Who knows how long it will last given Disney’s plans to build its own streaming service, but for now the reign of Marvel shows on Netflix continues. With an adult demographic and the freedom of a TV-MA rating, these series have explored material their cinematic counterparts could never hope to cover, and at their best they’ve been strongly compelling superhero stories. The quality of the different series has been inconsistent. Even the best of the bunch, however, do contain mistakes worth pointing out.
Let’s be clear: this article contains a lot of nitpicking, which isn’t the same as serious criticism. While a few of these mistakes, mainly those that contribute to plot holes, do negatively impact the overall quality of the Marvel Netflix shows, the majority of those listed are minor issues that truly are hard to notice. Strict continuity is actually one of the less important aspects of film editing so long as the errors in continuity are not blatantly distracting. If you watched these shows without noticing these problems, that means the filmmakers did their jobs right for you. That said, once you see where these blunders are, you won’t be able to unsee them.
SPOILERS for the Marvel Netflix shows!
15. BUDDHA NEVER SAID THAT
If you ask some critics, the whole controversial “cultural appropriation” aspect of Iron Fist might be the biggest mistake the Marvel Netflix shows have made. That’s too general and theoretical for the purposes of this more concrete list of mistakes, but one aspect of the show’s questionable grasp of handling Asian cultures translates into a factually wrong line in the very first episode, “Snow Gives Way.”
Danny Rand claims he’s quoting the Buddha in saying “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose.” The thing is, Buddha never said that. It’s a paraphrasing of a mistranslation. This appears to stem from Anne Bankroft’s mistranslation of the Dhammapada. A more accurate translation would be “Let one not neglect one’s own welfare for the sake of another, however great.” The meaning completely changes in the telephone game of mistranslations and paraphrasing.
14. THE MYSTERIOUS MISSING BLOOD TRAIL
Daredevil contains a lot of fight scenes taking place in the dark, which provides a convenient cover so continuity errors tend to be less noticeable. The most notable mistake in one of the show’s fights is so visible precisely because it involves a splash of color: blood red. “Speak of the Devil,” the ninth episode of the first season, climaxes with an intense fight between Daredevil and Nobu Yoshioka. At one point, Nobu drags Daredevil along the ground, painting a trail of blood on the floor.
Then, in the next shot, the trail is missing. This is one of those errors you can’t unsee once you know what you’re looking for. The end of this fight also arguably qualifies as a mistake, as Daredevil’s willingness to burn Nobu presumably to death contrasts with his no killing ethos, though the specifics of self-defense make this a more subjective argument.
13. CAMERAMAN IN FRAME
Does this really count as a mistake when it’s only barely noticeable without seriously adjusting the contrast of your screen? Maybe not, but that didn’t stop eagle-eyed viewers from noticing one of the cameramen on screen around the 37 minute mark of “AKA 99 Friends,” the fourth episode of Jessica Jones.
In the shot where Jessica exits the Eastmans’ room, the left and right sides of the door are framed in pitch black, dark enough that you could hide a cameraman on the right side of the door and most viewers wouldn’t notice. Most, but not everyone. People figured out a differently colored spot amidst the dark was a hand. With a few adjustments to the image, the cameraman’s full body and equipment become visible. And they would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling nerds!
12. THE WRONG BADGE
A lot of the mistakes you see in movies and TV are simple failures of research that would never occur to you as mistakes if you weren’t already an expert in the field of subject matter being messed up. The average Luke Cage viewer wouldn’t assume that the badge used by Inspector Priscilla Ridley was out of place. If you know a lot about NYPD uniforms, however, you’d know it’s wrong.
The badge she uses is a detective’s badge. As an NYPD Inspector, however, her badge should be the same design as the Chief or Commissioners’ badges, just without stars on top. This is a detail that shouldn’t affect most people’s enjoyment of the show, but you just know there was some police nerd sticking their nose up at this oversight.
