The Defenders: Hallway Fights Power Rankings 2016

In the history of humanity there have been many locations to fight. War zones, college campuses, main streets, docks, and even airports, but in 2015 we became aware of the ultimate location to fight in; the hallway. Hallway fights give all the awesome of a normal fight, but with the added claustrophobia of being in a hallway. Nobody does hallway fights better than The Defenders over on Netflix. That’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. So now that all four shows has arrived, the time has come to rank every hallway fight they have gifted on us.

Except for Jessica Jones. She doesn’t fight in hallways. Hers would be the red headed step child of these series if it weren’t also the best of all of them.

Anyway, there are a couple things to be aware of in these fights. First off, quality of hallway. Is this a nice hallway with lots of tchotchkes to throw around? Is this a random aisle somewhere? Just kidding, the only kind of cramped spaces we want here are hallways. Aisles don’t count. Secondly, how stylish is this fight? Sometimes hallways get a little boring and we have to pay attention to the fight in the hallway. Is this fight an entertaining one? Lastly, how bad did the bad guys get wrecked? If there’s a take down that makes you think, “Ooh. They’re never leaving this hallway.” then that’s got to count toward the rank.

With all that in mind, we have about 6 hallways fights to parse through so let’s get started.

6. Danny Rand and Davos vs The Hand – Iron Fist

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Look, I may not know a lot about Iron Fist in the comics, but I do know a lot about hallways. The hallway in this fight is cramped and yet a ton of bodies get in there. Still, there isn’t even video of this fight online and it is far from the best in Iron Fist. If you want to watch it, track down episode 10 of Iron Fist.

Fun fact: almost none of the great fights in Iron Fist actually feature Iron Fist!

Quality of hallway: Tight as hell

How stylish: Not nearly as stylish as it should be

Ouch moment: When the guy got punched? with the Iron Fist? I don’t know, this fight isn’t actually very memorable.

5. Danny Rand and Joy Meachum vs The Hatchet Men – Iron Fist

When a group of Chinese thugs break in to kidnap Joy, Danny rushes to the rescue. This is in episode 4 and it is a breath of fresh air for the series. While the show plodded along for its first two episodes or so, but when the hallway fight shows up you know you’re in a Defenders show.

Quality of hallway: Hey this is a nice hallway! Very well lit with a lot of space for spin kicks. I’m pretty sure this is in a hotel, so these guys are just lucky no one stepped out of their rooms at this moment.

How stylish: The music is poppy, the fight feels fun, there are hatchets, and they even get some split screen in there. Oddly split screen only shows up one other time in the show, way down the road in episode 12. It’s not even in a hallway then either, it’s in a foyer. Why even bother?

Ouch moment: When Danny busts out the Iron Fist to break that guy’s hatchet. Technically nobody is hurt, but that man’s morality for sure took a beating. Not so much an ouch moment as a “moralouch” moment. Hah! Okay I’ll be over here.

4. Matt Murdock vs Biker Gang – Daredevil

Step aside Iron Fist because the king of Defenders fights is here. Daredevil! Though really Iron Fist you have no excuse for your weak fights. In episode 3 of season 2, Daredevil attempted to outdo it’s legendary hallway fight in season 1. Daredevil’s been having a rough night. He’s been chained up on a roof, argued with the Punisher, and had a gun taped to his hand. Still, once he’s beaten up the Punisher he has to get him out of the building teeming with angry biker thugs. DD throws Frank into an elevator and goes wild on the bikers. But there’s one major problem, it barely takes place in a hallway! What is this, a stairwell fight power ranking? Come on!

Quality of hallway: Before Daredevil, a little dingy. Could use a paint job. Huge. After Daredevil, dark as hell and covered with shards of glass from all the lightbulbs. Nice one red, you ruined this hallway.

How stylish: This is a cool and long fight. They use some clever editing to make it look like a single take fight. Plus, forcing a gun into Daredevil’s left hand with a chain wrapped around his right changes up his fighting style completely. And one last thing, Daredevil fights are great because he always gets exhausted by all this. He even stops for a breather here. Why don’t any other fights do this?

Ouch moment: Daredevil gets that chain around a man’s neck and pulls him over the side of the staircase so he drops several flights. See, if he had stayed in the hallway he could have walked away from this.

3. Luke Cage Raids Crispus Attucks – Luke Cage

For the first couple episodes, Luke Cage teases this moment. Luke breaks into Crispus Attucks, a community center now controlled by Cottonmouth, takes everybody down and steals the bad guy’s money, all while keeping his ipod ear buds in place throughout. Now that’s talent. I for one will never tire of watching Luke walk through bullet after bullet fired his way, plus there are like three different hallways in this fight!

