Well, season two of Netflix’s The Punisher was released just a short while ago, and now that most of us have finished binging what is likely to be its last season, we’re left with the devastating realization that Jessica Jones season three will most likely be the last we’ll hear from Marvel on Netflix. Regardless of how you feel about the closure of this portion of the unofficial MCU, we can all agree it’s been a bit of a blow seeing these loved series come to an end one after another. So before the last entry of Marvel and Netflix’s collaboration comes to an end, let’s take a look at each show as a whole and see which Netflix series comes out out top in the battle for the best Defender.
6 The Defenders
There are plenty of reasons to put Netflix’s The Defenders here at the bottom of the list; not the least of which being just how big of a letdown the entire series was. When Netflix announced The Defenders, most fans immediately assumed it’d be a grittier eight- to 10-hour version of what we’d seen on the big screen with The Avengers. What fans got instead was a confusing, disjointed, and poorly thought out story that added very little to any of New York’s super-powered Defenders. The culmination of our four Defenders coming together had all the makings of something great. Unfortunately, Netflix just couldn’t pull all the threads together.
5 Iron Fist
There was so much potential when Netflix announced that it would be bringing the Immortal Iron Fist to its Defenders' universe. The possibility that the show would capture the mystical elements of the comics, the fantastic chemistry of Danny Rand and Luke Cage, and a brilliant and lighter side of the amazing martial arts scenes came crashing down with the arrival of the first season. With all those hopes in the air, what we received was a confusing mess of a series that took too long to get the ball rolling and some of the worst fight scenes in the franchise. For a series that’s supposed to center around an immortal martial arts master, that’s a big deal.
4 Luke Cage
Luke Cage is a bit of a conundrum because, on the one hand, you have a series that actually feels like it has something to say in a time where the superhero genre, in general, felt like it had very little say. And on the other hand, there is some pretty blatant issue with regards to actually defining who Luke Cage is outside of his status as the symbol of Harlem. Any entry involving Luke Cage would be utterly lacking without mentioning the brilliant soundtrack (and performances) that accentuate each episode in a manner perfectly befitting of the setting.
3 The Punisher
Say what you will about the Punisher, but one thing is for certain, there is hardly an actor alive who could bring such life, and complexity to the character as Jon Bernthal. Netflix’s The Punisher is one of Marvel’s series on Netflix that really gets who the character is and what a series about him should be about. Not only is Bernthal’s performance revelation for the character, he often compares his violent and brutal outbursts with a subtle and caring side of the character that fans don’t often get a look. With all the blood and guts flying around Frank Castle, it can be hard to remember exactly what brought him to this path. Frank is a family man; a father that’s been driven to the brink of self-destruction. It’s wonderful seeing a cast and crew that realize that and bring those aspects of his character to light.
2 Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter is another example of an actor who perfectly encompasses the character she’s playing. The pain and anxiety that Jessica is left with after her abduction and abuse at the hands of David Tennant’s Purple Man are palpable through Ritter’s performance.
Jessica Jones is not only an excellent addition to the superhero genre on Netflix, but it’s also a surprising look into the aftermath of a traumatic and life-changing event, and the effect that has on a person (even a super-powered one). Much like some of the other Defenders, Jessica Jones is just as damaged and broken as the city she protects, yet somehow, through everything, she manages to get through it — even if she does need a bottle or three of whiskey to do it. But alcoholism and some rather selfish tendencies to have for a superhero aside, Jessica Jones season three is likely to be the last of the Marvel properties to appear on Netflix when it arrives later this year. We couldn't be more excited to see what stories the showrunners have left to tell about Marvel’s superpowered alcoholic private investigator.
Maybe Daredevil manages to make it to the top of this list because it’s the series that has had the longest time to flesh out its story and its characters. It could also be due to the fact that much like the last two entries, the casting of the main character and performances the actor puts forth were spot on. It could even be due to some of the most excellent fighting scenes that we’ve seen on screen since Oldboy or The Raid films. But really, it’s a combination of all those things along with the series’ excellent storytelling, the brilliant supporting actors—including the most incredible on-screen adaptation of Wilson Fisk—and some of the most selfless and brutal displays of heroism we’ve seen of late. It really is a shame that Netflix decided to pull the plug on a series that, as of its most recent season, was really hitting its stride. The show was ready to have a stunning fourth season.