Marvel's The Defenders early reviews are in

We're still a few weeks away from the official premiere of Marvel's The Defenders, but early reviews for the Netflix superhero series have already started to roll out. Thus far, most critics are picking up what the show is putting down, and seem to be enjoying the overall tone and director. This all sounds like good news for The Defenders, which serves as Marvel's television equivalent to its silver screen team of the Avengers, as its reception will likely dictate Marvel's next moves in the TV world. 

With the review embargo on The Defenders officially lifted, critics have released reviews for the first four (of eight total) episodes. 

Empire's Dan Jolin applauded the show's cast for their chemistry and for the excitement it all creates, but criticized the lack of originality in terms of narrative. "There is enough joy in watching the sparks fly as these four alpha characters finally collide to make you feel The Defenders might just have been worth the wait," he wrote. "It's a long-anticipated crossover series that delivers some engaging character clashes, but which fails—in the first half at least—to up the ante story-wise."

Robert Yaniz Jr. of We Got This Covered felt similarly, writing that the series "starts as something of a slow burn" until the main characters join forces: "Once the heroes come together, it more than lives up to the promise fans have been clamoring to see realized. It may not be the strongest Marvel Netflix series thus far (that would be a toss-up between Daredevil and Jessica Jones), but The Defenders splits the differences between its leads, creating something that even casual fans of these shows shouldn't miss."

ComingSoon's Jenna Busch is yet another critic who expressed that the slightly frustrating story is almost counteracted by the ultimate team meet-up. "For fans, [The Defenders] is definitely worth a watch, though getting to the actual story might be frustrating for some. When the team up finally does happen, it's pretty satisfying. If you haven't seen all the other series, fear not. A lot of time is spent explaining. Hopefully we can let that go in the second half."

But Allison Keene at Collider wasn't exactly thrilled with the newest Marvel series, writing, "If you thought Defenders would be a culminating chapter to the other Netflix Marvel series so far, think again. So far it feels like another prelude, and it makes one wonder if we'll ever get to the main event."

On the flip side, io9's Katharine Trendacosta argued that the show lives up to its promises. "It sounds like an insult to say that The Defenders is exactly what you thought it would be, but it isn't. It's a show that's very aware of the expectations put upon it and the problems encountered by the other Marvel Netflix shows, and it knows how to best utilize its cast and its time. In other words, it's great."

Brett White at Decider had kind words to say about the series, giving special mention to the actors: "The Defenders feels like a true hybrid, the sum being impossibly more enthralling than its charismatic parts. You can practically see the sparks flying as soon as these rock solid characters strike against each other. You see just how good each performer is in their respective role once they're put in context of the other three."

Is the slow-building climax worth waiting for? Decide for yourself when Marvel's The Defenders is released on Netflix on August 18. In the meantime, check out the untold truth of the superhero group.