I am a little behind on my Netflix MCU shows, but I might actually be caught up by the time Daredevil season three drops on Friday. Not that any of that is an exciting prospect. The Netflix MCU shows have been getting worse, not better. Almost every season is too long. Which is one reason why characters tend to be better in someone else’s show (e.g., Luke Cage in season one of Jessica Jones, the Punisher in season two of Daredevil, the Iron Fist in season two of Luke Cage). There is a definite tendency toward the writers handling themes ham-handedly. I can say, though, that I was pleasantly surprised by season one of Iron Fist.
Jessica Jones, season 2
Remember what I said about the writers being ham-handed in how they handle themes? Jessica Jones is the best example of that. Season one used feminism very effectively as an underlying theme, enhancing the story and the season overall. Season two uses it to sort of hilariously self-own. One thing about modern feminism is that it slaps a high-minded veneer on low-brow boorishness. Early in the season, several women repeatedly refuse help from men for no good reason, which is both very feminist and very realistic and stupid and pointless. Later in the season a character brags that she could have been on the tenure-track at the University of Michigan if her husband hadn’t refused to move. Forcing her to teach at a junior college. In the New York metro area. She is basically the female version of that guy who whines that he would have played in the pros if a college had given him a scholarship. The apogee is reached when a vegan character is force to eat meat, causing my eyes to roll so hard that I now have googly eyes like Venom.
2.5 of 5 Stars.
Luke Cage, season 2
Season one of Jessica Jones is still the best Luke Cage season. Luke Cage season two repeats the boring, lazy approach of season one by essentially having Cage fight an enemy with similar powers. There is only a little exploration of Cage’s weaknesses (with the kryptonite from season one handwaved away). The writers picked good themes to explore, but that exploration is too on-the-nose to really be effective.
2.5 of 5 Stars.
Iron Fist, season 1
You know what? Iron Fist isn’t nearly as bad as reported. Which, low expectations and all, but I’m not sure that it is bad at all. I enjoyed it plenty. I would definitely rank it behind the first seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and I would probably rank it behind Punisher and the second season of Daredevil. Danny Rand isn’t nearly as annoying here as he is in The Defenders (my pretend girlfriend Rosario Dawson, on the other hand, is extremely annoying). The action set pieces are pretty much par for the course when it comes to Hollywood today (again, low expectations). But then Finn Jones looks much worse in comparison to Daredevil season 1, Jessica Henwick, and his own work in season two.
3.5 of 5 Stars.