The Defenders was absolutely bingeable and entertaining. When the team-up occurred, it felt natural and the cast had a genuine chemistry. The series expects the audience to know the backstory and did the story dove straight into the lives of our heroes. Catching us up on what they had been since we last saw them, and not really bothering to explain who they are to newbies.
The Defenders also really benefited from the shorter-than-usual series length. At eight episodes, we had less filler moments and the story momentum was allowed to flow naturally. However, the downside of this team-up was that each of the heroes had to have sufficient screen time which led to a sacrifice in character developments for them, the secondary characters and unfortunately, for our villain as portrayed brilliantly by Sigourney Weaver.
No doubt about it, Weaver was great. She elevated the material and was easily the most enigmatic and magnetic personality on screen. But as a character, she was just not given enough screen time to be developed and understood, as unlike our previous Big Bads: like Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin, David Tennent's Killgrave, and even Mahershala Ali's and Alfred Woodards's Diamondback and Mariah, and even the Meachums. Her motivations were vague and her ambitions broadly sketched. With what little we knew about her, she could have been so fascinating. And with Weaver in the role, Alexandra Reid could have been more than just...that. A whole series could easily be devoted to her.
Then we have the other big drawback, and that was the decision to make The Hand the main antagonistic force. It was inevitable ever since The Hand was introduced in Season 2 of Daredevil, but with The Hand came the mystical stuffs and unfortunately also a focus on what made Iron Fist the weakest story of our four heroes. Danny Rand remained the most undeveloped hero and having The Defenders lean more into his story was a shame. But at least we also had Matthew Murdock - tied to The Hand via Stick and Elektra - as the other arm of the story.
That, unfortunately, left Jessica Jones and Luke Cage as the outsiders, but at least we had some character growth for them. The acceptance of the fact that they are heroes and need to do the right thing.
Not so much for our favourite sidekicks who basically served as narrative tools and exposition dumps. Then again, this is The Defenders and not The Sidekicks.
Other minor points of improvement for Season 2, if it happens, will be to improve the fight scenes, relying less on frantic Michael Bay-like cuts and edits, and also better banter. Just can't help thinking, what if Joss Whedon was in-charge of The Defenders?
By the end of the series, I ended up still feeling the same as I went into it. Jessica Jones remained the most interesting character with Krysten Ritter the actor that most personified the character she is playing; Daredevil needs to go back to the simpler and more fun times of Season 1, let Charlie Cox smile more; Luke Cage's story needs to be more than just keeping Harlem safe and Mike Colter needs to be more than just an unbreakable hulk; and Iron Fist desperately needs to have Danny to grow up and lose all that petulant, child-like angst, especially since as charismatic as Finn Jones is, he, like Colter, is not exactly the most nuanced actor.