For the past four years, I've been patiently waiting for this moment. When Netflix and Marvel announced in 2013 that they'd be bringing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the streaming service via four series that would culminate in a superpowered team-up known as The Defenders, I was open...and skeptical.
Out of the four series, there's only been one real standout in Jessica Jones. I loved what Luke Cage was all about (and a number of those performances), and Jon Bernthal's Punisher high-key saved a scattered season of Daredevil. Your boy Danny Bland wasn't nearly enough of a hero for me to give a fuck about, and in the four years since Netflix and Marvel announced that there'd be a Defenders, I've wondered to myself if they should've had a redo on many of these series leading into the main event.
WARNING: From this point on, there will spoilers to the first four episodes of The Defenders. Enter at your own risk af.
After getting through the first four episodes of The Defenders, I can't front: there's a lot of stuff to enjoy. The shots of the squad together, kicking ninja ass, have been dope. Equally as intriguing is getting to see these heroes finally linking up, whether its Luke Cage and the Iron Fist getting into a fight while pursuing the same bad guy, or the quick reconnection of Luke and Jessica after how they ended things off in Jessica Jones. That said, the best part of the series is without a doubt Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones, who has zero fucks to give and is ultimately just trying to live.
One of the biggest issues is the idea of wanting to be a hero versus needing to be the hero. Luke Cage isn't worrying about money; he's trying to put on for Harlem. Matt Murdock doesn't even want to be Daredevil...until it's time to be Daredevil, then he's jacking Jessica's scarf and being the street vigilante he wants to be (and repent for). Danny Rand's trying to stop The Hand on some By Any Means Necessary shit, but after seeing season one, I can't find an iota of a care for him or his mission. Jessica Jones? She's just trying to work her case until she opens up and realizes that these are the only people who truly understand her. AKA she has, like, feelings outside of being a badass.
It's funny; Jessica's powers in the comics and in Jessica Jones are almost secondary to her work as an investigator, which helps round her character out. Sure, she could just jump extremely high or punch a hole through that door, but hearing her put on a faux voice and con information out of people is way cooler than "me hit you, you fall down" action sequences (although that one hallway fight is dope). Hell, one of the best scenes in the four episodes I've seen is of Jessica getting her research on, and no it's not just because they included a shot of her in those jeans that feels like it was made for me (although you'd have to convince me that it wasn't totally made for me).
That's not to say that I don't appreciate other things about The Defenders. Sigourney Weaver's playing the hell out of Alexandra, a mysterious addition to The Hand who is as sophisticated as she is dangerous. It's also dope to see Simone Missick's Misty Knight, although I hope that the later half ups the Simone quotient more than the former. And seeing Luke Cage do any heavy lifting is kinda dope. Not to mention that most of the characters (especially Jessica) waste no time shitting on Danny Rand if they can, which is either a) Marvel knowing that people hated on Danny in season one or b) really odd on Marvel's part, creating a hero that isn't cool and forever gets hated on.
It's been an interesting two years since the first season of Jessica Jones, and if one thing's for certain, Jessica's sarcasm and lack of fucks being given is truly missed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The thing is, she left off in a truly troubled point in her life. She'd killed the person who made her life a living hell, and while she definitely decided to pick up the pieces of her life and get back to her work, recovering from that trauma isn't as easy as flipping a light switch for anyone. I want more of that and less of "bulletproof guy can now be shot" or "quirky rich guy reclaims his fortune." And with talk of David Tennant returning in some form or fashion in Jessica Jones season two, I'm way more anxious to see that then the Avengers-lite of Netflix, no shade.
Ultimately, The Defenders was supposed to be the culmination of years of groundwork being laid during these Marvel series. What the series ended up being a huge tease; all I want right now (aside from The Punisher) is season two of Jessica Jones. It could be worse; I could totally hate watching the show (but I wish I was watching another one).