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Defenders (2017)

A review by Nalini Haynes

Once upon a time there was the brilliant 5 star TV series Jessica Jones, starring a kick-ass female protagonist (Krysten Ritter) dealing with her former lover and current stalker. Then there was the almost-as-good TV series Luke Cage, with a bullet-proof African American (Mike Colter) looking after his own in a series with mostly black people that I — even though white — absolutely loved. Then there was the lesser series Daredevil, a TV series about a blind guy (Charlie Cox) whose sonar hearing is so good it’s surprising that he uses his hands to read braille, he is so NOT a representation of disability. (If you argue with me on this, I will fight you. I will have something to say about Daredevil in my thesis. Grr.) But still, even Daredevil had a more engaging hero, side characters and plot than the Iron Fist, the least of these series that stars a rich white guy (Finn Jones) who is a moaning, whiny brat like Annakin Skywalker in Star Wars II. The plot for the Iron Fist was so bad that I could not finish the first season. My partner sat through it and said he won’t watch season two.

So, with an excellent woman and African American and a lesser ‘disabled’ guy to choose from, who do you think the writers chose to centre this series around? The straight white nondisabled rich guy whose TV series absolutely sucked. I could have got behind the series if it was like the below image but, instead of having Danny as the least of the characters, he’s central. FFS.

This explains why the characters are shallow; Jessica Jones is inexplicable in her motivations after the one spark of selfhood showed when she took a case because she was threatened with retribution if she took the case. ‘My client, my client’ she says between mouthfuls of top shelf spirits, although her client considers the case closed and doesn’t want her around. And the heavy drinking in her own TV show was because she was being stalked by her abuser. While I don’t expect her to suddenly stop drinking, it shouldn’t be the thing that gets her up in the afternoon. And she’s still pining after Luke Cage. No. Just, no. That’s men writers for you. They demean and discount women protagonists.

In the early part of the Defenders season, my partner commented that he thought the writing teams for each series were writing those characters but that level of intelligence was well out the door by episode 5.

In the end, it was sulky boy telling everyone they have to help him because he’s the centre of the universe and unless they get better writers I won’t be watching any more Defenders.

Oh, and the fight scenes? The Iron Fist is a know-nothing guy who couldn’t martial art his way out of a soggy paper bag. Jessica Jones’s technique is to roundhouse punch and Luke Cage takes the bullets before slamming his fist into your face while Daredevil does a better job of the martial arts than the Iron Fist who is supposed to be a white guy who Asians better than all the Asian guys ever but is less disciplined than a high school athlete and as much of a whiny spoilt brat as Trump.

In conclusion? Don’t bother with The Defenders. You’ll be disappointed.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The Defenders



Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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