Quality of hallway: Well it’s Harlem so… In all seriousness, the hallways are fine community center hallways, except for that last one that’s been modified with a cage door. Now that’s a nice hallway.

How stylish: The man is listening to “Bring the Ruckus” as he literally brings the ruckus. Just like the entirety of Luke Cage, this is stylish as hell.

Ouch moment: That poor fool behind the cage door. He just keeps firing and Luke just keeps coming. Then he just pulls the guy into the door and shrugs him off. Damn.

2. Frank Castle vs Prisoners – Daredevil

Honestly this is all on the Kingpin. Wilson Fisk convinced Frank to go to prison because he could get him close to a man who knows about the massacre that killed Frank’s family. He gets Frank into that man’s cell block, Frank gets the info he needs and kills him. Then Kingpin double crosses the Punisher and leaves him in the cell block with all the angry friends of the man he’s just killed. This was always going to be painful, but this is also the only fight here where one man straight up kills everybody else.

Quality of hallway: As a prison cell block, this hallway really stands out from all the others. The white walls and stark lighting let the blood really pop, and there is a lot of blood. 10/10, good hallway, would recommend.

How stylish: Again, the only fight here with gratuitous murder. It stands apart from the crowd. It almost makes me want the Punisher in his own show. Though I still don’t for the record. He’s a better foil than a lead.

Ouch moment: Honestly there are a lot to choose from. The hatchet at the end (hey! hatchets show up twice!) stands out for sure, but if I have to pick one moment it’s when Frank falls next to another inmate and just goes at him with his shiv. That’s the moment I realized he was going to kill all of these people.

1. Matt Murdock vs Thugs – Daredevil

Of course this was going to be in first place! The hallway fight that introduced us to hallway fights. In episode 2, after a group of thugs kidnaps a little kid, Daredevil tracks them down to their secret hideout and takes them all down. It’s brutal, it’s exhausting, and it helped put these Netflix shows on the map in a big way. Without this scene its hard to say if any of these hallway fights would exist, and for that I thank it.

Quality of hallway: I wouldn’t want to hang out in this hallway for long periods of time. The lighting is trash, but I worry if it were better I would find puke on the floor. It’s a good hallway for a fight but not much more.

How stylish: Unlike that hallway fight in season 2, this one truly is one take. One brilliant and hard to watch take. You can see the energy drain from Daredevil-by-way-of -Dread-Pirate-Roberts with each attack and, unlike in other shows, just because he hits a guy it doesn’t mean they don’t get back up. This is their hallway after all, and nobody wants to lose a fight in their hallway.

Ouch moment: For sure when the one guy takes a microwave to the face! That’s the whole reason I made this category!

Those are our Defenders Hallway Fights Power Rankings for 2016! Later this Summer our heroes come together to truly become the Defenders, and between you and me I heard there first meeting is a hallway fight.

#HallwayFights

-JP

PS, But seriously Iron Fist is kind of a mess. If you watch it, watch it for Colleen Wing and Claire Temple. Honestly we should all just thank god for Claire Temple every day.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Why I’m a Writer

My sister introduced me to Buffy. Though that wasn’t the first time it was on in our house.

I distinctly remember my mother talking about it, in regards to the musical episode. It was something new and interesting on TV and she wanted to watch it, so we put it on TV that night. This was 2001 and I, a 7-year-old, wasn’t exactly grabbed by it. But my sister was, and she dove right in.

I was resistant at first, mostly because it was about a girl and how could I relate to that? I know, but I was very young when I thought this way. Still, for a time it was on in our house every afternoon after school, two episodes in a row over on FX, and the next day the story would continue. Eventually I broke down and started watching.

I think the first episode I saw was “Real Me,” the second episode of season 5 and the first full episode to feature Dawn, Buffy’s sister who didn’t exist until that point. Do you understand how insane and poetic that is? I came in when Dawn did, and I think Season 5 still stands out to me among all the rest because it was the first I watched all of.

I only learned what a “season” of television was because of Buffy. They could so easily be divided up based on their Big Bad who was annually swapped out for someone bigger and badder. The first seasons on DVD anyone in my house owned were Buffy, and I started making my way through in order after my sister was done with them.

Never at the same time. I was always a little behind, choosing to watch through in my own order. Season 1 was okay but not great, only in the years since did I realize that most plots there could have been solved with cellphones. Season 2, however, was great. I don’t think I’ve seen a TV villain as personal, affecting, and dangerous as Angelus. Think about it, after Angel turns evil in episode 14 (spoilers?) he stays that way for the next 8 episodes and appears in every single one of them to attack the Scoobies.

Think about every show on TV inspired by Buffy. They never give the villain that much screen-time for the risk of overusing them or making them look weak. Angelus never once appears weak. It’s actually pretty amazing.