11. STICK’S UNCONVINCING MISSING HAND
In “Worst Behavior,” the third episode of The Defenders, Daredevil’s old mentor Stick severs his own hand to break out of handcuffs. It’s an intense and hardcore moment, no doubt, but it also leads to some of Defenders‘ worst make-up and costuming decisions. The problem is, whether they’re showing his sleeve or his stub, it’s not the least bit convincing he’s actually missing a hand.
Compare the lengths of Stick’s arms. His right arm with the missing hand appears the same length as his left arm with his hand still attached. It’s always clear that they’ve just put a mold on top of his hand when showing the stub uncovered, and when it’s covered by his sleeves his right sleeve is always noticeably longer than his left.
10. ACCIDENTAL BLINKING
Jessica Jones is supposed to be the only person capable of resisting Killgrave’s mind control commands, but it would seem there is another who shares her power. The problem is, this is almost certainly unintentional, though who knows if this acting mistake will turn out to be a secret plot twist come season two?
In episode eight, “AKA WWJD?” Killgrave commands an elderly couple not to blink until Jessica returns. When the male actor starts speaking French in the same scene, however, you can clearly see him blink, defying the command. Superpowers, or did the editors just pick the wrong take to use? At least this isn’t the other show where David Tennant tells you not to blink, otherwise he’d be taken by the Weeping Angels immediately.
9. WALKIE TALKIES DON’T WORK LIKE THAT
Sometimes being factually wrong can actually work in a show’s favor. That’s probably the case with the big factual innaccuracy in Daredevil season one episode six, “Condemned.” That’s the episode where Daredevil and Kingpin speak to each other for the first time in a tense walkie talkie conversation that takes some serious artistic liberties with how such a conversation would actually go.
Though their conversation is over two way radio, it plays out as if they were talking on the phone. The fast pace of the conversation wouldn’t work with a radio conversation, and this isn’t just editing speeding a slow process up as uninterrupted shots still involve quick mid-sentence interruptions and fast dialogue. Daredevil doesn’t even lift his finger from the radio when listening in some shots. The scene’s such an intense one anyway that nobody cared that it was technically impossible.
8. COMPUTER TROUBLES
In “Take It Personal,” the tenth episode of Luke Cage, Luke and Claire take a look at contents of the USB drive with Reva’s data. This plot point involves two noteworthy inconsistencies. The first is visual. The drive given to Luke by Jessica Jones and seen in earlier episodes of Luke Cage was bright yellow and had rounded edges, yet once they’re putting that drive to use, suddenly it’s a completely different model.
The other inconsistency is more of a plot hole. In Jessica Jones, the contents of the drive were accessible to anyone, but in Luke Cage there is suddenly a security feature. It doesn’t seem like anyone set up security on it between series, so this particular plot hole isn’t excused and seems to be purely inconsistent writing.
7. OBVIOUSLY NOT CHINA
In Iron Fist episode eight, “The Blessing of Many Fractures,” Iron Fist and Claire travel to Anzhou, China in order to attack Madame Gao’s base. The “China” scenes in this episode, however, weren’t actually shot in China but on Staten Island. Filming scenes in different locations from where they’re supposed to take place is normal practice for film and TV productions, but one detail makes this way too obvious for those familiar with New York City.
The detail in question is the Bayonne Bridge connecting Staten Island to New Jersey. While the skyline was CGIed to better resemble an industrial Chinese cityscape, the particular shape and structure of the Bayonne Bridge is so easily distinguishable that it becomes distracting if you’re familiar with the architecture.
6. DAREDEVIL READS BRAILLE WRONG
How accurate is Charlie Cox’s acting portrayal of a blind person? It’s hard to fully assess since Daredevil’s powers mean he isn’t exactly “blind” in the ordinary human sense of blindness, but one area where Matt Murdoch would behave like a regular blind person would be in reading Braille. Unfortunately this is one area where more often than not Cox messes up.
