Previously only available on another streaming platform, many of the early Marvel TV series have recently become available on DisneyPlus. And indeed, the works created between 2015 to 2019 should by no means be dismissed as irrelevant.
What they have in common, besides the setting of New York, is the point of origin: the aftermath of the events depicted in the first Avenger movie. All those average citizens or superheroes-in-the-making “from next door” have to learn to deal with personal losses and traumatic experiences.
Another similarity – the DC Batman-evoking dark atmosphere and the “adult” attitude compared to the Avenger movies – kind of like the Lord of the Rings film adaptation relates to Game of Thrones….
The special aspect is how interconnected those different shows are. Those crossovers aren’t just characters that appear in almost all of them, e.g. nurse Claire (Rosario Dawson) or lawyer Jeri (Carrie-Anne Moss).
Above them all, of course, towers Daredevil – word has spread for years that this series is absolutely great – and, the latest news, another season is as good as confirmed! Outstanding cast, led by the charismatic Charlie Cox in the title role and the always brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio as baddie Wilson Fisk; plus a badass Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy (Elden Henson) as worthy additions to the team. Brilliant fight scenes that visually redefine the genre (see for instance season 1 episode 2 towards the end), great stories offering conflicts anchored in reality (e.g. crime syndicates, drugs, unscrupulous real estate speculators) – therefore an all-around top quality comic adaptation, highly recommendation! (PS: Also pay attention to the changing credits music from episode to episode).
Jessica Jones is drawing on film noir classics – what if Sam Spade was a young woman (with special talents and powers). Great, unconventional and a convincing lead actress (Krysten Ritter), even if her unchanged broken attitude becomes a bit too tiresome for me over the course of the series. Another criticism – it takes a bit too long for Jessica’s real problem and antagonist Kilgrave (David Tennant) to emerge. Still, another recommendation.
Iron Fist (Finn Jones) is perhaps a thing for fans of Kung Fu fight scenes, admittedly my main interest was cast member David Wenham as Harold Meachum. After fast-forward accelerated binge-watching of both seasons, I have to say, next to the charismatic Jessica Henwick, Wenham is also the best thing about the entire series. He delivers an intense and multi-faceted portrayal of an ambiguous character – villain or victim? Streamlining the plot, which feels stretched and meandering in the middle – maybe 10 episodes instead of 13? – would also have been good for the series. Iron Fist isn’t quite as bad as the rating on Rotten Tomatoes suggests, though – and they even gave better rating to the 2nd season, which I found really bad, downright boring – despite some visually and musically impressive scenes (tattoo ritual).
Luke Cage (Mike Colter) shows a sensitive side besides his imposing presence – I gained a positive impression in his crossover scenes, although I have not yet examined the series itself.
The same goes for the Punisher adaptation – Jon Bernthal makes a strong appearance in the 2nd Daredevil season, though, which made me curious about his solo series.
I’ll save the ultimate crossover series for later when I’m more acquainted with everyone involved. In The Defenders, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist team up to fight crime together. But for me this series as a must-see anyway.
Conclusion: Despite fluctuations in quality, the positive impressions outweigh the negative. Do not miss out on those television series.