– Commentary and review by Daryll Benjamin –
I’d been brimming with energy this past week here in NYC. WWE was in town for Summerslam so the whole week I’d had my inner (and outer) wrestling geek going nuts. In addition, Friday saw the debut of The Defenders on Netflix which, you know, is near and dear to me. And of course, I’ll be ending this one with a review . . . that’s HOPEFULLY spoiler free. I apologize ahead of time. But first . . .
– I don’t know how many times I can tell you folks to check out SyFy Friday Nights. Dark Matter, Killjoys & Wynonna Earp have all stepped their games up and have become must -watch science fiction/horror/comedy viewing.
– On the comedy sci-fi bent, I must say that I am surprised about what I am going to say next: Marlon Wayans’ Naked is quite good. Over the years, The Wayans’ comedy has gotten a bit overexposed for me where I could see the jokes coming. This one from Marlon shows surprising depth. He plays Rob, a never-do-well substitute teacher who is going to get married to his dream girl Megan, played by Regina Hall. Unfortunately, he keeps waking up in the hotel elevator, an hour late for his wedding, naked. Take Bachelor Party (Tom Hanks version) and mix it with Groundhog Day as everything that can possibly go wrong to him each “day” does. Again, we grow along with Rob as he tries over and over and over and over again to get married.
– Dudes and Dudettes! Voltron Season 3! Whoa! See it now!
ANNNNNNND NOW! Time For My Main EVENT!!!
Directed by S.J. Clarkson, Uta Briesewitz, Peter Hoar, Stephen Surjik & more
Written by Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez & more
Charlie Cox: Matt Murdock Mike Colter: Luke Cage
Krysten Ritter: Jessica Jones Finn Jones: Danny Rand
Rosario Dawson: Clarie Temple Jessica Henwick: Colleen Wing
Simone Missick: Misty Knight Sigourney Weaver: Alexandra
Wai Ching Ho: Madame Gao Babs Olusanmokun: Sowande
Yutaka Takeuchi: Murakami Elodie Yung: Elektra Natchios
Scott Glenn: Stick Elden Henson: Foggy Nelson
Rachael Taylor: Trish Walker Eka Darville: Malcolm Ducasse
Deborah Ann Woll: Karen Page Carrie-Anne Moss: Jeri Hogarth
Wow. I certainly bit off a bit more than I could chew here with trying to give a passionate review without spoiling the shit out of this. Let me start with the overview, The Defenders start off seemingly where each of the individual series left off — 1 year later: Danny Rand aka Iron Fist and Colleen Wing are tracking down remnants of The Hand around the world; Matt Murdock aka Daredevil is estranged from Karen Page and Foggy Nelson; Luke Cage is now coming out of prison; Jessica Jones is, well . . . Jessica is Jessica. Meanwhile, The Hand have been making serious moves into the infrastructure of New York. A series of deaths/weird occurrences forces the disparate vigilantes together and literally the last half of the series involves them trying to form a unified front vs the overwhelming forces of evil.
8 episodes in total of geeky goodness for me here Folks! Let’s start with the elephant in the room: Finn Jones looks WAY more polished and comfortable as Danny/Iron Fist. His fight scenes are 100 times better and Jones holds his own in scenes with the other 3 headliners. If you couldn’t see how Danny and Luke could be friends before, well after this you get it. The writers obviously went to school on several incarnations of their dynamic. So with that out of the way, I’m moving on to part 2 . . .
Each vigilante here has an overreaching story arc about becoming a hero which has grown out of their prior series experiences: Danny’s mission of vengeance. Luke’s mission of redemption. Matt’s self-torture between normalcy and “higher callings” & Jessica’s desire to just forget. They each are broken mirrors of one another and the intriguing part is that it helps in the more intimate scenes between them. Each one has a moment with the others. It’s amazing how all this has fit into just 8 episodes because . . .
THE HAND WAS EVERYWHERE! Holy Crap! Sigourney Weaver was The Emperor from the Star Wars trilogy here with Yung’s Elektra as her Darth Vader. She started a little slow but exuded an air of menace throughout while Elektra was just kicking booty. Folks don’t even have to ask me about what I feel about Wai Ching Ho. Her Madame Gao is the ultimate villainous chess player and brings out the best/worst in everyone. I didn’t know about Yutaka Takuechi before this but man, his Murakami was Jet Li-like. And I have to admit, I thought Babs Olusanmokun’s Sowande was going to be traditional cannon fodder but they found a way for him to command the scenes he was in. This wasn’t even the strongest part of the series though.
The strength of The Defenders is the way the showrunners integrated the 4 series together realistically, seamlessly. You had great scenes with Misty Knight talking to Colleen and Trish talking to Malcolm. Stick interacting with Luke felt as fluid as Elektra fighting with Jessica. You could see this actually happening on the streets and alleys of NYC. This is the feeling I felt with Avengers and Captain America: Civil War. This is what I hope Avengers: Infinity War is going to be. All the credit in the world to the showrunners and writers for coordinating all of this to the point where it felt like this happens everyday.
The Defenders Grade: A-/B+ and that’s only for little problems with timeline/continuity, but you’ll easily forget that. This is a must-watch payoff for the Netflix First Phase Folks! (say that three times fast! LOL)
Thx For Reading & Until Next Time, Keep Fantasizing!
Blerd. Irritant. Blogger. Podcaster at afronerd.com. Daryll was a quiet, insecure person for years, then an incident blew Daryll’s mind to the point where he couldn’t keep it inside anymore. Now that the rage is released, EVERYONE will receive his words. Read Daryll’s CBU Column: One Man /// Riot