The Defenders are coming together on Netflix this August, and let me tell you a very hot opinion of mine: I think the Defenders are better than that other famous Marvel team of heroes, the Avengers. Yeah, yeah, I know, you have Iron Man and Captain America and Thor and — sigh — the Hulk. Sure, it’s all well and good to have a god of thunder and a big green guy on your team, but have you forgotten about Luke Cage, who is just as tough and strong as the Hulk will ever be, but arguably more emotionally accessible and down-to-earth? And sure, Captain America is a do-gooder with a shield and a heart of gold, but you’re forgetting Daredevil, the Hell’s Kitchen lawyer who is as kind to those he helps in court and IRL as he is tough on crime.
All I’m saying is this: The Defenders are not only every bit as great as the Avengers, they;re totally better. They are the kind of team you want to have come to your rescue in a dark alleyway full of villains or the ones who could arguably save New York without all the flashiness of a big team with silly superpowers.
What makes the Defenders so great? Keep reading.
1. Luke Cage is part of the team
The first rule about appreciating the Defenders: you have to respect Luke Cage. He’s unlike any other Marvel hero, and damn if he isn’t one of the best Marvel has to offer.
2. There’s room for grittiness, sex and frankness
The Defenders are human, and they act like it. There’s nothing pristine about them, and they don’t hide their sexuality or their rough edges.
3. The Defenders are fallible — and relatable
It’s nice to know they can lose a battle or go down for the count. They don’t stay down for long, but that kind of fallibility in a superhero is refreshing.
4. They don’t sugarcoat anything
They’re rough in their language, they’re tough to knock down and they understand what it means to live on the fringes of society. These heroes understand that in order to get the job done, you need to cut through the crap and shoot straight.
5. They actually live in the society they’re protecting
These are some true blue New Yorkers who live in the city they protect. Pour one out for the hometown heroes, okay?
6. Jessica Jones is maybe the most badass female Marvel hero to date
No offense, Black Widow, but Jessica Jones is out here kicking butt, taking names and doing it without the polish of an Avenger. Count me in.
7. The Defenders embrace their flaws and their screw-ups
They’re not perfect to the point that their messiness only makes them seem more human and understandable.
8. They’re dealing with real-world problems
Real-world issues like living with a disability, healing from the pain of sexual assault and emotional abuse, and working through issues of race and class are all things that the Defenders handle on a daily basis — and it makes them all the more accessible to audiences.
9. Their foes seem very real
Rather than supernatural gods or aliens, the foes of the Defenders are decidedly more normal and comparatively less involved in supernatural affairs that would make them feel untouchable. It’s easy to cheer for our heroes when the deck isn’t too stacked as a result.
10. Small teams are better for getting the job done
There are too many moving parts (read: more than four members) when the Avengers assemble. Good gracious and no thanks. Give me four strong heroes any day. They get the job done quicker and better.
11. Because the Defenders are the people you want to have a drink with
This may be a bit of a softball reason, but let’s be real: Grabbing a beer with Tony Stark would be tedious and Thor would drink you under the table. Don’t you just want to hang out with Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Danny Rand on a low-key Friday night? I know I do.