The Netflix/Marvel series of web-shows, which includes Daredevil (the best of them all), Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, as well as the upcoming Punisher series, have been very popular, and are generally far superior to the network comic book TV series. The Defenders is the culmination of the Netflix web-verse so far. This is the time to be careful and not make any stupid mistakes. Here is what they should avoid.
Avoid Too Much World Building: Trying to tie four separate series together, with all their various characters, is a tough task. It becomes more difficult when you begin building up future stories. A big mistake that could derail the Defenders is if it spends too much time trying to set up the plots for future seasons, or future series like The Punisher. This is what hurt films like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Amazing Spider Man 2 and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. When a show or film becomes too much like a long “coming soon” advertisement, it loses the audience. The Defenders needs to keep its focus on what’s happening in the Defenders, not what will be happening in season three of Daredevil or season two of Jessica Jones. Just give us a good Season One of the Defenders, and worry about future seasons later.
Avoid Poor Pacing with the Plot: The Defenders will only be eight episodes long, as opposed to 13, as the previous Netflix shows were. With all the characters involved, there might be a tendency to rush through the plot and all the subplots to fit everything into eight episodes. This could result in something confused and cluttered, like X-Men 3: The Lat Stand. On the other hand, you don’t want to move too slowly either, because that was one of the biggest criticisms of Iron Fist. The Defenders needs to find its proper pace and stick to it.
Don’t Ignore Any of The Characters: It’s been a long-running flaw in Marvel team films that they focus on the more popular characters, while others are given very little to do. For instance, X2: X-Men United was heavy on Wolverine and Storm but light on Cyclops. The Avengers showed us a lot of Iron Man and Captain America but Thor was merely an afterthought. Let’s hope they don’t make that mistake here and keep one of the four main characters on the sideline while the popular names steal the show. As much as I like Daredevil, Iron Fist needs to get some screen time, too.
Don’t Forget the Costumes: Costumes go with super heroes like Trolling goes with the Internet. So far, in the trailer and posters I’ve seen for the Defenders, there are no costumes in sight. Okay, Jessica Jones doesn’t wear a costume and Luke Cage no longer wears his trademark yellow shirt, headband, chain belt, etc. but what about the other two? Iron Fist didn’t wear a costume at all in his series, and we don’t see one in the trailer or posters. And while Daredevil wore his red costume in season two of his show, we only see him here fighting in his business suit and tie. The one glimpse we get of his red devil outfit, it’s in a box. This is a MARVEL super hero show, it’s not Heroes. A Marvel super hero show should maintain the legacy of the comic book tradition, so bring on the costumes.
Don’t Have a Weak Villain: The Netflix shows have had some excellent bad guys…Wilson Fisk, Kilgrave, Cottonmouth, Madam Gao. Hopefully, whoever Sigourney Weaver is playing will be a formidable, interesting villain. The big screen MCU has had some disappointing baddies so far. We don’t need another Aldrich Killian or Justin Hammer. We expect the best from these Netflix shows. If the Hand is involved, we should have Madam Gao involved once again. So at least we’ll have one good villain if Weaver turns out to be a dud.
Don’t Go Too Dark: Dark and somber can be effective sometimes but not for team concepts. The 2014 Fantastic Four is a good example of what happens when you try to go dark with a super team. Also, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are not dark-and-gloomy characters. While the Netflix shows have been a bit bleaker than the big screen MCU, they don’t go overboard with the grim-and-gritty stuff. Daredevil was a somewhat dark series but it knew when to lighten up. The characters smiled sometimes. The best part of the Avengers was when the characters bounced their personalities off each other and bantered. Don’t make the mistake Man of Steel and Batman v Superman made. Let some sunlight in.
Don’t Make the Action Scenes Dull: One of the strongest criticisms of Iron Fist was about the overly stylized and unexciting action scenes. In a super hero show, a lame action scene is very, very bad. The Defenders needs to take its que from the excellent Daredevil, which has amazingly choreographed fight scenes. In fact, the hallway fight scene of season one, episode two (“Cut Man”) is one of the greatest—if not The greatest—fight scene in small screen history (and better than in most films, too.) The Defenders should try to live up to that standard.