Marvels Iron Fist – A Feast of Diminished Expectations

Marvels Iron Fist Finn JonesRating 2.5/5 – Marvels Iron Fist is what the Schadenfreude oriented internet have been wishing for, an actual Marvel failure.  Unlike Thor or The Incredible Hulk – which are consider Marvel’s weaker movies – Marvels Iron Fist does not have split reviews. Marvels Iron Fist is considered bad on too many levels.   Agents of Shield has its ups and downs – well more downs – but has many moments of good character building and stories.  Even the Incredible Hulk was still far more well received despite being a financial failures.   Iron Fist stated out with baggage it could not get past. Marvels Iron Fist’s baggage only help add to the many problems with the Netflix series.    There are more reasons than the white washing issue.  The problems with Marvels Iron Fist’s is all about  execution.

Introductions Sets up Expectations

Any writer worth their commission check understands that introducing the main character is extremely important.   You need the audience to know the character.   The best way is the oldest rule in writing, show don’t tell.    AMC’s Into the Badlands is a great example of showing not telling and makes a good comparison since both series are low budget.   When Into the Badlands opens we meet Sonny (played by Daniel Wu.)  Sonny is riding a motorcycle and comes across something strange.   When Sonny approaches a group it’s obvious they are responsible and they refer and treat him like some kind of enforcer.    This is made clear through reaction as well as dialogue.  Ass kicking happens before the first five minutes of Into the Badlands.  Another example with a little more budget was Cinemax’s Banshee.   Banshee starts out with the lead character getting out of prison, coming home to New York, searching for a woman and immediately getting into a shootout with people who obviously don’t like him.  House of Cards introduces us to Senator Frank Underwood as he talks to the audience and strangles a dog that had  just been hit by a car.   How you introduce a character will determine how the audience relates to that character.

Marvels Iron Fist Jessica HenwickMarvel’s Iron Fist introduces us to Danny Rand walking through New York City barefoot heading to the company his family owned.   He’s presumed dead, his two best friend don’t recognize him but he continues – for three episodes – to stalk them and try to convince them he’s really Danny Rand.    Why did he come back?  I’m not sure.    Why does he want his company back?  I’m not sure.  And that’s the problem.  Everyone says Danny has been gone for 15 years.   When they show a flashback Danny looks to be around 12 years old.   Therefore it was roughly in 2002 when Danny “died.”   He has an old iPod, so there was the internet and DVD’s and TV.   Why couldn’t Danny find a phone and call first?  There’s a line in the show where someone asks him to take a blood test and he says he has no living relatives.   Do the writers even know how blood tests work?   Danny father was rich and well known, he never visited a hospital?  The death of Danny’s family is said to have been well publicized and no one thinks it’s odd someone removed all his birth and hospital record?   He was born, they didn’t take any blood type or fingerprints on file like they do every baby born in any industrialized nation?   The problem with the “prove you’re Danny Rand” plot was it was too easy to solve after 1995.   This lasted almost four episodes and it wasn’t well thought out plot point.

I’m a native New Yorker and I know exactly what would happen to any human being walking barefoot in any part of New York.  You’re going to get cut by something.   You won’t be allowed to just enter the building owned by a huge corporation without being stopped almost immediately.   Homeless people don’t walk around barefoot in New York.

Marvels Iron Fist The HandIron Fist thought the Hand was a Myth?  WTF?

One of the most notable bad plot points in Marvel’s Iron Fist was the whole “I thought The Hand was a myth”  thing.   The show’s writers decided to keep Danny’s origin pretty much intact.  Found by monks from a mystic city, had to defeat a dragon in order to become the Iron Fist.   So he see a dragon, beats it, gets a dragon shaped scare on his chest, and can generate energy that makes his fist like iron as a result of the dragon fight – but he found the Hand unbelievable?   Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple character had to explain to Danny what the Hand was capable of even though he spend 15 years learning that shit from the monks?   Did anyone edit these scripts before committing it to each episode?

