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– by David Kozlowski

The other day we got our first real look at Marvel and Netflix‘s The Defenders in their new teaser trailer. There’s a lot of cool stuff happening in this video, but everyone here at LRM came away with several big questions too. 

This first teaser provides us with insight into the tone of The Defenders mini-series, the various relationship dynamics, and some pretty cool action too. However, the plot and the stakes are big, open questions (including the absence of a certain other super team that you’d kind of expect to show-up in a massive, citywide war).

Let’s break it down…


WHOSE TEAM IS MISTY ON?

When we last saw Luke Cage‘s Misty Knight (Simone Missick) her NYPD career was on the ropes. Yet, here she is interrogating Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) for bunch of serious crimes. Misty doesn’t seem to have much patience for vigilantes, and why should she, all these superheroes do is break stuff and create more paperwork (and nobody likes paperwork).

In the comics, Misty is a key member of Luke Cage’s (Mike Colter) Heroes for Hire agency, and she also has a sweet metal arm! We’ll be looking for clues regarding these particular developments during the mini-series.


THE DEFENDERS ARE NOT PLAYING NICE WITH THE COPS

In keeping with the established tone established of the other Marvel/Netflix shows our team (Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones)) remains a group of unaligned, underground vigilantes.

Judging by that thick stack on files that Misty drops on Jessica, the cops are building a pretty serious case case against at least one of the Defenders. So, it’s reasonable to expect that Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are wanted by the police too.



THE TEAM-UPS ARE GOING TO BE AWESOME

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Right outta the chute we get Murdock representing Jones. Luke and Iron Fist are working out a few differences, as they do. And Elektra meets up with Daredevil, but their encounter involves more skull-cracking than hand-holding. We also see a few sequences from at least three full-team brawls — the footage in this trailer promises a LOT of fighting during the mini-series.


WHERE ARE THE COSTUMES?

We only get a quick look at Daredevil’s red costume… in a footlocker (however, if you pause the video during the warehouse fight you’ll see Murdock’s wearing the suit, sans mask). Otherwise, nobody has any cool gear to show off.

Luke and Jessica are well-established, non-costume superheroes in the comics, but Iron Fist has a long history with a certain green and gold outfit… so, will we or won’t we see Rand wearing the traditional, classic suit? My money is on ‘yes,’ but probably not until somewhere later in the mini-series.


STICK IS A MAJOR PLAYER

Daredevil’s pain-in-the-ass mentor, Stick (Scott Glenn), is not just a catalyst for the events in the mini-series, he’s actually shown fighting side-by-side with the whole team! Based on Stick’s snarky tone in the trailer, it’s pretty clear bet that he’s responsible for goading these non-team players to work together and play like a team — and I quote, “get your shit together.” Tough love is sometimes necessary in matters like these.

Hard to believe that Stick is the glue keeping this team together, but maybe everyone will align and play nice, if for no other reason than to just to get him off their backs.


WHAT ARE THEY UP AGAINST?

Sigourney Weaver plays a character named Alexandra Reid — a character who is unique to this mini-series and has no comic-book background. Elektra (Elodie Yung) is back from the dead, which means The Hand are also a major factor. And then there’s the board room full of well-dressed, corporate thugs seen throughout the trailer. We also get several brawls (warehouse, boardroom, alleyways)… the team is clearly facing something big — and it’s more than enough to knock Luke off his feet!

Despite all this cool stuff, the trailer doesn’t really explain the nature of its external conflicts or how the war is setup… but that’s OK, we don’t need too much spoiled justyet!


A LOT OF S**T’S GOING TO GET BROKEN

The fights in this show are going to be big and epic, with a lot of expensive-looking furniture getting busted all-to-hell. When you’re team consists of a blind ninja, a smart-ass detective, a righteous ex-con, and a kid with a glowing fist… it’s fair to assume that property will suffer. Is that a problem for anyone? C’mon, let’s be honest here, throwing people through walls and plate glass windows never, ever gets old.


THE DEFENDERS ARE A BUNCH OF MISFITS

I love the implication that The Defenders are a collection of seriously broken toys. Jessica is scraped-up and in police custody, Murdock fights with a lady-scarf around his head, Luke is just fresh out of jail (we don’t yet know how this is so), and Danny seems like a bit of a loose cannon. Then there’s Stick… he’s clearly going to wind people up, amplify tensions, and generally piss everyone off — it’s what he does.


THE TEAM ISN’T REALLY DOWN WITH BEING A TEAM

The final shot in the trailer is kind of a homage to the awesome post-credits shawarma scene in The Avengers. In this shot The Defenders are enjoying a nice Dim Sum spread in a quiet midtown restaurant, debating the merits of working together (kind of).

Another big question, which the trailer doesn’t really address: who’s in charge? It seems like Stick is the irritant that gets everyone’s ass in gear, but who is the defined leader of the team? Luke Cage is the obvious candidate, given his comic-book legacy as such, but it’s no guarantee that he steps up here.

To be honest, I hope there is no clear boss on The Defenders, let’s keep the team dynamics snarky and tense, because it’s just more fun that way. Conflict is key to good television, and it’s pretty obvious that there’s no limit to the friction between these street-level heroes.


WHERE’S ALL THE BLOOD?

Does anybody bleed in this mini-series? Seriously, only Jessica is showing some scrapes. Every Netflix/Marvel show has featured visceral violence, graphic sex, and no shortage of profanity — it’s odd that this video is so sanitized. To be fair, this is a wide release trailer, so Netflix wants to draw in the biggest possible audience; but there’s clearly some restraint in these visuals. Regardless, the odds are exceptionally high that The Defenders is a hard-R (or TV-MA or whatever it is we’re calling this sort of thing now). So don’t get too worked up about the tame nature of this video.


LUKE AND CLAIRE ARE A THING

This is interesting. In the comics Luke and Jessica are married with a kid. Events on Jessica Jones clearly set up a future romance. Yet here we see Luke and Claire (Rosario Dawson) having a… discussion. Yes, we originally saw this in Luke Cage, but never with Jessica Jones in the picture. My guess is that there will be sparks between Luke, Jessica, and Claire; first explored here and then revisited in their respective shows.

Honestly, this is the kind of character stuff that works really well on Netflix and couldn’t be achieved nearly as well in the MCU. The Netflix shows have time to spend on relationships and building characters, which is a huge draw for a lot of fans that want to understand how these folks tick, as much as how they fight.


WHAT ARE THE STAKES?

My major gripe with this trailer is that we don’t get enough insight into what’s really going down and how bad it’s going to get. Again, this is the first teaser, so it’s understandable that the goal is focused on setting the stage in the broadest terms possible.

But right now, all we really know is that there’s a war, it’s in New York, and there’s only four heroes available for duty. That does beg the question: where are the Avengers? Or do they only suiting up for alien invasion-scale conflicts? It is a serious question, however. If New York is getting rocked by something this massive, how are they going to explain the absence of Captain America or even Spider-Man?

Are you ready to watch The Defenders fight the War for New York? Let us know in the comments down below!

The Defenders hits Netflix on August 18, 2017.

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SOURCE: Netflix
 

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.