With Netflix’s The Defenders set to release on August 18th, now is a good time to catch up on any of the episodes you missed. I recently finished up Iron Fist, so let’s rank the four separate series from my least favorite to favorite.
4. Luke Cage
Luke Cage is my number 4. Now, this is not to say that this show is bad, or that I didn’t enjoy it; I did. There just seemed to be something missing from the first season. I love Luke Cage, the character, especially his back story. We get a few episodes where we dive into his past and how he becomes “Power Man.” The rest of the series is a bit, meh.
The show starts out strong; showing Luke living in Harlem after the events of Jessica Jones (who is barely mentioned), just trying to live a normal life. As with any super hero, this doesn’t really work out. Luke becomes the local neighborhood hero, trying to keep order. The show is great at this point, Luke taking the law into his own hands, trying to take down the bag guys.
What led me put this series at #4, was the lack of a main threat. By the end of the series we have an almost shoehorned final villain, who just isn’t that interesting. Most of the series builds up the conflict with one villain, only to move to a second and then a third by the end. I found myself wanting the show to end, so I could move on. Never a good sign. It’s a shame too, since Luke Cage is a great character who I wanted to learn more about, right from his introduction in Jessica Jones.
Side Note – I HATED the music of this show. The soundtrack was less hip-hop and more 60’s cop show. I really could not stand it.
3. Iron Fist
Iron Fist; it’s clear Netflix rushed this one out. The show isn’t polished, but I found it more interesting than Luke Cage, so it falls into my number three spot.
Danny Rand, the thought to be dead heir of Rand Enterprises, was on a plane with his parents when he was 10, which crashed. Danny somehow survived only to be trained in martial arts by immortal monks. Oh, and he also defeated a dragon to become the powerful, Iron Fist. At the start of the series, we see Danny as he returns to America, looking to find his old friends who have taken over his father’s company. While he’s back, it’s also the job of the Iron Fist to fight their old ach-enemy, The Hand.
I enjoyed most of the series’ beats, even though it was a bit 70’s Kung-Fu movie-esque. There was a decent story arc, twist and great acting (maybe not so much from Finn Jones. He was okay). The real issue, everything was clearly rushed. Most of the action is very much in the shaky-cam style; a lot of quick cuts, which make it hard to see what’s going on. This is an issue in a series which should be about Kung-Fu fights, it should be the main focus (or at least the part that’s done the best). The show comes nowhere close to the fantastic choreography of Daredevil.
Now onto Finn Jones; I actually like him as Danny Rand, but he doesn’t really look the part of someone who training Kung-Fu vigorously, for years. He’s mentioned in previous interviews that he only had three weeks to train before shooting, and would learn choreography sometimes, 15 minutes before shooting and the viewer can tell.
With all its flaws, Iron Fist is held together by some decent story arcs and some particular stand out performances (David Wenham as Harold Meachum and Tom Pelphrey as Ward Meachum).
It is worth mentioning that this was the only show that I didn’t feel the need to marathon and finish. Daredevil and Jessica Jones I finished in a couple days. Luke Cage, which I ranked below this, I finished in a week. Iron Fist took me about a month. I just wasn’t that addicted.
Daredevil, is fantastic. Yes, it’s number 2, but I went back and forth. We’re in must-watch territory here. If you haven’t experienced Daredevil, you need to.
After being blinded and the death of his father, Matthew Murdock was trained to use his senses so that he could see without sight. He walks around with a cane and plays up his blindness, but he can hear, feel, see and fight (he also learned martial arts, go figure) better than you can. No super-human abilities beyond his fighting skills and heightened senses.
Season 1 – A bit slow, but necessary to build up Matt Murdock and his super hero persona, The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Vincent D’Onfrio puts on an amazing performance as Wilson Fisk (AKA The Kingpin). Matt Murdock is bad-ass as both Daredevil and as a lawyer. A great introduction to the Marvel Netflix Universe.
Season 2 – Amazing. The Punisher, a fantastic interpretation by Jon Bernthal. So good, that there will be a Punisher series.
There’s more to this season than just The Punisher, though. We have Elektra and The Hand to deal with, as well. The best part, the season does not lose focus, even though there is a lot going on. Great action, build up and ending. You want season 3, when it ends. This was the season that had me debating Daredevil’s position on my list.
1. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones is different. The main villain, aptly named, Kilgrave, is psychopath who has the power of mind control. Jessica Jones; a private investigator, who also has superhuman strength. At one point Kilgrave met and took control of Jessica, her body and her powers. She managed to get away and lives in fear that he will show up and take control of her yet again.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, pop-corn, action show. Marvel and Netflix really did a fantastic job with Jessica Jones. The series is dark, adult and awesome. The acting is great, the characters are great (Luke Cage is better here than in his own series). It plays out as more of a psychological thriller that just happens to have people with super-human abilities.
I gave Jessica Jones the nod over Daredevil, because it can exist outside of Marvel. Sure there are some superpowers to deal with, but I recommend this show to people who aren’t a fan of super heroes.
If you only watch one Marvel Show, this would have to be it.
So there you have it. My favorites are Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Probably not a big surprise. Now we all wait in anticipation for The Defenders to be released on Netflix on August 18th. Let me know in the comments what your favorite season was.