Cox is shown at multiple points in the series reading braille using both of his index fingers. Braille would normally be read using just one finger. The only hand would be needed to hold the edges of the paper to keep it stable. Skylar Gaeter, the child actor who plays Matt as a kid, actually gets this more accurate than his adult counterpart does.
5. ELEKTRA READS JAPANESE WRONG
In Daredevil season two episode six, “Regrets Only,” Elektra reads the Roxxon ledger in Japanese. That is, she would be if she or the director knew which direction she was supposed to read it in. She flips the pages from left to right as you would with any book written in English, but Japanese texts are almost always read from right to left.
That’s why manga is sometimes confusing for non-fans in the English speaking world to pick up and read. While the oldest manga publications in the US did flip around the artwork so as to be publishable in a traditional left to right format, the majority of English translated manga today are published unflipped, so you have to read them right to left. Anyway, the point is the Daredevil crew should read more manga so they don’t make these mistakes.
4. IRON FIST CAN DRIVE?
Iron Fist never learned to drive. He says in the first episode that the last time he “drove” a car was when he was a kid sitting in his dad’s lap pretending to drive. In that same episode, he hijacks Ward Meachum’s car. Again and again throughout the season, he keeps getting behind the wheel. By episode five, “Under Leaf Pluck Lotus,” he has his own sports car.
If he spent his teenage years training in K’un-L’un and he never even applied for a driver’s license, how does he know how to drive? Is this one of his powers? Was he just so observant as a kid that he figured it out from watching and remembered everything when he was an adult? A lot of things about Iron Fist don’t make a ton of sense, but this is probably the most notable lapse in logic in regards to his character.
3. WHERE’S AVENGERS TOWER?
This reoccuring blunder can be blamed on a combination of limited effects budgets and the weird antagonistic relationship between Marvel’s film and television divisions. The Netflix shows are supposed to be taking place in the same universe as the MCU movies; in fact, much of their plot logic depends on that being the case, but it often doesn’t feel like it. One notable detail that’s missing: Stark/Avengers Tower.
It should be one of the highlights of the New York skyline. In fact, the MetLife building, which is at the location where Stark/Avengers Tower is built in the MCU, is clearly visible at multiple points in Jessica Jones and Iron Fist. Jeff Loeb claimed that not showing the Tower allows them to “be less specific” about geography and somehow be less distracting, but that still comes off like an excuse.
2. THE HAND MAKES NO SENSE
The most serious point on this list from an actual criticism standpoint is the numerous plot holes connected to the overarching villains, The Hand. They’re first introduced in Daredevil season one as a heroin cartel, but in season two they become extra absurd with a giant underground hole that’s conveniently forgotten about after two episodes. In Iron Fist they operate in a floor of the Rand building that somehow nobody notices.
They do return to address Daredevil‘s literal plot hole in The Defenders, but even more lapses in logic arise in that show. Their goal is revealed to be an immortality substance, so why do they keep wasting it? Why do members bother killing each other, knowing they can be resurrected? Why is Elektra assumed to be a “blank slate” when every other person they resurrected wasn’t?
1. HELL’S KITCHEN ISN’T A CITY
If you want to pass out, take a drink every time a character in Daredevil mentions either “Hell’s Kitchen” or “my city” and uses those phrases interchangeably. The fact these Netflix shows present Hell’s Kitchen as the crime-ridden place it was in the 1960s already strains believability, but at least there’s an excuse that “the incident” in The Avengers changed New York’s social climate. It doesn’t explain them talking about this neighborhood as if it’s “the city,” though.
Watching these shows, you’d get the impression that ALL of NYC outside of Harlem, Chinatown and maybe where the Avengers live, is Hell’s Kitchen. In reality, Hell’s Kitchen is 15 blocks. It certainly doesn’t reach to 116th street, where Foggy and Matt walk to work in “Bang,” the season two premiere. It’s a silly thing, easy to joke about, but what DOES the map of NYC look like in this world?
Have you noticed any Marvel Netflix blunders? Let us know in the comments!
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