Netflix’s The Defenders: Our Heroes…Or Are They?

An Unlikely Collaboration Does More Than Their Fair Share

By: Josiah Akhtab

Marvel’s The Defenders takes a refreshing spin on a predictable storyline, a group of neighborhood heroes who just want to do their part end up having to save an entire city from a maniacal organization.

It’s like The Avengers, but on a ‘right across the street’ scale.

The season starts with an interesting recap of the four characters (Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Matt Murdock and Danny Rand), though Marvel wasn’t thorough enough as to revisit the entire life story of each character; they were thorough enough to give the audience a basic understanding of where each character was coming from, as well as their emotional state at the time.

This aspect of The Defenders allows people to understand what’s happening, even if they hadn’t seen all four-separate series’.

Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), and Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) share a single commonality amongst all their differences: they all want normal lives despite their supernatural abilities.

Danny Rand (Finn Jones) however, seems to be all in for the superhero gig. The characters meet in rather unexpected ways as the proverbial twists of fate connect them through being arrested and thrown in interrogation rooms, investigating rings of upstart drug lords who are really a part of a mythical organization, indoor killings leaving them at the scene of the crime, just the life of an average hero.

As the story progresses and characters begin meeting each other, they continue to go against the grain of the superhero archetype, fighting for the normal lives they desperately want to lead.

Audiences have seen this storyline in many forms but never has it been so clearly stated, the writers at Marvel seem to make it a point to spoon feed the audience on what the story behind the characters was truly about.

In any other series, audiences would pick up on the characters’ emotional state and disposition as their seasons progressed; in this series, however, everything is laid on the table bare, for all to see.

This expression of disdain towards heroism poses certain questions such as, why don’t they want to be “heroes”? What do they have against heroism?

These questions aren’t directly answered in the series but the characters’ personalities seem to address it indirectly.

Jessica Jones’ laid back, alcoholic and sarcastic personality suggests she doesn’t want the tantamount obligations and responsibility of being a ‘superhero’ as she demonstrates aggravation when people expect any level of heroism or altruism from her.

Luke Cage, who is also laid back but not as sarcastic and rude, does have an affinity for helping people. However, he draws the line at full-time heroism, as he understands it wouldn’t just be about Harlem anymore, that he’d have to help everybody across New York.

Matt Murdock and Danny Rand are an interesting combination throughout the series, their personalities are polar opposites. Danny wants to save the world, he has a spring in his step and a naivete that makes him all the more childish. Matt Murdock, is the experienced hero who knows the risks and dangers presented to himself and others; as he remains the most skeptical out of the four.

Marvel has succeeded yet again in taking a tried, true and utterly predictable story line and turning it into something refreshing and binge-worthy for the audience. The only question left is if there will be a second season.

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