Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the chance to watch Marvel’s The Defenders, Marvel’s Punisher, and the newest DCEU (or whatever its official name will become) film Justice Leauge. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts. I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum (except for The Defenders, that’s been out long enough) – but this won’t be spoiler free (I can’t share beefs with Justice League without spoilers). With that in mind, let’s get to it…
Marvel’s The Defenders
For the most part, I enjoyed The Defenders. It had similar issues to Luke Cage and Iron Fist in that it went too long – Defenders was a run of 8 eps that probably could have been 6, but the stuff I enjoyed outweighed the stuff I didn’t. The use of the Hand as the ‘big bad’ was a great choice, as it gave them a giant army to battle – I liked that better than just one person. But – hopefully, they’ll dial it back now. They did a great job of not only bringing the four heroes together but also intertwining their sub-characters; this wasn’t Daredevil or Jessica Jones (or thankfully not Iron Fist) featuring the other 3 – this was a true team up show, combining tones and what worked from each of the preceding shows. After viewing it, I really wanted to revisit Jessica Jones again. And Daredevil. So what were my favourite things about it? 1) Luke Cage and Iron Fist – please, just give us a Heroes for Hire show. These two have good chemistry and work SO well together, and the benefit of combining them is you could (potentially) get all the strengths of the two and none of the (many, in Iron Fist season one’s case) weaknesses. 2) When Daredevil dons the suit for the first time, the whole show kicks into another gear. Charlie Cox is SO GOOD as this character.
3) It get’s you excited for all the characters next seasons. Everyone is in a different place at the end of this from when they started (including Iron Fist, who was handled much better in this show than his own). It get’s you to their starting positions for their next solo series, and does it well. Especially in Daredevils case, it hints at what’s to come (looks like Born Again). The only thing I would have added would have been a brief Killgrave cameo in Jessica’s last scene, suggesting that’s she’s haunted by him – which I’m pretty sure she will be in season 2 (plus, any reason to have a David Tennant appearance). And 4) This: *skip to 2:30*
I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about early Wu-Tang Clan songs that just clicks with Marvel Netflix fight scenes. My favourite scene of Luke Cage was him tossing on the headphones and storming a base with ‘Bring Da Ruckus’ blaring, and then they bust out this gem – Protect Ya Neck – and a point when you don’t expect them to, and it just works so well. I was bobbing my head with a huge smile on my face the whole time it was playing. Great job, music people.
I’m looking forward to another season of The Defenders, should it happen. Possibly weaving in the Punisher (if for nothing else, to see a Luke Cage and Punisher interaction). Speaking of Punisher…
Simply put, the Punisher was EXCELLENT. It might be my favourite of the Netflix shows (I can’t place it at the moment, cause it’s so fresh, but for me, it goes Daredevil s1 followed by Jessica Jones. I need to revisit those top two and see how it holds up on a repeat viewing). It is fantastic. It has a great singular focus – and yet successfully weaves in and out some fantastic subplots. It’s run of 13 episodes makes sense, and serves the story the story they were telling – which was something I was nervous about. I also have to give praise to is the strength of the character writing. The writers get you invested and fully develop every character, so when they do something (good or bad), you care. They make you want one bad guy to get his comeuppance – and the other main villain, they develop him so well that they make you love and hate him at the same time. They make Micro WORK (and I didn’t think they could, but I never cared for Micro in the comics). I cannot praise the writing, and the acting enough; especially Jon Bernthal. Bernthal was on fire the whole show. It was like a tour de force. He was fantastic. He played the emotionally haunted man to perfection. You could feel his characters trauma. And, he had you rooting for his character – making you feel that this gun toting violent vigilante who is wanted for 37 known murders is at heart a good man – that’s a testament to his performance (and again, the writing of his character). Also gotta shout out Ben Barnes, great acting on his part. I’m glad they released this show, it was fantastic. You should definitely check it out. It’s a mark for Marvel and other shows to shoot for (pun intended). The only thing I’d change is that there is more sexuality in this series than the others, and I woulda toned that down. Just a heads up to those whom want to avoid that.
So Justice League dropped on the 17th and I had a chance to see it on the 16th (yay night before limited showtimes). And I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. See, I came out feeling like “yes, I liked this a fair bit” – but that happened with Suicide Squad (because of how bad Batman v Superman was), and when I saw it a second time it was more “wow…this is pretty bad”. So outside of Wonder Woman, with DC movies I can’t need to see it a second time. But since I won’t until the DVD/Blu-ray, here’s what I thought: it’s alright – but far from perfect. It did some really right things, but let’s look at the bad first (cause why not?). I’ve made no secret my dislike of the handling of Batman in the DCEU, and that’s something that continues here. Affleck does well with the material given, so I can’t knock his performance, but again I felt like I wasn’t watching Batman – I was watching a very Tony Stark inspired Bruce Wayne (and in this he was Bruce Wayne first who dons a mask, when it’s more so Batman is the person, Bruce Wayne is the mask). He was doing things that Batman simply would not do. He was reacting to things instead of being completely prepared (which at times happens, and works – but not to this extent). He was revealing his identity all willy-nilly, publicly in one scene no less, and did this multiple times – needlessly. That is something Batman would not do, and something I still can’t get passed – and to me is a really big error. It’s running time was also cut a bit too short, but it still worked. I would like to see how it works with the other 30-45 mins they filmed. I also wish they went with Wally West as the Flash; even though Ezra Miller was playing Barry Allan, I honestly felt like I was watching Wally West. I mean, I get with Flashpoint coming up it had to be Barry, but it seemed like he was Wally with some of Barry’s story. This is more a nitpick than anything. So what worked? Wonder Woman was excellently handled, the movie made me want more Aquaman (which, when a team movie is introducing characters to set up for a solo movie later, means it did its job) and more excited for his solo flick, and it continued to showcase Jeremy Iron’s excellent take on Alfred. But I need to shout out two things in particular. The first being Ray Fishers performance as Cyborg. I’ll be straight up, I’ve never really been a Cyborg fan – I just don’t care for the character, anytime he’s been there he’s been taking Martian Manhunters place – and I always want more Martian Manhunter, so Cyborg I was expecting to be a low point for me. But Fisher did a great job and got me much more invested (to the point that I enjoyed) his character than I ever expected to be. He took what I expected to be one of the low points of the movie and turned it into one of the highs. The second thing was the handling of Superman. He was the star of the show, and they finally nailed his character. There were so many great moments with him; him single-handedly taking on the League when he came back, the moment(s) where he squares off with Flash, peacing out during the big fight to save people, and in general nothing being able to phase/even touch him (which in a DCEU movie, we hadn’t yet seen – he’s taken a lot of pounding physically in his two movie appearances). You know, Superman stuff. WB needs to move up the Man of Steel sequel now while they’re nailing the tone of his character, and while Henry Cavil’s still able. Justice League was far from perfect, but it’s enjoyable. Let’s see how it holds up on a second viewing. At the moment, I’d say “yeah, go see it in theatres” – something I would not have said for Batman v Superman (or at all, man that one frustrates me).
Have you seen any of the above? What did you think of them? How would you rank the MCU Netflix shows. Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed. May the awesome God bless you all my friends.