What in the Hell’s Kitchen is happening with the Netflix MCU? First Iron First gets cancelled and then Luke Cage. Who’s next? Jessica Jones. Even Daredevil?! Say it ain’t so!
But there are a number of articles and videos speculating about what is actually happening behind this scene. This article will not be one of them. Instead, with this comic book corner on some shaky ground, our list today is ranking every single season of the Netflix MCU from the abysmal to the awesome. With a Shou-Lao-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s get to it:
#11 Iron Fist (Season 1)
Yeah no surprise here. The first season of Iron Fist was the Netflix MCU’s first major stumble. It was just so bad. Finn Jones’ Danny was whiny and annoying and for someone portraying one of comic’s greatest martial artists his own skills seemed on par with a weekend yoga teacher.
The pacing dragged, the action was mostly dull and Danny repeatedly made viewers want to Iron Fist-punch him in the face. The only bright spots were David Wenham’s loopy don’t-you-dare-ask-for-vanilla Harold Meachum and the fantastic and scene-stealing Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing.
#10 Jessica Jones (Season 2)
After the death of David Tennant’s Kilgrave I was apprehensive about a Jessica Jones Season 2. And I was right to be concerned. So very right. This second season was just so dull and pointless. They tried for a whole mother-daughter-hero-villain conflict but the actresses lacked chemistry.
And Jessica, while known for being reckless, kept making stupid decision after stupid decision and the writers really made it difficult to root for her. When it was all over it felt like a giant wasted opportunity. And don’t get me started on the Hogarth sub-plot. Ugh!
#9 Defenders (Season 1)
Come on. This was supposed to be the TV version of the first The Avengers movie. How it could be so…meh? Well the plot was centered around the least of the apostles Danny Rand/Iron Fist so they started badly right out of the gates.
The novelty of seeing all the heroes together wore off quickly as the plot was rushed and the chemistry felt off. And Jessica, not the most action-oriented of the heroes, felt very much out of place. There were a few decent action sequences, including Iron Fist vs Cage, but Defenders definitely did not live it to the very high expectations.
#8 Iron Fist (Season 2)
And speaking of expectations, after the mess that was Iron Fist Season 1 expectations were pretty low for the sophomore season. But surprisingly it was leaps and bounds better than the original.
The plot was tighter and more focused. Davos was an interesting villain with a cool motivation. The fights were better choreographed and the addition of the sassy Misty Knight was welcome. And, best of all, Danny gets sidelined in favour of the superior Colleen. The season was not mind blowing but decent enough and actually made me want to see more. Too bad it got cancelled. Heroes for Hire anyone?
#7 Luke Cage (Season 1)
The first season of Luke Cage started off pretty dang strong but Sweet Christmas did it take a bad turn midway. And you can actually tell when the turn happens: right after the riveting Cottonmouth is killed and the goofy Diamondback becomes the main villain.
So on one hand we have Mike Colter being super cool, a head-nodding soundtrack and some entertaining if not well-choreographed fight scenes. On the other hand we have a Bible-quoting bad guy who seemed pulled right from a comic (in a bad way) and a forced brother vs brother story line. With Luke Cage Season 1 you take the good, you take the bad, the facts of life, the facts of life.
#6 Daredevil (Season 2)
How do you follow-up the near perfect first season of Daredevil? With a season that is not as good but still pretty good. The main issue with Daredevil Season 2 is that the two story lines of Elektra and the Hand and The Punisher vs the world felt like they both deserved to be seasons by themselves. It just felt so disjointed and the sole attempt to combine them in the end was The Punisher shooting a ninja and waving at Daredevil. Even the writers didn’t care to tie them together.
But Elodie Young was entrancing as Elektra and Jon Bernthal was pitch perfect as Frank Castle. So two great stories that unfortunately ended being less than the sum of its parts.
#5 Luke Cage (Season 2)
Bushmaster. Bushmaster. Bushmaster! He was such an awesome villain in Luke Cage Season 2 and dominated every moment on screen. And he was both a strategic and physical threat to Luke Cage which made for a great dynamic. We also had Misty going all cyborg, Danny popping up and actually having decent chemistry and fight scenes with Luke, and Alfre Woodard acting her butt off as Mariah Dillard.
The soundtrack again was phenomenal and the action was even better than in the first season. The final episode is somewhat anticlimactic and The Godfather Luke twist completely unearned, but the season itself was still so much fun. Bushmaster!
#4 Jessica Jones (Season 1)
While Bushmaster made Luke Cage Season 2 it was David Tennant’s Kilgrave that made the first season of Jessica Jones. It was scary how good he was. Krysten Ritter was most engaging as the troubled Jessica and the less action, more psychological crime thriller format was a refreshing change. The whole super-powered stalker sub-plot was a bit meh but the season is still a thoroughly good watch.
#3 The Punisher (Season 1)
Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher was easily the best part of Daredevil’s second season and Netflix clearly pushed to give him his own solo effort. And what a bloody, bullet-riddled blast it was.
Bernthal was a force of nature, brutally killing bad guys with knives, a multitude of firearms and also his bare hands. He had a cool relationship with Micro and his family and the villain was charming and fun. And it was so bloody. And so bloody good. Pun intended.
#2 Daredevil (Season 1)
For a time the first season of Daredevil was the gold standard for the Netflix MCU. Charlie Cox was masterful as both blind attorney Matt Murdock and his vigilante alter ego Daredevil. Vincent D’Onofrio delivered one of the best comic villains of all time as the massive, violent and calculating Wilson Fisk.
The plotting was tight, the visuals striking and the action engrossing. People are still talking about the hallway fight scene to this day. Daredevil Season 1 gave the Netflix MCU the best possible start ever. Let’s hope it has not come to end.
#1 Daredevil (Season 3)
How does the third season of a series end up surpassing the first? I don’t know but it happened. Matt is back and is going through an existential crisis anchored by the brilliant Joanne Whalley as Sister Maggie Grace/his secret momma. Wilson Bethel is a tonne of dark fun as the deeply troubled Benjamin “Dex” Poindexter who is Bullseye in all but name and costume. His skills are fantastically portrayed and makes the film version even more of a joke. And that twist with Nadeem’s boss? Masterful. M. Night eat your heart out!
After some brief appearances in Season 2 D’Onofrio’s Fisk is back and he is bigger and badder than ever. What a villain. What a guy. And the action was so suh-weet, especially the three clashes between Daredevil and Dex. Love the hallway scene from season one? Let me raise you the pulse-pounding, breath-taking one shot prison escape. How did they even shoot that? If the Netflix MCU is really coming to an end (and I sincerely hope it is not) then they certainly went out on top.
For a more detailed review of Luke Cage Season 2 you can click here.