Sometimes we wonder if the worst thing to ever happen to geek movies/TV was the massive success of the first Avengers movie.
That one event and Marvel Studio’s continuing success has had movie/TV executives doing their damnedest to replicate the formula.
Marvel and Netflix attempted the same with the former’s lower tier ‘street’ characters viz. Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). And while the first two were unqualified hits, the other two were disappointing.
Especially when you consider that this 8-part series was what the various individual series were leading up to – The Defenders.
Anti-climax. One cannot help but feel let down by all the hype being ultimately unjustified by this unnecessary team up. Poor writing, poor pacing, poor characters and poor acting (!) dog this series throughout.
Siguorney Weaver does her best to illuminate the opening episodes as Alexandra Reid – the leader of the now-literal Hand – but she can only do so much in the face of bad writing.
The fact that The Hand is now revealed to also include Madam Gao (Wai Ching Ho), Sowande (Babs Olusanmokun), Murakami (Yutaka Takeuchi) and Bakuto (Ramón Rodríguez), becomes ridiculous.
Sure, we understand that the writers did not want to be tied down to the Japanese origins of the comic book version (and why the fuck not?) but making The Hand related to K’un Lun is simply impossible to fathom and raise too many unanswered questions that are never addressed.
You would think that the pacing problems faced in the Luke Cage and Iron Fist series would be aided by a shorter episode count but you would be wrong. There are swathes of sequences that simply drag the narrative down and fight scenes that seem to go on for too long.
There is a blatant lack of chemistry in the team up not helped by Finn Jones being utterly miscast as Iron Fist – and his character being written as lame and dumb.
The characterisations are so stereotypical – Matt Murdoch is moody, Jessica Jones is whiny, Luke Cage is a party pooper and Danny Rand is impetuous.
And what about Elodie Yung’s awful turn as Elektra/Black Sky? Her face is constantly contorted to reflect some kind of discomfort with her unnatural resurrected existence and she overplays this every single time.
Which brings us finally to the plot. The Hand need “the substance” in order to continue being immortal (Marvel’s version of the Lazarus Pit) – which is revealed to be dragon bones (!) located in the bowels of Hell’s Kitchen accessible somehow by Iron Fist’s power and the removal of which would threaten the very foundations of New York.
For a TV universe that prizes some measure of realism, the entire premise is preposterous. Again, we are expected to take these story elements at face value without much explanation and there is nothing else (not relatable characters or dazzling action) to distract us from these glaring flaws.
By all means, work on the individual series – with the promise of The Punisher to come – have limited crossovers and most importantly, forget about a Defenders sequel.
… still there’s more …