ByDylan Balde, writer at
1 part anime nut; 2 parts Nintendo junkie. 3 parts Disney fan; all parts artist, cosplayer, Deadpool, and human nitroglycerin. @dylanbalde
Dylan Balde

Is New York City about to get a small screen repeat of last year’s clash between Tony and Steve? just released the final trailer and it seems at least half the team is heading down that path. Check it out below:

The show’s primary villain, Alexandra (played by the wonderful Sigourney Weaver), seems to take several pages from both Loki’s and Zemo’s books from the first Avengers and Captain America: Civil War, pitting the newly-formed Defenders against one another. Jessica against Murdock, Cage against Rand, and, more significantly, setting the team’s two master martial artists against each other: The immortal against the devil of Hell’s Kitchen.

At the 1:01 mark we get a quick shot of Danny, clearly enraged, throwing an unmasked Matt Murdock a clean right hook, visibly breaking the latter’s nose. doesn’t retaliate. Off-screen, Alexandra murmurs, “I can see you’ve formed a bond here, but I promise you it’s temporary. They will disappoint you.”

It seems they already have.

Experience Versus Naivete

Fans like to talk about Jessica versus Matt and Luke versus Danny because of the things each party has in common. Jones and Murdock both work in law enforcement and will likely conflict on which methods to use. Cage and Danny have a long history partnering up in the comics as the superpowered pair known as Heroes for Hire, composed of the invincible Power Man and the Living Weapon. But the Matt/Danny team-up is rarely discussed (at least among the fans). A shame, considering these two actually have plenty to fight about. Much like Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, both men also operate on opposite ends of the socio-political spectrum.

Matt Murdock briefly recoiling from the punch. 'The Defenders' [Credit: Netflix]
Matt Murdock briefly recoiling from the punch. 'The Defenders' [Credit: Netflix]

Murdock is a realist; he adapts to reality in Hell’s Kitchen and tries to make it better based on what’s already there. He brings with him hope, but everything else comes from the people. For Daredevil, New York already has what it takes to be a great city; all he’s doing is showing the citizens how to get there based on what they already have.

On the other hand, Rand is an idealist; he brings with him the values taught to him in K’un-Lun and tries to push those ideals onto New York City. He believes New York is polluted and needs cleansing, and deals with that by introducing something new rather than working with what’s always been there. For him, it’s the “old” that’s the problem, and that needs to change. And it’s easy for him to take this stance, because he spent most of his life away from NYC. In contrast, Matt’s always lived there. He never left.

Furious, Danny Rand prepares to punch Daredevil in the face. 'The Defenders' [Credit: Netflix]
Furious, Danny Rand prepares to punch Daredevil in the face. 'The Defenders' [Credit: Netflix]

The Iron Fist engages in a push and pull with the city, while Daredevil works from within to change how it operates. He runs with the flow whereas Danny fights it. Perhaps Murdock, during the course of his team-up with the Iron Fist, finds Danny’s whole way of solving problems too simplistic or quixotic and shoots him down, in exchange for something more pragmatic. Perhaps Daredevil tells the Iron Fist to wait when he doesn’t feel they can afford the time to, and we already know it doesn’t take a lot to make Danny Rand angry.

Mutual Respect

In the comics Matt and Danny share a powerful bond, both as friends and teammates. Rand once masqueraded as Daredevil to protect Murdock from harm. When Daredevil was possessed by a demon during the Shadowland arc, it had been Iron Fist who literally knocked his senses back into him. In response, Matt has always asserted his trust and faith in Danny Rand.

Actor Charlie Cox, who plays Murdock, discussed this interesting dynamic during a Q&A at last year's Toronto Fan Expo:

"The relationship that I'm most interested to see fleshed out is the Matt Murdock-Danny Rand one. I met Finn Jones the other day and I just think that in the comics that's a lovely relationship so I would like to see how that works out on screen."

Like Stark and Rogers, Matt and Danny stand at odds with each other precisely because of their powerful friendship. Great bonds often come at a great cost.

“Not Here To Make Friends”

Trailers made it clear from the start. These four are not friends, and they weren’t made to be. As Alexandra so succinctly noted, this is nothing more than a temporary bond, and it will dissolve once the problem has been dealt with or the moment they get tired of each other. And there is no denying the tension is there.

The Defenders face off against Bakuto, Madame Gao, and Murakami. [Credit: Netflix]
The Defenders face off against Bakuto, Madame Gao, and Murakami. [Credit: Netflix]

How will this end? Hopefully not as badly as the original Avengers. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Marvel’s The Defenders will premiere on Netflix on August 18. It stars Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Finn Jones as Iron Fist, and Sigourney Weaver as the villain Alexandra.


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