It was the year 2019 when we had witnessed the last of ‘The Defenders‘ on Netflix. The somewhat tight-knit group of vigilantes – namely, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Jessica Jones, Luke Cage (Carl Lucas), and Iron Fist (Danny Rand) – had a fair share of their time on the streaming platform. But what brings the ever-curious Marvel fans back to these small-screen saviors of New York City after all these years?
Post the appearances of Charlie Cox‘s Matt Murdock in Spiderman: No Way Home and Vincent D’Onofrio‘s Kingpin in Hawkeye, the chances of more such characters crossing over into the MCU are quite high. Reports suggest that Marvel has constantly considered signing these fan-beloved characters and casting them in their movies and shows. With such news covering the media, there’s no harm in watching the Netflix shows, and this article will help you know everything that you should before diving into the Universe.
The Defenders Universe At a Glimpse
Following is a list of all the content that Netflix has produced in collaboration with Marvel Studios. All shows have been listed in the order that they can be watched in, and no spoilers have been leaked. Check the ratings to save your time and energy with a quick review of each season.
DAREDEVIL (SEASON 1)
Released on: April 10th, 2015
They say sacrifices build a better tomorrow. Well, with Matthew Murdock, every sacrifice did pay out well in the future.
Our hero was tragically blinded in a car accident, having being exposed to some radioactive material. However, the loss of vision resulted in the elevation of his other four senses to abnormally high levels.
To add to his heap of tragedies, Matt’s professional boxer father was killed, and he had to find refuge in an orphanage. Still, his resiliency led to him being trained to be both a practicing lawyer and a hand-to-hand fighter. The so-called ‘Daredevil’ now works as a lawyer by the daylight and acts as a vigilante in the dark nights of Hell’s Kitchen.
Another element that made this show more unique was the subtle approach adopted for the villain. Wilson Fisk and his partners in crime showcased a tough opposition for our hero. Overall, this show was a solid start to the Universe and proved to be one of the better shows than its rivals.
JESSICA JONES (SEASON 1)
Released on: November 20th, 2015
Another brilliant superhero tale that brings us the extraordinary story of Jessica Jones. Tragic childhood, depressive adult life, but the determination to fix things all around drives Jessica forward.
After losing her parents and brother in a car accident, Jones realized that she possesses superhuman powers. She grows up to become a drunk, private investigator that suffers from PTSD, thanks to one Mr. Kilgrave (played by the amazing David Tennant)
This series surpasses all expectations that you would have before beginning to watch. A complex thriller that excites you both psychologically and emotionally. The witty Jessica Jones dodges the adversities that hit her hard and still manages to make it through.
For a series like Jessica Jones and particularly the first season, I would yet again draw the best ratings out of my bag. A fresh concept, with much to be watched and thought about by the viewers, this one is a complete meal altogether.
DAREDEVIL (SEASON 2)
Released on: March 18th, 2016
As they say, a sequel is not always better than the original. The same happens with Daredevil’s second season – excellent characters, mediocre story.
The initial screentime of the second season may for sure gain your attention. With the arrival of the much-hyped Punisher (played by the talented Jon Bernthal), the first half of this season is a mix of nail-biting action and a ton of fists and kicks.
However, the second half shifts its focus more towards the romantic relationship of Matthew Murdock and Elektra Natchios (played by the adorable Elodie Young). For pure hardcore fans, the second half might either be a disappointment, or it might just turn out to be some sensible character building in a sea of dark crime, blood, and goth.
As of its rating, the first season still has an upper edge over this one. So let’s say it was an enjoyable ride, though not the very best from its creators.
LUKE CAGE (SEASON 1)
Released on: September 30th, 2016
After the appearances of Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix, Marvel introduced another superhero figure, Luke Cage.
Also known as Carl Lucas, our superhero is a former cop falsely accused of murder. Seeking out a peaceful life, Cage often finds him at the crosshairs of trouble. And like a good vigilante, he fights against the evils of society to protect the ones he loves.
Simple story, right? The only cool thing here is that he is a bulletproof man.
Bullets don’t kill our hero, and Mike Colter portrays the character well. Even the villain, Cottonmouth (played by the brilliant Mahershala Ali), stands up to the expectations and delivers a solid performance. The only thing here that might drop the ratings is the lack of essence in the storyline, which was better seen in the other two shows.
IRON FIST (SEASON 1)
Released on: March 17th, 2017
Our next superhero does not have a happy childhood either. A 10-year-old plane crash survivor raised by the Monks of K’un-Lun after his parents’ death, Danny Rand was trained to become the Immortal Iron Fist through excruciating pain and mental discipline.
But his will is not tested in the sanctuary of K’un-Lun. Instead, the battle is brought back to New York, where Rand must restore his family business legacy from the hands of his father’s business partner. The actor Finn Jones has put in his best efforts to fit in the role, but this show fell flat on its face thanks to some lousy writing and crappy story outlining.
If you don’t believe my word, look up the IMDB Ratings or reviews from the viewers. Iron Fist is easily a show that you can skip in the Universe of the Defenders and still manage not to miss anything.
THE DEFENDERS (LIMITED SERIES)
Released on: July 31st, 2017
Post the individual shows of all heroes, it was time to bring all the good power under one roof. Attempting at creating a small-screen replica of The Avengers, The Defenders is a poorly written show that manages to do nothing more than create a cumulative fight of the vigilantes of New York.
What could have been a lot better version of the backstreet fighting and a standalone character-driven storyline that the individual shows had produced turned out to be a colossal flop. A missed opportunity to group the vigilantes and distinguish them on their character conflicts makes the villain look a lot tougher and vicious.
