The last of Marvel’s four Netflix-only shows marked a massively rare misstep for the comic book giant when it was released back in March earning incredibly negative reviews across the board from both critics and audiences alike.
Finn Jones is pretty awful in the lead role, lacking the necessary charisma and presence needed to make him at all likeable. He’s not helped by an incredibly weak script which paints Danny Rand as a spoilt, whiny child rather than a zen kung-fu master.
The strange decision to focus most of the plot on Rand’s efforts to wrestle back control of his late father’s company means there’s way too many dreary, overly-long boardroom scenes which only serve to make the already boring plot even more tedious.
Thor: The Dark World
While the first Thor film was a fun, fish-out-of-water take on the superhero origin story and Taika Waititi’s recently released third entry an absolutely hilarious adventure through space, the second instalment is dull, painfully generic and very uninspiring.
Its plot is paper-thin and spends way too much time ham-fistedly shuttling our heroes around from one stale set-piece to the next without ever actually accomplishing anything meaningful or fleshing out its woefully underdeveloped villain (Christopher Eccleston) and his all-too familiar plan to destroy the world for no real reason.
Chris Hemsworth is typically great as Thor but he’s the only character who’s really given anything remotely interesting to do. Natalie Portman is relegated to the role of one-note love interest while Loki (Tom Hiddleston) follows the same tired path of redemption and betrayal he has every other film so far.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Joss Whedon’s second Avengers film is quite a tricky one to rank as it’s not completely awful like the Iron Fist, but it’s definitely got a few glaring issues which prevent it from fully becoming the truly great, thoughtful superhero film you occasionally catch glimpses of.
For example, the intriguing idea of Ultron (James Spader) acting as a reflection of the darker side of his creator Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) personality is pretty much immediately dropped in favour of him evolving into an unthreatening and annoying wise-cracking mess with a generic world domination plan.
Where Ultron does shine however is its wonderfully snappy script and charming character interactions. Whedon is excellent at writing warm, funny dialogue and the sparkling chemistry his core cast share makes scenes like that of the after-party where their all just hanging-out and drinking a joy to watch.
The series which finally unites all four of Netflix’s street-level superheroes didn’t quite live up to the massive amounts of hype surrounding it, but Marvel fans will find plenty to love about The Defenders from its fun, self-aware script to all of its thrilling hallway-based fight scenes.
The fact it’s only eight episodes long means everything shuttles along at a nice pace with hardly any unnecessary filler. All of the fantastic character interactions this script facilitates were definitely worth the wait as the amusing quips and sharp banter fly thick and fast, particularly in some of the later episodes.
While all of our heroes really shine, even Finn Jones’s Iron Fist is tolerable, the talented Sigourney Weaver is completely wasted as the villainous Alexandria. Most of her time is spent awkwardly expositing to other bad guys and her generic destroy the city plan is vague and non-sensical.
Funny, quirky and with considerably less destructive stakes, rather than trying to defeat an alien horde Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is simply tasked with stealing back powerful technology, Peyton Reed’s 2015 film makes for a highly entertaining addition to the Marvel cannon.
Rudd makes for an irresistibly charming lead and the rest of the cast, particularly a very funny Michael Peña, provide excellent support. His shrinking superpowers also lead to some of the most creative and inventive fight sequences seen in the MCU so far as he battles Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) amongst his daughter’s toys.
Unfortunately, the all-too familiar issues of a clichéd underdeveloped villain, frustratingly dull love interest and meandering plot, which takes too long to get to the exciting action scenes, prevents Ant-Man from being seen as one of Marvel’s top tier efforts.
Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr.’s third outing as genius billionaire playboy Tony Stark is a very enjoyable but slightly bloated blockbuster which manages to avoid going the way of Sam Raimi’s awful Spider-Man 3 by packing in plenty of snarky humour and brilliantly explosive action set-pieces.
