get to know each other when the Hand comes after them with full force, which is when Matt finds out that Elektra is alive.
As cool as this show is, we don’t get to see Matt suited up until the fifth episode of the season, which is kind of a bummer. But when we first see Daredevil, he’s questioning White Hat, and there’s no doubt that this is the Devil of Hell’s kitchen. The Murdock boys have the devil in them, and the first appearance of Charlie Cox as Daredevil in this series had me on my toes. It was brutal and left no questions about who Matt Murdock is.
Fast forward a little bit and the heroes have gathered all of their friends at Misty’s police station. Danny has been taken by Elektra, and the other Defenders are stuck at the police station, brainstorming how to get out and save Danny.
In the middle of this, Foggy brings Matt a “change of clothes,” his Daredevil suit. This scene is so cool, because it shows Foggy taking steps to accept who Matt is.
So, the drunk private investigator with super strength, the unbreakable man, the Immortal Iron Fist, and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen go to stop Elektra and the Hand in what is an awesome fight scene between the Defenders and the three remaining leaders of the hand.
Madame Gao was one of the cooler enemies in this series, but Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra was a weak villain and pales in comparison to Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk from “Daredevil.”
“The Defenders” is a decent culmination of events for these four heroes with super cool team-ups and fight scenes. But it lacks a true villain.
I give “Marvel’s The Defenders” a 7.8 out of 10.