The Marvel Netflix universe is a gift from the heavens. It's different from the MCU, which gives us variety, but it's not as campy as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. There’s a binding, tonal consistency that constitutes the anatomy of a Marvel Netflix show. So, why does every Marvel Netflix show feel the same? Because Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist are the Defenders and they absolutely should share themes and tropes across their individual stories. That way, when they come together it will (hopefully) create this beautiful, symbiotic cohesiveness.
But it can also be reeeeal funny sometimes. There are things that happen in every Marvel Netflix show that are just kinda like, “Okay, guys, we get it,” and yet apparently they really want to hammer those ideas home. So, they show up again and again and again. Sometimes it's good storytelling, and sometimes you start to wonder if every fight needs to happen in a hallway.
Some of it is appropriate. Some of it is understandable. Some of it is forgivable. And some of it is none of those things. Let’s take a look at all of the shared tropes in Marvel’s Netflix shows: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Welcome To The Gritty Streets Of Gentrified NeighborhoodsPhoto: Netflix
Hell's Kitchen is a bleak cesspool of drugs, human trafficking, and murder, where only the wicked survive and the rest are just sheep who will eventually become mutton in a grimy alley behind an expository butcher shop. The very name expels the somehow hot yet cold breath of a demon down your neck, lifting the hairs up and sending a shuttering shiver down your spine. Hell's Kitchen.
Or, as Timeout calls it, "a hot gayborhood and prime budget-dining destination! ... Ninth Avenue’s constantly shifting array of multiethnic eateries draws theatergoers who shun Times Square’s tourist traps." Well, that... that doesn't sound quite as scary as they make it look.
Throw Your Hood Up, That Way Everyone Knows You're Totally HardcorePhoto: Netflix
There's just something about hoodies all the Defenders really appreciate. Like, to a suspicious degree. At one point or another, they're all seen stalking around with their hoods up, generally being dark and brooding. Did they learn nothing from Thor in Age of Ultron? The hood makes you more conspicuous. Rookie move! Where's Dr. Selvig's sage wisdom when you need him?
Look How Many Guys We Can Fight!Photo: Netflix
The Defenders are superheroes. A primary rule of superheroes: they can't fight just one guy. They have to fight wave after wave of henchmen, and afterward stand over their writhing and groaning adversaries and say something like, "Is that all you got?" or, "You should have brought backup" or, "I miscounted the men, Liz!" Okay, maybe not the last one. But come on. Each one of these shows has an obligatory scene where a lone Defender takes on a horde of baddies. It's cliche.
This trope is not exclusive to the Marvel Netflix universe by a long shot. It happens in almost every superhero tale, and we eat it up because we all have a penchant for hero-worship as a result of our abandonment issues. Wait, that applies to everyone, right?
Oooh, This Baddie Isn't Like The OthersPhoto: Netflix
All of our (relatively) super heroes need to face off against multiple bad guys every once in a while, to show how tough they really are. But then there's always a scene where our hero comes face to face with a bad guy who's different; one who we know right from the get-go is going to be a challenge for the hero.
This baddie is usually revealed slowly, walking out of the shadows or from behind some sort of weirdly ominous industrial equipment. Or it's done in reverse, and the adversary comes to light as the hero walks into the room, and the camera pans sideways until this different kind of opponent is framed in the center of the shot. Oh, and they're usually holding a staff out to the side in some kind of cool kung fu pose. Also, in this latter case, the bad guy always slowly looks up as the hero walks in. Always.