Marvel’s “Defenders” falls short of hero status

3/5 Stars

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Marvel’s “Defenders” falls short of hero status

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The new Netflix series “The Defenders” is a limited-run TV show that is the latest Marvel Studios installment. During the course of the eight episodes, Mathew Murdoch, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Danny Rand interact as a new super hero team, discovering their chemistry, strengths and motivations.

While the casting is done well in the sense that each actor portrays his or her character remarkably, the actual characterization is lacking. Unlike previous Marvel titles, which built the world of the show on people’s prior knowledge, “The Defenders” makes the mistake of treating the audience as if it had no familiarity with the characters.

To add to the disjointedness, the directors decidedly film each character with their signature colors (Daredevil a rosy red hue, Luke Cage a golden tint, etc.). While it is a bold decision, it makes the show rather displeasing to view. It simply does not work, in the sense that each of the characters spends a majority of his or her screen time with other characters, so a constantly changing filter has too many conflicting colors.

The dialogue forces the writers to come up with excuses for certain plot elements, holes or even unprecedented character flips. For example, in the last episode of “Luke Cage,” the title character gets sent back to prison. In the beginning of “The Defenders,” he is instantly released from prison.

The show does, however, match the level of quality Netflix usually produces. The humor is subtle and polished, character arcs have better chemistry later on than in the first few episodes, and the overall feel is still genuinely enjoyable. But, due to the commercial principle of a widened target demographic and the ever-increasing “hype” the Studio is known for, the show falls short of that 100-meter dash it was trying to win.

“The Defenders” may have its flaws, but it is still entertaining, enjoyable and distinguishable from its predecessor TV counterparts.