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Will The Defenders be a Thrilling Work of Genius or just a bit of a Washout?

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Ever since the release of season one of Daredevil on Netflix in 2015, Marvel has been building an intricate superhero-filled universe in television series format. Along with a second season of the masked vigilante of Hell’s Kitchen, comic-book fans were treated to adaptations of other popular characters including Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. The four crime fighters will now join forces in The Defenders, which will be released in August. The show has huge potential to be awesome, but fans may be a little sceptical after the recent disappointment of Iron Fist.

The show makers Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez have plenty of scope for where they could take the Netflix series. In the original Marvel comics there was an entirely different set of heroes that formed the group known as the Defenders (originally Doctor Strange, The Hulk, Namor, and the Silver Surfer), so this line-up effectively has a clean slate. The writers may choose to use old Marvel comic book storylines with the different characters, but they could also opt to go in a new direction entirely.

Daredevil and Jessica Jones are already well-established characters in this gritty vision of New York, and their individual series received Rotten Tomatoes scores of 98% and 91% respectively. While these early outings were without a doubt strong successes, Luke Cage received more mixed reviews. Some loved the bulletproof protector of Harlem and thought he was the best of the bunch, while others criticised the show for its slightly slower pacing. Iron Fist is the Fish in this group of heroes, to borrow a term from poker. He’s the least experienced player, he hasn’t been well-established, and if the reviews of his standalone series are anything to go by, he is at risk of becoming a bit of a background character in this new ensemble. Perhaps Marvel was in a rush to introduce Danny Rand so that they could focus on bringing the whole group together, but the result was a poor effort that was slated by critics and comic book fans alike. With a score of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes and a harrowing two-star review from the Guardian, a lot of loyal viewers of the Marvel instalments may have lost faith.

That’s why the showrunners desperately need to get The Defenders right. They owe it to the fans who have sat through the 65 episodes of each of the characters’ individual stories. People are expecting something big, and looking at early trailers for the show that airs in August, it has the potential to be exceptionally rewarding. Beloved characters such as Stick and Elektra are set to return, along with Sigourney Weaver as the supervillain.

With wide support for Charlie Cox as Matt Murdoch and Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, along with a potential return of Jon Bernthal’s epic Punisher, The Defenders could be brilliant. Let’s hope that Marvel have learnt from the mistakes of Iron Fist and are ready to give the fans the best Marvel outing ever to hit TV screens.

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