Predictably, Downey Jr. is pitch-perfect as Tony Stark bringing all of his electrifying wit and charisma along with a brand-new sense of vulnerability which really helps with making him a deeper, more well-rounded character.
Its engaging plot feels nicely different from the standard Marvel fluff with some surprising twists and turns which really makes it feel like its own solid instalment rather than just existing to set-up the next phase of films.
Although it admittedly does falter a little bit in its third act due to the unwelcome emergence of a lame second villain whose weak motivations only act to muddy the plot, the incredibly high-quality of most of its episodes mean Luke Cage more than earns its place on the list.
The rest of its nicely diverse cast, particularly the brilliantly charismatic Mike Coulter as the bulletproof ex-con with a strong sense of justice and Mahershala Ali’s powerful but haunted gangster Cottonmouth, are outstanding and used to make some genuinely insightful comments about race.
A killer soundtrack is another unexpected highlight of Luke Cage which uses Cottonmouth’s nightclub base to stage a whole host of stunning live performances and classic hip-hop tracks to inject Cage’s vibrant Harlem neighbourhood with a real sense of personality.
Coming an incredibly closely second to Daredevil, Jessica Jones is a hugely compelling, character driven superhero outing which is able to sensitively and skilfully explore darker, more mature themes like gender, sexual assault and abuse.
Thanks to intelligent writing and a brilliant lead performance from Krysten Ritter, the titular super-strong PI feels refreshingly different to other superheroes. She’s cynical, lonely and self-destructive but still very much likeable, attempting to pick up herself back up after experiencing a painful and very real trauma.
The other major triumph of Jessica Jones is the fact Marvel have managed to create a truly fantastic villain. David Tennant is absolutely bone-chilling as Kilgrave, terrifyingly manipulative and utterly ruthless willing to destroy everyone around him to get exactly what he wants.
A fascinatingly conflicted hero, visceral and thrillingly intense fight scenes, a slick engaging plot and a wonderfully complex, tormented villain combine to make Drew Goddard’s Daredevil the best Marvel property currently on Netflix.
It’s gritty and darkly menacing but, unlike DC, in a way which is very entertaining and enjoyable. A lot of this is down to the incredibly smart script, from writers whose previous credits include acclaimed cult classics like Buffy and Lost, and amazing performances from a very talented cast.
Charlie Cox delivers the best incarnation of the blind vigilante to date while Vincent D'Onofrio is terrifyingly sadistic yet painfully vulnerable as the series main villain. The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) and Elektra (Elodie Yung) also make for excellent supporting characters, finally receiving the multi-layered layered portrayals they deserve.
How much is Netflix?
There’s three tiered Netflix packages available, Basic, Standard and Premium, all of which come with their own advantages and disadvantages.
The Basic package is just £5.99 a month but only allows you to watch on one screen (whether that be a laptop, TV, phone or tablet) at a time and doesn’t give you access to HD or 4K Ultra HD. With the Standard package at £7.49 a month, you’re able to watch on two screens at a time in (providing your bandwidth is adequate) HD or 4K Ultra HD.
For £8.99 a month, the top Premium package, you’re able to enjoy content on up to 4 screens at the same time (a perfect option for families) in both HD or 4K Ultra HD.
How can I watch Netflix?
You can either access Netflix on a browser on a standard desktop or laptop computer or through the reliable Netflix app which is available across a whole range of devices including smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
Netflix have recently introduced the offline viewing feature which allows you to download a TV show or film to watch when you’re offline. Unfortunately, not everything is available to watch in this way but it’s easy to check what is by selecting the “Available for Download” option from the dropdown menu.
What else is on Netflix?
Netflix is home to an absolutely staggering range of content across every genre from riotously funny comedy to to your children’s favourite cartoons and a fantastic mix of both American and British TV shows.
It’s own selection of original programming is constantly growing, buoyed by the success of shows like House Of Cards, Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black.
How often is new content added?
There’s no real time schedule for when new content is added to Netflix, but it doesn't usually go longer than three days without adding anything new.