Apart from the decent acting and average fighting scenes, there isn’t much that can be soaked in from the dull storytelling and repetitive sequences. A bad rating for this one, but still better than Iron Fist. Sorry, Danny Rand.
THE PUNISHER (SEASON 1)
Released on: November 17th, 2017
After a bunch of low-key series by Marvel Studios, it was time for a major hit. And that is exactly what the first season of The Punisher turned out to be – an extraordinary effort at bringing the ruthless Marvel Comics’ character from ink to screen.
Right from the beginning, the talented Jon Bernthal played out Frank Castle in the best way possible, showcasing his raw, unfiltered traits throughout the show. The character, unlike Iron Fist, connected with the fans and was successful in returning for a second season.
As for the ratings, the intense performance put up by the entire cast mesmerized me enough to give it a good one. Plus, the storyline was also appreciable, as every scene proved its validity with worthy character development and fulfilling action scenes.
JESSICA JONES (SEASON 2)
Released on: March 8th, 2018
In the first season of Jessica Jones, we watched her overcome the evil Kilgrave. After crashing through the limited series of The Defenders, Jones is out to solve another case that challenges her past and powers.
A compelling plot pushed this show’s season until it actually came out in front of the viewers. With the lack of a villainous power as supreme and dominating as Kilgrave, this season was crushed under the expectations that fans held for it. Although Krysten Ritter’s outstanding performance managed to make up for it, the absence of a strong driving force behind the character put the fans off.
Despite the mixed reviews this season was treated with, Jessica Jones still returned for a third season, piling up a load of new expectations from the fans. However bad the character development was in this season, it still stands as a tolerable show that pushed Jones in the right direction.
LUKE CAGE (SEASON 2)
Released on: June 22nd, 2018
This season of Luke Cage begins with the Power Man being treated like a celebrity of Harlem. Having fought against the evils in the previous installment, Cage had viewed this one as a pretty relaxing time.
However, his plans were spoiled by a plethora of old and new foes that yearned to bring down the Hero of Harlem. Mariah Dillard (played by the spectacular Alfre Woodard) stood out from the adversaries as an almighty entity for Luke age to cross paths with.
Overall, this was a better season than the previous one and greatly added to the legacy of Luke Cage. The writers had definitely learned from their mistakes and took steps to raise the show’s tempo while raising the bar of expectations for the Power Man to deliver upon.
IRON FIST (SEASON 2)
Released on: September 7th, 2018
Frankly speaking, this is not the second season that I had anticipated. With the first one being a huge disappointment, Iron Fist turned the tables in its second installment with many memorable moments, good acting, and a massive improvement in the character and story building.
Danny Rand returns to keep the peace in the city of New York using the powers of the Immortal Iron Fist, with a bunch of new characters joining his screentime.
Although even with the positive response to season two, things haven’t been any good for Rand as Netflix didn’t push ahead for a third season. Iron Fist has set a decent backstory around it through its time on Netlfix, so any future appearances in the MCU will be appreciated.
DAREDEVIL (SEASON 3)
Released on: October 19th, 2018
A cliffhanger back from The Defenders pushes our excitement over the edge for the third installment of Daredevil. Matt Murdock has barely survived the aftermath of the final battle and is currently seeking refuge in the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. However, resting is not an option for our hero, as circumstances force him to gear up.
Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin is back and is as dominating as can ever be. Foggy and Karen will be beside Murdock as he questions his motives regarding his archenemy. This season was a huge success that helped push Daredevil into the MCU with his NWH appearance. Keeping fans wanting for more was the key behind an enormously hit saga of the blind vigilante.
Charlie Cox’s reprisal of the role cannot be overseen, with the actor born to be the character. There can be no replacement for a talent like him that could represent Daredevil in the way that he potentially does. A splendid season overall and the best way to end his saga on Netflix.
THE PUNISHER (SEASON 2)
Released on: January 18th, 2019
The best part about The Punisher was that throughout its two-season screentime, as well as the shared appearances in the other series, the character never failed to impress the viewers.
A solid cast, with impressive writing and climactic plot setup, Frank Castle has undoubtedly been built as a vigilante that can crossover into the MCU anytime soon now. He is definitely a superhero that can be compared to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil or Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin. With the saga that has been built around him on Netflix, Jon Bernthal is the top pick for the next character that fans can watch out for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Sadly for the fans, Netflix didn’t announce a third season for this one. Although the strong reception has been received clearly indicates a bright future for The Punisher, it also screams of missed opportunities.
JESSICA JONES (SEASON 3)
Released on: June 14th, 2019
For a show that would be concluding the era of the Netflix Marvel series, the third season of Jessica Jones got off the wrong foot.
From the beginning till the lackluster end of this season, nothing incredible happens. Jones stands head-to-head against a serial killer who provides a thrilling plot filled with twists and turns. An action-filled show with a tremendously compelling storyline was much anticipated, but the execution didn’t quite match the standards.
This season of Jessica Jones concludes the Marvel Universe on Netflix, and unfortunate to say, this was not a fitting end to the saga.
DEFENDERS UNIVERSE IN THE MCU
With Daredevil and Kingpin making their appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are equal chances for Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, or the Punisher to make their debuts as well. Not to forget the numerous small screen villains that played vital parts in the standalone series. Consequently, if any more of these characters could cross over to the big screen, Marvel fans could have a lot more in store for them.
Above all, this is an excellent time for Marvel fans across the globe to watch content all over the place. Watching their beloved characters switching their universes will undoubtedly be a big deal for them.
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