Boring Hand

I liked both seasons of Daredevil.   I liked the Elektra plot and the Punisher and the Kingpin.  I did not think there were too many episodes.  I likes Karen and Foggy and Ben Urich.   The Hand, on the other hand (pun intended), that’s a hard one.   In the comic the Hand is a ninja warrior death cult whose in a war with the Chaste.   The Hand resurrections the dead and turns them into robot zombies.  That’s just what the Hand does.  Their status in the Marvel universe is essentially “overwhelming odds/canon fodder.  The Hand is usually the army of some bigger villain like Elektra or someone Marvel is trying to make a thing.   It’s not that the Hand is the worse but they never been really interesting except in the Elektra arc of Daredevil.   However, the Hand is essentially a ninja army death cult.  How hard is that to do?   The audience does not know what the Hand is about.  We don’t know their goals.   It’s never explained why exactly is there a division in the organization.   Having Danny clueless to them was a dumb idea and contradicts Marvels Iron Fist’s origin.

A better idea would have been to have the reason Danny is in New York was because he was sent to stop the Hand, and the reason Danny wants his company back because it represents money and resources to stop the Hand or because the company company is infested with the Hand.   Wouldn’t this have made more sense?

Marvels Iron Fist’s White Washing

You know who keeps making excuses for the obvious white washing?  White people.   They want Marvels Iron Fist to be exactly the same as in the comic.   Iron Fist started back in the 1970’s when the whole “white guy learns martial arts and is better at it than the people who taught him” thing was all the rage.   So the defense of the white wash boiled down to “keep the white washing because that’s who we remember it and if people get offended it’s their fault.”   Fuck that attitude.  Iron Fist was racist from the beginning.   The white guy knows other people’s cultures better then the actual people thing barely flew in the 1970’s, is wasn’t going over in 2017.   Times changed.  If they made Iron Fist anything other than a rich white guy I think people could have forgiven that change.   The people would wouldn’t are the same people who bitched and moaned about a black stormtrooper and why Mad Max was allowing a woman to do all the action.   So fuck them anyway.   The white washing was and always will be a problem with the character and that carried on to the show.

Fighting a Yawn

Marvels Iron Fist Fight ScenesThe fight scenes in this show sucked.   They were slow, boring and did not come off as action scenes.   They did not even come off as too choreographed like the light saber fights in the Star Wars prequels.   A fight scene should be the highlight of any show whose central character is about martial arts.   Go watch any single episode of Banshee or Into the Badlands or even CW’s Arrow.  There’s a central fight scene in each episode of these shows, and you look forward to them.   There was one really great fight scene with Colleen Wing and one interesting fight scene with Danny and a drunken master.   That adds up to two interesting fight scenes in a 13 episode Netflix show and that’s not good at all.

Super Hero?

The other thing Iron Fist seemed to forget was its’ a super hero story.   Neither Daredevil, Jessica Jones or Luke Cage forgot this.   Each one had a bit of heroes journey to them.  I am not sure what they were going for with Iron Fist, but they were not going for super hero show.   They were barely going for a Shaw Brothers.

Lowered Expectations

Super hero shows are not easy to do, but Netflix has been producing good stuff so you expected more from Iron Fist then you get.   I could watch Daredevil and Jessica Jones with no problem.  If Luke Cage didn’t throw the N-word out so much I probably could watch that again too.   But Iron Fist is something I won’t be revisiting.  The plots were meandering, the characters were not interesting and the main character cycled between boring and childish.   Even the Clair Temple stuff felt shoehorned in, even though she had a good reason to be a part of this show as set up by her appearance in Luke Cage.   Colleen Wing was interesting but this wasn’t the Colleen wing show, it was Iron Fist.  Let’s hope they do better in Defenders.





I'm from Brooklyn New York and this is my opinion on everything.