Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage has made their mark courtesy of the venerable streaming service-Netflix, now comes my most anticipated series from the (aforementioned) characters that will eventually form The Defenders. Iron Fist based on a 4th tier Marvel Comic protagonist who has gathered a huge cult following enough to place him at number 68 among the IGN’s top 100 superheroes of all time!
After spending time in the mystical city of Kun Lun, Billionaire and Buddhist Monk, Danny Rand, (Finn Jones of Game of Thrones) returns to New York City, after being presumed dead for 15 years, to reclaim his family company (the Rand Corporation). In a fish out of water introduction of said character, Rand looks completely disheveled and homeless while trying to reunite with his father’s best friend and business partner Harold Meachum, yet receives a rather unwelcome reception courtesy of security guards and this is where we witness Danny’s uh, martial arts skills. During the first 40 minutes, one can smell a familiar trope of the long-lost heir reclaiming his throne only for his vile “Stepfamily”-Ward and Joy Meachum to prevent that from happening.
Already there seems to be a red flag of precaution after watching said scene. Because truth be told, it looked as if Jones must’ve skipped a few classes unlike Charlie Cox (Daredevil) or even Stephen Arnell (Arrow) who were at least credible for the most part.
What’s disappointing about Iron Fist is the constant filler episodes which mostly involve Rand’s involvement within the corporate world that stings of “been there, done that” scenarios as witnessed in previous comic based films and TV series (Batman Begins, Iron Man and Arrow) that involved: hostile takeovers” and rivalries. However, I give props to the dig aimed toward greedy pharmaceutical companies. (I’m looking at fuckheads like you Martin Skereli!)
Finn not only could use more martial arts lessons, but additional courses in acting as well. Just because he’s from a troupe of actors from a venerable series like Game of Thrones, does not qualify him for a role of a big budgeted series and the same can be said about Jessica Yu Li Henwick who is cast as the live action version of Colleen Wing. There was no real impact other than her fight scenes which were more credible than Finn’s. That is, until latter episodes .
Throughout the first 3 eps, we learn that ole “Danny boy” attains special mystical powers e.g. leaping not so tall buildings in a single bound, healing attributes to telepathically linking to a falcon-great for reconnaissance operations. so, I guess that demonstrates more of his capabilities which compensates for him being stuck with just a “glowworm” fist.
While the slow burn episodes are used to stretched out a series that should’ve been at least 8 episodes, there is too much dialogue and the action scenes are sporadic, but when they happen, they’re either welcomed or unimpressive. A primary example, would be during the fourth episode that tries to mimic that iconic hallway scene from Daredevil’s “The Cut Man”, but had less than the same impact of said series’ 3rd episode.
A child… touched by fire
Delivered from heaven
To become the greatest warrior
Destined for victory.
Guardian of the gate..
Destroyer of the Hand
There’s also some uneven or rather forced narratives, such as Danny meeting a homeless stranger in Central Park, who tells him about researching via internet that is reminiscent to some product placement i.e. a fucking IPod commercial and speaking of “product placement”. I had to once again facepalm after watching something straight out of an M&Ms ad! I mean seriously, Marvel/Netflix? Is that the best you can do when producing a show based on one of my favorite Comicbook characters? Said stranger’s fate was clumsy used when driving forward, Rand’s purpose. Well, at least in the meantime, there are cameos from Madam Gao and Claire the Night Nurse to balance out some of the boredom.
Despite my complaints, there are signs of the show’s slow streak finally gaining a bit of momentum when Danny discovers a synthetic drug connection tied to both the nefarious Hand syndicate and *Gasp* Rand Corporation. Then there’s Rand’s chemical plant being responsible for causing cancer and so, Daniel-San being the contentious objector, takes a course of action and shit gets “real” from there on!
Despite it’s great premise and my appreciation for the character himself, I can only recommend Iron Fist if the viewer has a certain amount of patience when wading through the slow paced 5 episodes. Which I’m judging the series based upon. It may sound unfair however, Daredevil’s first episode delivered. Although, Iron Fist has somewhat picked up the pace after five eps going in, it’s still a cautionary sign of false hope, unless the upcoming Defenders can sway my opinion. Had it not been for such a slow burn, I would’ve given it a much higher rating.
Three “Chis” out of five!
Iron Fist: The Cultural Appropriation Superhero?
Recently there’s been some inane criticism of Netflix Iron Fist series that derides from the titular character’s ethnicity or lack thereof. Y’see, most critics professional and armchair have attacked the series for what has been perceived as a lack of diversity as in the protagonist- a superior martial artist being a Caucasian as opposed to some Asian dude riding in to “save the day”.
Iron Fist like Doctor Strange have similar origins but with a striking contrast and what makes them both unique is how they received their powers that pay a modicum of respect towards Asian pop culture as opposed to a Billionaire building a power suit or some scrawny guy being subjected to a super soldier serum. And speaking of “scrawny”, here’s the skinny on Iron Fist:
Riding high on the pop culture trend of Kung Fu cinema, Marvel Comics along with Master of Kung Fu, developed yet another a martial arts themed superhero who was loosely influenced from a chop socky film prior to Bruce Lee’s well known exploits. Created by Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane, Iron Fist tells the story of Daniel Rand, a son of a corporate CEO Wendell Rand who goes on an expedition to the mystical city of K’un-Lun with his business partner Harold Meachum. During the journey up the mountain, Daniel slips off the path taking both his mother and father with him. Meachum, who also loves Heather, kicks Wendell off the tie in rope, forcing him to plunge to his death.
However, offers to rescue Heather and Daniel. She rejects his help and soon after Heather and Daniel come across a bridge that appears out of nowhere and are attacked by a pack of wolves. As a means of sacrifice, Heather throws herself on the wolves to save Daniel and is killed even as archers from K’un L’un attempt to save her. The archers then take the grieving Daniel to see Yü-Ti, the hooded ruler of K’un L’un. When Daniel expresses his desire for vengeance, Yü-Ti apprentices him to Lei Kung, the Thunderer, who teaches him the martial arts. Sometime after extensive training, he dips his fist into a cauldron aka “The Dragon’s heart” and gains the power of the Chi and with that great power, his responsibility is revenge!
And thus, begins the legend of the Iron Fist!
Now, for those SJWs as in “Social Justice Wannabees,” NEWSFLASH, the protagonist based on the comics has always been of the Caucasian persuasion as you can see from the pics or better yet, read the goddamn books that are now available courtesy of Comixology that has an Iron Fist sale as of this writing.
The remarks about the “White Savior” in this case is moot because, A. It would be stereotypical of Iron Fist to be an Asian and B, I rather see a Shang Chi series based on the Master of Kung Fu comics, which contained an enthralling mythology and concept. Much preferable than some race swap.