Netflix Marvel Series Ranked! - Which Defender Reigns Supreme?

With the summer nearly in full-swing, and Marvel Studios set to take over the silver screen with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Spider-Man: Homecoming, another major release from the superhero studio is August's highly-anticipated Netflix series, The Defenders. Set to unite its four titular street heroes from their respective shows, Marvel hopes to spawn a street-level team-up adventure worthy of The Avengers. Before we get to August and The Defenders, however, I thought it was the perfect time to rank the four dynamic series that have led to this point. Whether you're a seasoned Marvel fan, or you're a newbie to the street-level realm of superhero comics, here are my collective thoughts and rankings of the Marvel Netflix shows:

1. Marvel's Daredevil - While our first taste of Marvel's more gritty, street-level heroics in Marvel's Daredevil might be at a bit of an advantage, pushing out two incredible seasons of emotional and unrelenting television compared to our other heroes, that's not the only reason I put this one at the top. Right from the start, Daredevil introduced us to probably one of Marvel Studios' most compelling characters on-screen, Charlie Cox's blind lawyer-turned-vigilante Matt Murdock. With Cox's sentimental yet conflicted performance nailing not only the character's unique mannerisms as a blind man who can see beyond the use of his eyes, but also his intense determination to protect his city, Cox's leading hero managed to keep the show rolling, even as it hit a number of missteps in its second season. Beyond that, the show delivered some of the best action sequences out of all the four series, Murdock's dynamic yet messy style of fighting taking on the likes of ninjas, street thugs, and the massive threat of Vincent D'Onofrio's brilliant Wilson Fisk.     

2. Marvel's Jessica Jones - While Luke Cage could have easily taken the second spot with its fantastically-realized tone and setting and its effective performances, Marvel's Jessica Jones stood as a powerful successor to Daredevil, as it introduced us to one of Marvel's darkest characters in the comics. While stars Krysten Ritter and David Tennant might have shined as private eye and ex-superhero Jessica Jones and maniacal puppet-master Kilgrave, the real hero of the series had to be its complex noir tone. Playing on more darker themes of rape, assault, and PTSD, while also introducing us to the daily life Ritter's thick-skinned anti-hero lives, the show was able to mix more sensitive topics of modern society into its compelling array of noir storytelling.  

3. Marvel's Luke Cage - Tackling a whole other layer of modern society American culture knows a little too well, the third tier in the Defenders cake, Marvel's Luke Cage, presented not only a compelling portrait of racial discrimination in Harlem, but also a dynamic journey through one of New York City's most diverse communities. Aside from its unique 1970s style and socially-conscious storytelling, it was the show's characters and their fascinating humanity that truly made the series memorable. While Mahershala Ali's chilling villain might not have gotten much screen time, Mike Colter's bullet-proof hero proved enough to keep the series' vibrant morality at the show's core. While its storytelling might not have been much of a step-up from the previous Netflix installment, Luke Cage thrived on its profound setting and the broken heroes within it.    

4. Marvel's Iron Fist - Just because Marvel's latest series, the mystical Iron Fist, landed its way into the last spot doesn't make it an all-terrible show. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the series for the most part, albeit some obvious missteps. One of the show's primary weaknesses can be found in its characters, as they struggle to propel the show's cookie-cutter storytelling to something more than it is meant to be. With the show favoring more corporate espionage than mystical combat, the series couldn't elevate itself to the level of the past three series. That being said, the show wasn't a complete waste of time, as it offered a handful of great performances and the promise of more mystical kung-fu down the road.

While it may or may not be obvious who my favorite Defender is, the four Netflix Marvel series so far presented some major promise for four of the most intriguing characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With August's The Defenders working to combine the dynamics of the four heroes into one, it will definitely be something to see not only how these lost and broken souls will work together, but also what tone the show will adopt to fit its diverse characters.

How would you rank the four Netflix Marvel series? What do you expect to see in The Defenders this August? Tweet me or let know in the comments, and stay tuned for more thoughts on the upcoming team-up series as the summer quickly kicks off.      

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