Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Defenders, as it's impossible to talk fights without getting into major plot points.
28 months after audiences first watched Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock cement himself as the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, Marvel has finally delivered what was previously thought to be its superpowered end game: The Defenders. We now know, of course, that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist are all moving on with different adventures beyond the action-packed miniseries, which means there's no end in sight for some of the most brutal and exquisitely choreographed fight scenes currently on TV. And The Defenders did not disappoint when it came to that all-important comic book element. (Check out our review for more overall thoughts.)
Here's we've rounded up the best of the best brawls and melees, and even a few smaller fights that were notable for reasons that complemented the badassery being displayed. Get some ice for those knuckles and dive into our list of the best fights that The Defenders had to offer.
11. When Jessica Jones Met Daredevil
To kick things off -- quite literally, actually -- we'll start with one of the shortest fights in any of the Marvel shows, in which Jessica's attempt to take Trish to safety is interrupted by a skirmish with Yutaka Takeuchi's not-from-the-comics villain Murakami, who can apparently fall off a balcony with the best of them. Things get further interrupted by the first proper Daredevil appearance within The Defenders episodes, and even though Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock had obviously already met, this was her first time in the presence of the costumed vigilante proper. And you know what? She preferred the scarf disguise. (Episode 5)
10. Matt's Return To Vigilantism
Matt may have wanted to just stick to the pro bono lawyer work, but his instincts are impossible to ignore, so it was perfectly natural for him to get back into his nightly crimestopping routine. Surprisingly, though, his first Defenders fight was as Matt Murdock, not Daredevil, as he took out a group of young criminals with his face in full view of everyone whose asses he just kicked. It was a sweet juxtaposition between his fancy dumpster footwork -- combined with that backflip kick to the dude's face -- and his most non-fancy way of pummeling that same dude's face. A callback of sorts to the first fight in Daredevil Season 1, it was a much-needed reminder of Matt's skills. (Episode 2)
9. When Luke Cage Met Iron Fist
Many comic fans anticipating The Defenders were waiting to see the memorable teaming of Luke Cage and Iron Fist, who first partnered up on the page long ago. (Hearing Danny say their names together in partnership was quite fun, too.) But before friendship comes angst, and Danny's introduction to Luke was one rife with the dragon-slayer's confusion, as he didn't understand why none of his attacks were doing anything to the big bald-headed bastard. In this way, it was less of a fight, since Luke basically treated him like a rag doll. But that was fine, since it's not like Danny's ego and attitude would keep him grounded for long. (Episode 2)
8. Iron Fist's Opening Act
We're not saying that showrunners Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez crafted The Defenders' first scene while specifically cognizant of the feedback that Iron Fist got for its action and pacing. But whatever the reason, it was a smart move to lead things off with Finn Jones' Danny entering into some rapid-fire fisticuffs while trying to seek out information about the miniseries' main threat: The Hand. There's nothing too complicated here, but we still get everything we want from an Iron Fist fight: a mix of grace and brute force, an appearance from Danny's glowing fist, and Jessica Henwick's Colleen Wing. (Episode 1)
7. Elektra's Black Sky Training
In Daredevil Season 2, Elodie Yung's Elektra was part of some awesome fights, and after being resurrected as the Black Sky, it didn't take long before she got right back into the action. (A shower definitely came first, though.) Before being unleashed on the good guys, Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra made her develop her skills via a fantastic training sequence where a line of ninja henchman got their asses handed to them. Because this was training, the camera was allowed to hang back and observe things happen, as opposed to flying all over the place, making the scene stand out even more. One has to wonder how powerful these dudes were otherwise, and what kind of medical insurance The Hand has. (Episode 3)
6. Elektra Taking The Defenders Down
