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‘The Defenders Ep 2 Mean Right Hook’: You cheated, Iron Fist, and you know it

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Spoilers pack a hell of a punch!

Welcome back to Hell’s Kitchen in the aftermath of the tremors from the previous episode! Matt just can’t seem to help himself and even without his horns, dives headlong into saving people. Matt (Charlie Cox) and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen are at war in one body, and only someone like Foggy could even make him pause for a second, but we’ll get to that.

Jessica’s friend Trish (Rachael Taylor) is here to report on Trish Talk, her radio show, about the quakes, and very suddenly gets all kinds of shut down fast. Detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick) and the Captain are called in to the case of the missing Architect John Raymond Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) was reluctantly working when she discovered a crap-ton of explosives in his hideout.

Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) have returned to the dojo to check on any damage, and after some seriously interminable discussion, decide to investigate alone the sword, a rare Tsukamoto Colleen called it, of the bad guy they had so recently fought.

Luke Cage (Mike Colton) and Claire the Night Nurse (Rosario Dawson) are of course off helping the people of Harlem recover from the tremors too, and with Luke insisting on going after the mysterious bad guys in his neighborhood of Harlem, Claire reluctantly aids him by pointing him in the proper direction. A place aptly named ‘Trouble and A Pair of Dice’, the gambling den where Luke meets up with Turk (Rob Morgan) from previous Netflix Marvel shows, who in turn directs him to follow the man known colloquially as “White Hat”, the real deep-rollin’ baller of Harlem.

Meanwhile Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) is getting a private concert after a sizable donation to the Philharmonic, and the way she makes conversation with the staffer afterwards hint at the wonderful strangeness that’s been Alexandra’s apparently very long life. The visitation from Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho), a Boss of The Hand, and her concerns for their current oblique plans, is blown off by the grand pronouncements of Alexandra. She really is about forging ahead and let the Devil (of Hell’s Kitchen?) take the hindmost.

Jessica is off doing what she does best, because aside from all the powers nonsense, Jessica really is a very good private dick—I mean, investigator. Her digging illuminates a bunch of shell companies that transferred all their assets to someone else, over and over and over, to the 1800’s and even before that. Which is curious, and fascinating, and a look at potentially how long The Hand has been at their nefarious schemes.

Matt and Foggy (Elden Henson) are having lunch at Josie’s, talking about Karen and stuff, and Foggy chastises Matt for his actions during the tremors, “Your knuckles speak volumes.” Despite his haircut (dear Foggy, I miss your long hair) and big boy suit and proud job at Hogarth’s legal firm, Foggy is still underneath it all, “One of the best damn avocadoes in Hell’s Kitchen!” and only concerned for Matt’s well-being. To that end, Foggy brings pro-bono overflow cases to try and distract Matt from his other world leanings with, to as Foggy bluntly puts it, “Keep you up to your eyeballs busy.”

It’s funny we should mention Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss), because the next scene has her coming to warn Jessica off the Architect case, let the Feds handle it. Nothing dissuades Jessica when she’s dug-in and indeed, Hogarth warning her away just seems to tell Jess she’s headed in the right direction. Even so, soon after that Hogarth warns a concerned Foggy, who now works for her, to keep Jessica’s current case the hell far away from their law firm. And it turns out she was right, because when Jessica returns to her office, she discovers all hell has broken loose with the Architect, and a surprise from a female assassin!

Meanwhile in an odd warehouse in Harlem, Danny and Colleen went looking for the makers of the Tsukamoto and have found only death, lots of death. All the sword-makers seem to have been slain, save for the one who got dragged away, and there’s a ubiquitous tapestry of K’un Lun on the wall. Not a thing coincidental about that, nope, nothing to see here folks, move along. Except that cleaner boys hired from around Harlem have been sent in, and Luke Cage was following one of ‘em, which of course leads to an altercation when Danny Rand takes it upon himself to rough up the boy in question for some answers.

This first confrontation fight I particularly enjoyed, because Danny got his whiny little ass handed to him, for at least the first round or two. All the training he’s endured his entire young life never prepared him for going up against someone like Luke Cage, and really, the only reason Danny technically won that fight was because he cheated with that glowing fist. Being chosen as “The Immortal Iron Fist, Slayer of The Hand” as Danny is, (he never shuts up about that, but that is a separate rant) one would think he would train to take on all different manner of enemies, because that’s certainly what The Hand does. But no, Danny just uses the catch-all chi weapon to take down one of his potential allies.

