defenders review

All good things must come to an end, and that does include Marvel’s ‘The Defenders,’ though I am happy to report that at the very least it managed to end before it entirely wore out its welcome. I was worried when, at the end of the 6th episode, Elektra killed the main big bad of the series, Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, because a similar thing happened to ‘Luke Cage‘ and the series never recovered from the loss of their main villain. At least with ‘The Defenders’ Elektra was still joined by the rest of her Hand cohorts in their plans for New York, though now that it’s over, I cannot help but wish that Jessica, Luke, and company had someone more interesting to fight than the Hand on their first outing together.

But I digress. Our heroes awaken to find themselves in police custody, having been taken back to Police Headquarters by Misty and company while they were passed out, with no idea what happened to Danny, but knowing they are in trouble because of the bodies of Stick and Sowambe found near them in the warehouse (not to mention the fact that Sowambe’s head was missing). Foggy is pleased that at the very least Matt wasn’t wearing the Daredevil suit but is still worried that their worlds are colliding and encourages Matt to end this once and for all. Meanwhile, Colleen and Claire chat about the missing Danny, with Colleen expressing concern that she should be out there, as should Claire, as Claire has done more for New York of late than any of the super-powered Defenders she helped bring together.

The police won’t let the heroes go though, as they are all too aware that Jessica, Luke, and Matt are withholding important information, but as always they do not want to tell Misty and her fellow officers because they do not want to put them in danger. Eventually the heroes figure out that Elektra most likely took Danny to the hole below Midland Circle, and after Foggy procures Matt’s suit for him (telling him it is so Matt can finally end this part of his life), Luke and Jessica break through a wall of the station and the three escape, with the police figuring they took Matt, their lawyer, hostage. Unable to make it quickly to Midland Circle (it’s 20 blocks away apparently), the remaining Defenders are forced to take the subway, in a hilarious scene that gets only better when Jessica steals a beer from a sleeping bum across the train, remarking to her compatriots that it has been a long week (it has indeed Jessica).

Colleen meanwhile breaks into the evidence room at the Police Station and makes off with the explosives Jessica found in episode one, while the Defenders make their way to the Midland Circle Parking garage, their only way into the building. Unfortunately for them, Elektra has already taken Danny down to the hole below the building and left Madame Gao, Murakami, and Bakuto to fight the Defenders. Danny recognizes the writing on the wall Elektra wants him to open, but he refuses to help her, even as she explains that neither of them should be enslaved to those who trained them. Of course, a battle ensues in the parking garage even while Danny breaks free and fight Elektra in the caves below the building, and we get to see a (somewhat confusing) battle between everyone no holds barred, with Gao using her telekinesis to push objects at our heroes, Murakami fighting Daredevil, and even Colleen joining the battle to help battle Bakuto. Realizing they might lose, the Hand leaders flee, as Misty and Claire arrive to join the heroes. Misty agrees to hold off the police while Claire goes inside with the others, with Luke barricading the garage door with a pipe (apparently the only entrance left to the building due to its high tech security shutting everything else down).

Colleen reveals her explosives and the architect’s blueprints, and her plan to take down the building to end the threat of the Hand once and for all (thank God someone had a plan), and none of the heroes are on board, except for Matt who sees the sense in finally ending the threat of the Hand, Throw in the fact that he knows the building is empty and will harm no one but the Hand agents, and it does not seem that bad. Jessica reluctantly agrees just so they can end the nightmare, and Luke finally gives in, seeing the sense despite his objections. So they decide that Claire and Colleen will plant the explosives while Luke, Jessica, and Matt will go below to get Danny (and I think we all know where this is going, especially once they realize the explosive detonator is on a timer, so they will only have a limited time to escape).

Down below, sigh, no one is surprised when Elektra gets under Danny’s skin, makes him mad, and tricks him into using his Iron Fist on her, which of course she directs (in a bad-ass use of her sais) into the wall with the inscriptions, thus opening the door and revealing…. dragon bones. So it has been about dragon bones. And not THE dragon Danny is always talking about, but rather one of the many dragons that used to roam Earth, whose bones are harvested by the Hand to make their resurrection juice, and whose bones currently are the foundation of New York (I think) which is why if the Hand removes said bones, New York will literally fall. Danny is knocked aside since the Hand has what they want, Madame Gao and the others arrive and start mining “the substance,” while upstairs Matt uses his senses to find the hidden elevator to bring the Defenders downstairs for the final battle. Oh, except for Bakuto, who stays upstairs to fight Claire and Colleen after they lay the explosives.

The finale battle is pretty good, a little dark in my opinion, but otherwise a lot of fun to see the Defenders open up and take down the various members of the Hand, to see Luke cage lay out Murakami is especially satisfying for some reason. Up top, Colleen and Bakuto face off again, Claire tries to help but she is knocked aside, and then they are aided by Misty who does manage to shoot Bakuto, but he is somehow immune to bullets. That fight ends with Misty providing a momentary distraction as Bakuto cuts off her arm which Colleen takes advantage of to behead to Hand leader, but unfortunately he falls backward into the detonator, activating it and giving the Defenders mere minutes to get out of the building, a fact Matt is aware of due to his superhuman hearing (which personally, I’m a little skeptical of because he is so far underground).

Elektra is still fighting, as are many other Hand agents, but Matt tells Danny, Jessica, and Luke to take the elevator and get out of the building, claiming he will be right behind them after he deals with Elektra, but deep down everyone suspects what he is really doing. He whispers something to Danny on his way out, and then the Defenders have to fight off clinging Hand ninjas as they ride to the top.

Matt and Elektra have one final heated battle down below, with Elektra destroying the elevator controls so they cannot escape, ending with the two of them embracing in the dragon tunnel as the building starts to collapse, saying that at least they are together in the end. While outside, everyone watches the explosives go off, and the building implodes, ostensibly killing off the threat of the Hand, as well as Daredevil, with Danny revealing Matt’s final words were for them to “protect my city.”

The epilogue has Karen and Foggy grieving, Luke and Jessica learning the NYPD are pretending the heroes were not involved so they were not charged with blowing up a building (uh, ok), Colleen watching over Claire in a hospital owned by Danny and promising her the best of care (and finally that cybernetic limb from the comics), and a shot of Danny in a costume reminiscent of the one he is current sporting in the comics (sans mask) looking out over New York, preparing to take on Matt’s role as protector of the city. And in the final shot of the series, we see Matt wake up in the care of some nuns, with one of them calling for someone named “Maggie” to come now that Matt is awake.

It was a big ending, somewhat predictable, but overall a pretty fun sendoff for the series, though I wonder at the whole killing off Daredevil part, especially since we saw Matt alive at the end, and we already knew Netflix has greenlit Season 3 of ‘Daredevil’ meaning we knew there was no way Matt was really going to die. I’m hoping Danny Rand will do some growing up over the whole escapade since we are stuck with an ‘Iron Fist’ Season 2. I did enjoy the nice end scene with Luke and Jessica talking about how they should stay in touch which might hint that their romance is not over yet, which is good because in the comics they are actually married. I’m glad the show was only 8 episodes because honestly it kind of felt like they were running out of steam after they killed Alexandra, and I hope they stop killing their main villain in these Netflix series so early, because that “plot twist” has now been done and is no longer useful, especially when the secondary villains just aren’t quite as interesting as the original.

Still, ‘The Defenders’ was definitely a step in the right direction after ‘Iron Fist,’ the action was spectacular, and the series in general left me very excited for the next chapter of the Marvel/ Netflix MCU.

What did you think of the series? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!