While it momentarily seemed like Elektra was either going to side with Stick's new plan for Danny, or with Matt (now that she'd seemingly unlocked parts of her memory), neither one of those happened. She straight-up murdered Stick before taking down each of the Defenders in short time, so that she could kidnap Danny for The Hand. (Or for her own ideals, anyway.) There was some emotional turmoil in seeing her knock Matt out, and then there was some disbelief in seeing her completely take out Luke and Jessica. (Granted, they were at a situational disadvantage, but still.) Understandably, it was more fun to watch Elektra deliver this beat-down over one of the other antagonists. (Episode 6)
5. Danny Vs. Everyone Else
Once it was discovered that Iron Fist was what The Hand was after, it became clear to everyone but Danny that he needed to be sequestered. And Danny doesn't take kindly to sorta-strangers telling him what to do. So...fight! Matt took the first punch once things got physical, but it wasn't the worst punch, as that came a little later, after Danny pulled all of his pissed-offedness into his most noteworthy appendage. Luckily for everyone else, Luke took the brunt of Danny's powerful punch, and it was far more powerful than in their earlier brawl, delivering a shock wave that knocked everyone on their asses. If only Matt's dad had a chest-crushing jab like that. (Episode 5)
4. The Defenders Vs. The Hand Pt. 1
Above ground, Luke, Jessica, Colleen and Daredevil jumped into a battle with Madame Gao, Murakami and Bakuto. Below ground, Elektra and Iron Fist were having it out in the mysterious caverns. The latter gave us another instance where Danny got to use his fist, though he was eventually defeated. The former was a lot more fun, as we got to watch Madame Gao show off more of her powers. That moment when she used the car to push Luke back into that was all great, as was the bit where Bakuto used his sword to bring all the flames. The concrete block budget must have been huge for this eisode, too. (Episode 7)
3. The Royal Dragon Fight
It would have been a major pisser if The Defenders' "Take Shelter" didn't immediately pick up where "Royal Dragon" ended, but thankfully, mayhem immediately ensued with Black Sky/Elektra and Murakami giving the heroes some Kung POW in the early moments before Madame Gao and her crew arrived. Machine guns could have ruined the fun here, but Gao's intention to keep the targeted Iron Fist alive meant the scene soon jumped right back into physical brawling, with Scott Glenn's Stick getting stab-happy while trying to keep everyone in line. Bonus points go to the splintered sub-fight between Matt and Elektra, as well as Babs Olusanmokun's Sowande being able to manhandle Luke Cage, which was a strange sight indeed. (Episode 5)
2. The Defenders Vs. The Hand Pt. 2
In heading down to the mysterious caverns to rescue Iron Fist, while also hoping to bomb the shit out of it, our heroes had a lot more to face than just The Hand's MVPs, though Madame Gao and Elektra certainly put up a hell of a fight...for a while. So much exciting shit happened in these sequences, from Luke and Jessica catching people and bouncing them off the stone walls to Daredevil and Elektra's more personal fist fight once the bigger battle cleared to Misty getting her arm lopped off. (That could technically count as its own thing, but it was more emotions than fighting for much of it.) I believe we can all agree the greatest moment, though, was when Iron Fist and Gao's powers collided, knocking everyone to the ground, with the rest of the battle being set to Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck." So good. (Episode 8)
1. The Office Building Battle
When Danny Rand cockily waltzed down the hallways of Midland Circle Financial, it was clear that trouble was afoot. (Or a-fist, as it were.) And it was worth a hoot and a holler when everyone at the table in front of Alexandra pulled weapons out and rose up to try and stomp him. Not that Danny would be alone for long, and Luke Cage's body-flinging and bullet-bouncing arrival was as cheer-worthy a moment as this series delivered. Matt, Jessica and Elektra/Black Sky soon showed up, and we got to watch a hallway battle that, while not exactly on par with the single-take fight from Daredevil Season 1, was still a gleeful and multi-faceted brawl that left the ground covered in bodies, glass, weapons and large pieces of all the walls that people were thrown through. While the final battle was technically bigger, this fight was bolstered by tight camera-work and an abundance of light, so you could actually see everything that happened. And it was all magnificent.(Episode 3)
With The Defenders now behind us, we're looking forward to the second seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, to see what kind of mega-fights those shows will deliver next. (Not to mention The Punisher.) But remember that Season 1 will be there to stream on Netflix in its entirety, in case you want to watch those fights again. Let us know on the next page which fight was your favorite in our poll, and then hit up our summer premiere schedule and our fall premiere schedule to see what else is coming to the small screen soon.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.