MCU: Why Netflix's Marvel Experiment Failed

5. The Defenders Was A Letdown

The Defenders Luke Cage Daredevil Jessica Jones Iron Fist
Netflix/EW

Marvel's Phase One was more than the sum of its parts: on their own, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor are nothing really special. The reason they work so well is that they were key steps towards building The Avengers, and the team-up movie was a complete and utter success in every way imaginable. But what if it'd failed?

While Marvel would've pressed on with some things, it likely would've derailed plans, and the audience size would've taken a major hit. On a much smaller scale, that's what happened with The Defenders.

From conception, these series were all going to build-up to the team-up: there'd be four shows, four seasons (interrupted by prioritising Daredevil Season 2), and then the team-up event series. And even though there were some struggles on the way there - parts of Daredevil Season 2, the back-half of Luke Cage Season 1, Iron Fist - it all would've been worthwhile had The Defenders lived up to expectations and hype. Even people who were flagging on the shows wanted to see it, because this was the payoff.

What we got, though, was a flat, dull, glacial series that, despite some good individual moments for its characters, never justified its existence beyond a corporate mandate, and essentially nullified the shared universe, allowing a number of viewers to presumably drop off.

Contributor
Contributor

NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.