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Monday, March 20, 2017

Shawn Reviews Netflix’s Iron Fist

Marvel Studios has had quite a winning streak over the last few years. Most of the projects created to establish the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Film TV, and online have been great projects that have captured the spirit of the original characters from the comics.

Unfortunately, with Iron Fist that luck just ran out. 

What’s wrong with Iron Fist? It’s not the fact that Iron fist is a White guy. Because Danny Rand in the comics was a White, blonde, blue eyed American. In his origin in Marvel Premiere #15, he winds up in a mystical land called K’un L’un when the private jet he and his parents were flying on crashed in the mountains. And when his parents died he was raised by those monks and taught the martial arts and the ability to turn his fists unto a thing of iron, or what we call the Iron Fist. All of that follows the comic to the letter.

No, the big problem with Iron Fist is that it’s just BORING. By the numbers. Predictable. Like Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. Iron Fist comes from Marvel Studios but doesn’t have that heart that makes a Marvel Studios project come to life. It feels more like a cop show, not a superhero one.

The pilot opens with Danny Rand coming to New York to reclaim his fortune. A barefoot hipster type with scruffy unkempt hair and dirty clothes he goes to the Rand Building. Only to be escorted out by security. He beats up some guards, then sneaks upstairs where he confronts a cousin who now runs Rand Enterprises. After he tries to talk to him He kicks him out and Homeless Danny is on the street.

After breaking into his former home and taming his best friend’s Rottweiler, Danny meets Colleen Wing, who works in the village as a self-defense instructor.  He begs for a job teaching martial arts. Colleen blows off bummy Danny. As the episode progresses Danny runs into people who attack him outside Colleen Wing’s Dojo. He soon finds out they’re guards from the Rand Corporation. We then find out that Danny’s cousin is being controlled by an older guy who’s the mastermind who wants Danny Rand dead.

Yeah, I saw that coming a mile away.

At the end of the first episode Danny is drugged by some tea and taken to a mental hospital. And we all know what’s going to happen over the next 12 episodes.

Danny fights bad guys. In between we see his origin. Romance. Sex scene with either his grown up childhood friend or Colleen Wing. Eventually he beats the bad guys and takes back his family’s company.

Meh. Just Meh.

There’s nothing Special about Netfix’s Iron Fist. The story isn’t so compelling that you want to binge watch it like the first six or seven episodes of Luke Cage. With Luke Cage there was a heart, a soul an energy that captured the Black community and the spirit of Harlem. All the great storytelling in every episode of Cage made you want to watch more and more until the series was done.

Unfortunately with Iron Fist a casual viewer isn’t drawn in. From what I saw in the first episode I could take the show or leave it. With Iron Fist the storytelling just isn’t there. The characters are flat, one-dimensional and BORING. The show spends too much time TELLING us who Danny Rand is supposed to be instead of SHOWING us reasons to CARE about him.

That’s the major problem with Iron Fist, it’s just hard to care about Danny Rand the way he’s written. He’s not someone you can really relate to like Luke Cage or Matt Murdock. The story told about him is so one-dimensional and by the numbers that you don’t see something special about him that allows you to identify with him and his struggles. Danny is so passive and so docile that you can’t connect with him or his struggles to get back his fortune and beat the bad guys. While he kicks ass doing martial arts, he just doesn’t have a voice that speaks to the audience.

I wanted to like Netflix’s Iron Fist. But the way he’s adapted shows there’s a lot of rust in the execution. While Marvel Studios has an excellent track record of producing quality shows based on Marvel Comics properties such as Daredevil and Luke Cage, Iron Fist just doesn’t pack the punch it needs to be compelling programming. If this is the last show leading into the Defenders, Marvel Studios is going to have to come up with a strong offense to keep viewers interested in Marvel’s street heroes.

1 comment:

  1. I believe they rushed the project. The other shows captured the characters beautifully, Iron Fist not so much. I could swear Danny Rand is a hell of a lot smarter in the comics than he is in the show. And he was manipulated too easily. There are some themes that could have been built on better. Does he stay in New York or fight the Hand in Kun Lun? How does he find his way as a man? Adjusting to life as a wealthy New Yorker after living the last 15 years as an ascetic could've been deeper as well.

    I think season 2 can be strong because they've developed some interesting villains for him to contend with. The Defenders might also make up for Iron Fist's missteps.