Of course as a kid my favorite villain was the Mayor in season 3. I thought he was funny and I thought Faith was just cool. The third season finale was one of the most epic things I had ever seen on TV, bad CG and all. That was the moment. That exhilaration that came with that finale, the sense of scale that only came with living with these characters for 56 episodes, that was when I realized that TV is a better storytelling medium than film. If done well.

Since then I have watched a lot of TV. Too much, many would say too much TV. I have seen good and I have seen bad. But the biggest thing I learned was that there is nothing I would rather do than tell stories in the same way. To lead an audience to the higher highs that TV can accomplish.

Growing up I have rewatched the series a few times, from the highs of season 2, the mids of season 4, the lows of season 6, but I will never forget the first time I saw the series finale, Chosen, in season 7. It remains as one of my favorite hours of television ever. A group of heroes against the horde of demons, but then the women stand up to defeat them all. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m only a feminist because of Buffy.

Now on the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I think about how much it has created my own artistic tendencies. Along the way I have met many other writers inspired by Buffy, almost a whole generation of upcoming talent sees the show as an inspirational touchstone.The characters, the way they talk, and the villains that are cool not because they’re mysterious but because we know them so well. I think we’re going to make some great TV.

-JP

PS, if you haven’t seen Bad Buffy Outfits yet then boy do I have a Twitter account for you.

Logan is Quiet, Violent, and Worth Paying Attention To

Have you ever been in a fight? A real dragged out brawl? There’s a point where you just run out of energy and every punch you land is running on empty. Its here where you start thinking about why you’re fighting or how it got to this point.

Logan is the movie version of that. A man running on empty, looking for a way to finish the fight.

It’s a very good movie. Hugh Jackman explores what is essentially the only storytelling territory left for this character. The action is there, blood and all, but none of it is triumphant for Wolverine. His fights hurt to watch, and seriously hurt him, to the point where I just wanted him to get out of there.

The action scenes that’ll stick with you aren’t his, they’re hers. Dafne Keen as Laura aka X-23 kicks so much ass in this movie that I almost wish it weren’t R-rated for the sake of little girls experiencing how cool she is. But no, the rating is worth it to see her dispatch enemies with both the claws in her knuckles and feet with all the energy they merit. She’s the most high-key element to a very low-key movie.

Almost a year ago I argued that Deadpool was special because of how weird and comic book-y it could be. This movie proves the opposite may actually be true, especially after Apocalypse went to that place and it didn’t go well. Perhaps the future of the X-Men franchise lays in it as a series of slightly lower budget character pieces instead of overblown blockbusters.Deadpool is a story of love over looks, kind of. Logan is the tale of a man at his end, and an examination of what kind of man he is after his very long life.

Worth mentioning, never once in this film does Logan call himself Wolverine, nor is Laura called X-23. In fact, in this movie Wolverine has reclaimed the name he was born with, James Howlett. Here’s a hot take, the film can be read with Logan as his superhero alias and not Wolverine.

X-Men needs to set themselves apart from the pack in some way, because right now they stand as the awkward alternative MCU that’s been technically running longer under one continuity. But that timeline is a mess and the number of great movies they’ve made; X2, X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past, they do not outweigh the number of bad one; X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Apocalypse. To be honest, X-Men Apocalypse burned me so bad I told myself I was out for all X-Men movies in the future. I’ll admit, yes I still came for Logan and I will most likely be there for Deadpool 2, but the mainline X-Men fare is no longer for me. That being said, with more focused material like Deadpool, Logan, and from what I hear Legion is also very good, suddenly the X-Men universe breathes to life.

The MCU is the superstar franchise with great characters that’s a lot of fun. The DC Extended Universe, as it bills itself, is the one where they’re clearly spending a lot more money and want to give more power to the directors to let their voice shine with these characters. But X-Men finds itself somewhere between, which is why people forget why characters like Wolverine can’t be in the Avengers. They don’t even have the monopoly on characters that have powers but are feared by those they protect ever since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought Inhumans onto the scene. They’re basically mutants!

There was a lesson to be learned in Deadpool’s success and it turned out Fox found it and followed it. Use the character to find the tone (be silly with Deadpool, be violent with Wolverine) then tell a story that speaks to them. These quieter X-Men movies are blowing the pants off their more bombastic siblings and I would be interested in more like them. Word on the street is they want to do another X-Men movie where Jean Grey goes Dark Phoenix. First of all, please don’t, and second of all, maybe there’s a version of that story that fits into this framework?

I don’t know, I’m not a producer. Go see Logan.

-JP

PS, Logan wouldn’t work so well if we hadn’t known Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine for almost two decades. Just something to consider.