Are The Marvel-Netflix Shows In Trouble?

The Podcast

In the latest edition of Los Fanboys, Jammer and David discuss the upcoming Black Panther film in a spoiler-free review. From there, David leads a discussion the Marvel/Netflix series. Are they becoming mediocre?

After tackling the box office, they discuss this week in news, which includes Sony getting cold feet on Tarantino’s upcoming film, an Obi-Wan movie update, Joaquin Phoenix’s potential take as the Joker, and our reactions to the Deadpool 2 and Rampage trailers.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you think the Marvel/Netflix shows are in danger of becoming mediocre?


00:00:00 – Black Panther Spoiler-Free Mini-Review
00:09:30 – Are the Marvel/Netflix shows becoming mediocre? / Jessica Jones trailer reactions
00:29:00 – Box office discussion
00:34:15 – Sony getting cold feet on Tarantino’s movie?
00:40:20 – Rampage trailer reactions
00:45:40 – Deadpool 2 trailer reactions
00:51:55 – Obi-Wan movie update
00:59:15 – Joaquin Phoenix in negotiations for The Joker
01:10:45 – What we’ve been watching – Jumanji

The Editorial

Netflix and Marvel are entering the third year of an up-and-down, tumultuous relationship, leading many fans to worry about the potential for divorce down the road.

The marriage started off great. The first seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were new and exciting and different — there were problems, but they were easily overlooked. And then came Daredevil‘s second season and the debut of Iron Fist; both shows struggled to tell coherent stories and failed to develop compelling villains — the first signs of greater rockiness to come. Finally, The Defenders mini-series was supposed to bring everyone together in a war to save New York… but despite some great casting and a couple awesome set pieces, it landed with a thud.

Related – Jessica Jones Season 2 Trailer Name Drops Captain America, Teases Kilgrave’s Return

Suddenly, all of the hype, potential, and goodwill associated with these connected, street-level shows ground to a halt. Showrunners were replaced, actors raised gripes, and fans scratched their heads. What went wrong? More important, could it be fixed?

The unlikely answer came in the form of The Punisher, a series that spawned directly out of Daredevil‘s Season 2. Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle, a troubled Marine combat veteran, was the very jolt of energy this universe needed.

The Punisher hit Netflix with a visceral and compelling storyline about government corruption, espionage, PTSD, and veteran’s issues — not your typical superhero fare. The series emphasized realism rather than ninjas, bulletproof skin, or glowing fists. Oddly, The Punisher‘s first season was entirely disconnected from all of the other shows — a stand-alone story without regard for events in the other series. The Punisher was great, and a second season was immediately greenlighted. Fans had a new reason for hope.

The latest trailer for Jessica Jones Season 2 dropped last week, and it had something in common with The Punisher: even less emphasis on super-powered antics and over-the-top villains. Season 2 focuses on inner conflicts associated with childhood trauma, and investes deeper into the character’s investigative skills as a private eye. Jones’ powers and vigilantism certainly still factor in the storytelling, but they appear sidelined in favor of character and plot, which follows the pattern established by The Punisher.

We just learned that Daredevil Season 3’s production has wrapped, according to MCU Exchange. The expected storyline is an adaptation of the beloved ‘Born Again’ mini-series, which pits Daredevil against the Kingpin in a very emotional and personal conflict. Further evidence that Marvel is moving away from the action and spectacle of the MCU films, and instead toward smaller, individual narratives.

Is this what fans want? Is this what these series need?

First, let’s address the problems, these shows share some common issues, which need to be corrected going forward:

  1. Too many episodes per season
  2. Competing and under-developed storylines
  3. Poor fight choreography
  4. Unimpressive visual effects

The pacing in each of these shows has been a problem. The 13 episode seasons are much too long; unnecessary padding and filler bogged down the main storylines. (Stranger Things successfully established that 8 episodes is ideal for a Netflix show).

Additionally, something is just plain wrong with the fight choreography. These characters each have diverse fighting skills: Daredevil is a western boxer and a Japanese martial artist, Jessica Jones is a brawler… and so is Luke Cage, Iron Fist is a Chinese stylist. And yet, watching them fight side-by-side in The Defenders, it was often hard to tell them apart. Sure, there’s more to these characters than kicks and punches, but the way they fight should jump off the screen… and it often didn’t.

Finally, visual effects are a troubling weakness. We’ve barely seen Daredevil’s “world on fire” radar sense, Luke Cage’s bulletproof skin and Jessica Jones’ powers are a bit squishy, and Iron Fist’s channeled chi punches are a bit uninspired (and poorly explained). Netflix is known for sparing no expense, so this lack of effort in visual effects is rather strange. These are Marvel superhero shows, which necessitate a little more effort in the realm of the extraordinary.

Fortunately, The Punisher‘s first season and the trailers for Jessica Jones Season 2 suggest that the future for these Marvel shows is once-again promising.

There are new showrunners for Iron Fist and Daredevil — hopefully these guys are focused on better scripts and take these shows in more compelling directions. Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher were generally solid and they’re each bringing back their showrunners for their respective second seasons — the continuity here should help.

Also, team-ups have been a compelling aspect of these shows: Daredevil and Punisher, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, and even Daredevil and Elektra were great fun — more of this please! Production stills revealed that Iron Fist appears in Luke Cage Season 2, and Hellcat appears to partner-up with Jessica Jones in Season 2.

Marvel is known for listening to their fan base, and Netflix needs these series need to be solid in order to retain their subscribers. Despite the missteps, there’s still plenty of reason to be excited for what comes next. It’s fair to say, however, that if Marvel and Netflix fail to course correct that we’ll be writing eulogies this time next year.

Are you still invested in any or all of the Netflix-Marvel shows? Let us know in the comments down below!

Jessica Jones Season 2 hits Netflix on March 8, 2018.

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SOURCE: MCU Exchange

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