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‘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!