Angst. Laughs. Fruit bowl-bothering, tabletop sex. Plus pigeon-feeding! Strictly speaking, the first episode of The Defenders (opens in new tab) - which premiered at SDCC (opens in new tab) - may not have it all, but it certainly has a LOT.
And it leaves you craving more, ending not with a bang but with a… well, you'll see. Suffice to say, after 40-odd minutes of playing catch-up with our heroes - Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist - in a fairly minor key, the bigger picture muscles its way to the fore.
If it's action you want, the episode saves the best for first - a gritty, shadowy scrap featuring one of the central quartet.
After that, it's all about re-introductions. True, it does feel a little like four shows channel-hopped into one, but credit where it's due - it smoothly brings up to speed viewers new to this corner of the MCU without too much expozzzzzition for those already familiar.
Supporting characters are present and correct too - in fact some of them got bigger cheers from the SDCC crowd than main players. Not least the scenes where they get the crossover ball rolling.
As for the Big Bad… her intro is refreshingly unconventional for a baddie, exposing vulnerability rather than burgeoning threat. But make no mistake - Sigourney Weaver's Alexandra is clearly someone not to be messed with. Her winter coat alone is as imposing as Iron Man’s armour. Hulkbuster edition.
Of course, there's nothing as fancy as that here. In the panel, showrunner Marco Ramirez noted: “If the [other MCU] superheroes are having fights in the skies, these guys are having fights in back alleys and shitty bars.”
OK, episode 1 isn't quite that rowdy (like I said: pigeons). But it does establish an earthy, street-level tone consistent with its parent series (the better ones, anyway...). Stylistically, The Defenders goes big AND goes home.