I came into all of these Marvel Netflix shows not being a fan of any of the characters. Not that I didn’t like them but just that I didn’t follow them. I knew the most about Daredevil because he’s the most popular and was one of my pop’s favorites. But I could never get into the comic when I was young and have wiped the movie from my memory.
I didn’t know anything about Jessica Jones and was aware of Power Man (Luke Cage) and Iron Fist but never had any interest in reading the comics. So these shows are pretty much my introduction to these characters and their stories. Say all that to say that I wasn’t coming in with any preconceived notions and expectations on how I wanted these shows to go based on the comics or cartoons.
I will admit I was more ready to see them all come together as the Defenders but I was still excited for Iron Fist. But I kind of feel that maybe Marvel was more ready for the Defenders too and just rushed through this one.
Tough Acts to Follow:
Part of the issue is that Iron Fist followed a hard line up of characters with more interesting stories. Daredevil; a blind hero and essentially Iron Fisting (phrasing) better than Iron Fist. Jessica Jones; the narrative of what it’s like for women to deal with an abusive/conniving ex but amplified. Luke Cage; a righteous man wronged and showing heroes how we’ve never gotten it before with a primarily minority cast.
So you follow up these shows, that provided a fresher perspective than superhero movies/shows have thus far, with a story we always get. A billionaire loses his parents and fights crime to avenge them. *cough* Batman, Arrow *cough* Not to mention that it’s also the same image we get time and time again of white man being adopted by a different culture and some how being their chosen savoir. Something I think many of us are tired of these days.
Yet my feelings about this being a super repetitive narrative is actually not why I think this show is so bland. It adds to it, but if the show was done better I wouldn’t have minded.
Weak Fighting and A Lot of Crying:
For starters, my understanding of Iron Fist is that he is a kung fu master. So I was expecting some great fight scenes. Daredevil came straight out the gate whoopin a**! Iron Fist? Not so much. The fighting wasn’t even on the same level as Daredevil when I would have expected it to be slightly better.
It was obvious that the Finn Jones is the worst fighter. All the best scenes and choreography came from the other characters. It even looked like everyone else was dialing it back as not to outshine the lead too much. I understand that we probably wouldn’t get a fully trained Iron Fist and that’s cool, but Danny still trained for 10-15 years prior to gaining the Iron Fist, so I would expect him to be a more capable fighter and better disciplined.
I don’t know how Iron Fist was in the comics but this portrayal of Danny Rand is a major cry baby. Way worse than Oliver on CW’s Arrow. The creators must have been going for the angle that this is a child’s imagination coping with tragedy, and in that case, Finn deserves all the awards. Because when I watched this show, I didn’t see kung fu master Iron Fist, but rather a kid imagining what it would be like to be a kung fu master. This whole show reminds me of what it looked like when I saw kids playing pretend Dragonball Z in 8th grade, embarrassing.
The Pacing Is Off
On the real, the first two episodes could have been one. Too much time was spent on the whole, ‘is this really Danny?’ arc. Just say something that only you would know and move on!! Basic stuff dragged on (speaking of which, no dragon, another demerit) and sped through other parts. It didn’t show the progression of more interesting characters/moments, making them unbelievable.
For instance, take Davos and Joy plotting at the end. Joy spent the entire series being affectionate for Danny, trying to protect him while also searching for her humanity. Granted she went through some stuff in the end, she finally became free of what was holding back her morals and so the logical progression is to kill the man who helped restore her morality? Davos made more sense but I still feel there could have been more done with him.
Colleen was solid enough but I feel she could have been fleshed out better. Like exactly what drove her from being anti cage fighting to becoming this cocky cage fighter? There was no show of internal struggle between her honor and primal rage until afterwards and then it was kind of dismissed. Theses are things the show could have spent more time on as opposed to “is he really Danny” and crying/flashbacks to his parents’ death.
Danny Bland & Friends
There are really no stand out characters. I know some folk feel that the character Luke Cage was just kind of ‘eehh’. And I’ll give you that he wasn’t the best on his show but the rest of the cast was amazing. And at least he didn’t detract from the show the way Danny did. There are no Shades, Cotton Mouths, Misty Knights, Foggys (Foggies?), Purple Mans, etc. to offset Danny Bland.
The likes of Claire, Gao, and Hogarth were good but they’ve been playing those roles. The drunken fighter is fan favorite but he was only in the show for like 5 minutes. Joy was just there to be there most of the time. There’s potential with characters like Colleen and Davos but like I said before, the show didn’t flesh them out enough.
Overall, Iron Fist is like dry, unseasoned chicken. It’s edible, but why bother?
It felt like not as much was put into this series as it predecessors. There were way more interesting aspects the show could have focused on but didn’t. And we need a less childlike Danny and better fight scenes. I’m not calling the show trash, probably because of the Marvel fan boy in me, but it wasn’t good either. Let’s just hope we get an improved Danny come time for the Defenders.