Where do "The Defenders" rank for you?
When Netflix announced that they would be expanding the MCU by bringing The Defenders to life, Marvel fans were hesitant. The last time Daredevil got a live-action outing, it became an example of what never to do in a hero movie. Still, Netflix pushed on and dropped Daredevil, shattering the world's expectations and launching an interconnected universe for Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Frank Castle, and Jessica Jones. The move worked, and everything appeared to be moving along nicely. Each show reached a second season (The Punisher is set to receive a second season next year), as well as a crossover mini-series. There must have been forces at work behind the scenes that fans were unaware of though, because both Luke Cage and Iron Fist were canceled in October.
Now that it appears Netflix's Marvel run is slowing down, or presumably coming to an end, it's time to look back at what The Defenders brought to the MCU. Was Jessica Jones's feminist-driven plot right on time, or did it come off as trite? Did Luke Cage's blatant nod to the plights of being a Black man display Marvel's cultural insight, or was it just a tired PR move? Each Defender brought something important to the table, but some showrunners orchestrated their plots better than others. The Punisher shined a light on mental health in the veteran community, and strayed away from glorifying war and nationalist pride. Daredevil uses the hero's Catholicism as a backdrop to explore questions of faith, humility, sin, and sacrifice. With a different direction guiding the five heroes, each series displayed something exceptional. Based off plot, execution, structure, and impact, here is our ranking of Marvel's Netflix shows.
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