When Daredevil first burst onto the scene in 2015, there was a ton of excitement. Not just for the show itself which was incredible, but for the impact it would have on the MCU. The dark gritty tone was unique compared to the rest of the live-action universe. But with this new show it seemed the use of a “formula” had been tossed aside, or so we thought. Two years and three more series later, and Marvel Netflix has become somewhat monotonous.
Make no mistake, I’m not disparaging the quality of each series, each one has its merits. I’ve enjoyed them all for the most part, but after being underwhelmed by The Defenders, it’s hard not to notice how much each series starts to blend in with each other. Defenders wasn’t bad, but it really highlighted the inadequacies of each show.
If evil is afoot in a hallway or back alley, rest assured one of The Defenders will show up for a long-winded highly choreographed fight. The hallway fight scene in the first season of Daredevil is still one of the coolest fights in any superhero show or movie, and it feels like each Marvel Netflix outing has been trying to live up to it ever since. Even the second season of Daredevil tried to recapture that hallway moment, but each time it falls flat. They should have left it as something special for Daredevil. Jessica Jones has a few brutally long fights in her apartment, but nothing overly choreographed.
Speaking of Jessica’s apartment, these shows suffer from a lack of different locations. Every big event could take place in one spot so many times before it gets ridiculous. In Defenders, they spent the majority of an episode in one restaurant. They didn’t even explore the whole thing, not the kitchen or even one of their precious hallways, it all took place in the single dining area.
Locations cost money and you have to make it last for a whole season, I get that, but do we even need 8 to 12 episodes? There are so few episodes yet somehow each series is riddled with filler. Around the midway point of Luke Cage, Cage literally wanders around aimlessly for two episodes after being shot; I still don’t understand why. Plot wise it leads to a confrontation with the police which was crucial, but actually in-story it made no sense. If he’s hurt seek help or lay low, why walk around like a zombie? Each season has its midway bumps in the road, that just kills some of the momentum.
The side characters are all blending together. They all function the same with their respective heroes too. They have the love interest, the best friend, and Rosario Dawson who is the most intrusive person I’ve ever seen. When they all met in The Defenders series, I was reminded of that Spider-Man meme with the two Spideys pointing at each other. They should all count their blessings they weren’t the heroes father figure, who all die at some point in the show.
Looking over my critiques it may be hard to believe that I actually enjoy what Marvel Netflix is doing and I do. Even Iron Fist had its moments, very few but there were some. The two Daredevil seasons were amazing and still my favorites. The first half of Luke Cage was some of the best television I’ve seen, shame the second half went in a different direction. The villain switch-up could have been better but I still love the show. Jessica Jones tackled sensitive issues head on like no other. There is so much good here, I’d just hate for them to follow the same path for every hero. The similarities between each show are getting harder to ignore.
It’s hard to imagine the upcoming Punisher series suffering from most of these same problems. They’ve referred to Defenders as the ending of phase one, so let’s hope phase two shakes things up a bit.