In a short but entirely expected vignette, we find out what happened to the one person dragged away from the sword-maker slaughterhouse, as Alexandra has a moment with everyone’s favorite returning badass, Stick!

And at the end, as Detective Knight is trying to interrogate a recalcitrant Jessica Jones with all sorts of un-answered questions, things come screeching to a halt as Jessica suddenly gets herself a lawyer, the other best damn avocado in Hell’s Kitchen, Matt Murdock!

It’s a very good second episode, all things considered. A great many of the secondary characters from each Marvel Netflix show – Foggy Nelson, Hogarth, Trish, Misty Knight, of course Claire – are now criss-crossing the various character arcs with perfectly plausible reasons for doing so. There isn’t much in the way of epic fight scenes as yet, unless you count the fight betwixt Danny and Luke, and I’d rather not, since the allies are supposed to be fighting bad guys, not each-other. But each main character gets his or her heroic moment in this episode, while their supporting cast looks on with worry, and the show is shaping down to have terrific confrontations in the next episode!

‘The Defenders Ep 1 The H Word’: The Hand Resurrects … again?!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2017 by aliciamovie

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By Steve The Space Wizard

There is no defense against all the Spoilers ahead!

‘The Defenders’ is probably my second most anticipated Marvel production of the year, the first being ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2’. Ever since we were introduced to the Marvel Netflix characters we’ve been dying for an epic team up, like the Avengers except on television, where we actually have the luxury of time for authentic character development. We’ve met Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Danny Rand, and their entire supporting casts. We’ve had at least one season of each hero (in Matt’s case we got two).

Although the Marvel Netflix series have been somewhat uneven, they have delivered a cast of very grounded characters who hurt and bleed. One of my beefs with the Marvel movie universe is the stakes always seem so low, not just because characters don’t die very often, but they don’t even look like they get hurt very much, with cartoon-y action sequences where heroes and villains get pummeled like Wile E. Coyote and just shrug it off in the next scene. But with our street-level heroes, we genuinely worry about the stakes. They can get hurt, both physically and emotionally. The people they care about can die. We know the main characters will be fine, but the visceral, bloody, and often unglorified violence that follow the lives of our protagonists, who have to make difficult choices, just makes for realistic and compelling storytelling, even in the world of weird superheroes. ‘The Defenders’ is a slow burn, just like all the other Marvel Netflix series, and we’re grateful for this. A good buildup means a good payoff, when done well, and early reviews seem to indicate ‘The Defenders’ is firing on all cylinders.

Episode 1 (The H Word) opens with a brief re-introduction to our heroes, exactly where they left off when we last saw them. We see Danny Rand and Colleen Wing hunting members of the Hand in Cambodia. Matt Murdock has apparently given up being Daredevil, and is in full lawyer mode. Luke Cage gets released from jail, thanks to the efforts of Foggy Nelson, who now works for Jeri Hogarth. Jessica Jones is reluctantly going back into business as a private investigator. While Danny and Colleen are in full mission mode, the rest of the characters are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives. Matt’s trying to maintain the only relationship left in his life with Karen Page. After a successful court case, Matt and Karen share a quiet moment having coffee together in a cafe. Luke on the other hand, looks for Claire Temple to also “have coffee”, but in their case they want to fuck, and boy do they want to do it badly; they break furniture while doing it. Jessica, like Luke, has joined the ranks of superheroes, much to her chagrin. Although she wants to just lie low and bum around, her friends Patsy Walker and Malcolm Ducasse egg her on to start doing hero stuff again.

The most interesting new character though, is Sigourney Weaver’s villain Alexandra. She’s a mysterious, wealthy woman who’s pulling puppet strings. She’s been diagnosed with a fatal disease, and she has a matter of weeks before she dies. Before she does, she’s got plans for New York City. Evil plans. Weaver plays the villain with tremendous screen presence, and we believe she is the terrifying boss queen that she is. Who is she? What does she want? Even Madame Gao seems to be scared of her. She tells Gao to set events in motion that is her evil plan, and by the end of the episode, we see her on a rooftop as the city literally crumbles in an earthquake-like disaster. At her side is Elektra, whom the Hand has apparently resurrected. Danny and Colleen return to New York after they are ominously warned by a dying man in Cambodia that there is where their fight will be.

One of the cool things about the series is how color is used to frame the characters. Matt’s scenes are awash in red. Luke’s is in yellow, while Jessica and Danny get blue and green filters respectively. Alexandra’s scenes are bright and white, which contrasts ironically with how dark her character is. It’ll be interesting how the color mixes when they all finally come together.

Be amazed as ‘The Defenders’ come together on Netflix, out now!