So we finished Iron Fist last night. We’ve had fun keeping up with all the Marvel franchise movies and television shows. Undoubtedly Captain America: Winter Soldier remains my favorite of the movies. Now, after seeing Iron Fist, I can safely say… Daredevil was way better and remains my favorite of the television shows (season 1 at least). Without further ado, it’s on to the review.
There was a lot of talk about the show just prior to and the day of its release. Contrary to the commentary, most of the critics weren’t negative about the casting of a white man in a traditional asian role. They were disappointed that Marvel chose to go with a comic book character that furthered the trope of white savior. IE, white person comes into a culture and assumes the mantle of hero for that culture, doing everything they can do only better. And yes, that was evident and even mentioned a little in the show. It’s a key component they let slide, though, one that could have been an intriguing base to build the theme from if they had been more self-aware of it.
The story over thirteen episodes wasn’t bad. It was a typical fish out of water, can you go home again sort of story, but without as much fish and water. I would have enjoyed seeing more of Danny Rand being out of touch and out of tune with the world around him then we got. The winding plot was decently convoluted and had some interesting twists, and overall I thought it was fine for what it was.
However, the story suffered from two problems that drive me nuts. The biggest one is the “I’m an idiot” problem. In other words, the story is moved forward through conflicts that occur only because someone was a complete idiot. Danny Rand is often the idiot, particularly in the first half of the season. “I shall trust everyone and tell them everything” he seems to decide, despite the fact everyone he has told has treated him like an insane person. By the third or fourth time, you start to think “come on man, don’t you learn jack or shit… ever?”
The other problem was continually shifting loyalties and/or personalities. Ward is spiteful… Ward is accepting… Ward is a fucked up junkie… Ward is insane… Ward likes Danny… Ward doesn’t like Danny… Ward helps Danny… and on and on it goes. Ward and his father were the two biggest perveyors of this crime, and it drives me absolutely nuts. I give up on shows that do this all the time. People simple don’t change so often and so radically in such short periods of time.
The critics were right about two things: the fight scenes were meh at best. Having seen plenty of good martial arts films, I wasn’t terribly impressed. Even the Daredevil fight scenes were better than these. And the acting is bleh. The actor playing Danny Rand did nothing for the character. Acting like either a wise old monk or an angry petulant teen, that doesn’t impress me. There was no subtlety to the skills shown. That could be the Director as well. Connie was decently acted, and Davos was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale cast of characters. Definitely enjoyed it when he came into the show later in the series.
Was it as bad as I had heard? Nah… but I also approached it thinking it would be bad, so expectations were very low. It exceeded those, though not enough for me to think it’s a show I’d watch again (unless they did a new season). I mostly watched it for the references to other Marvel stuff, easter eggs, and to make sure when the Defenders comes out I won’t have missed a vital plot point that plays into the series arc.
Iron Fist, you didn’t hit me very hard. I’m giving you 2 1/2 sheets of Reynolds wrap out of 5. Now go make some more throwing stars out of that Aluminum foil, Davos, you sassy bastard you.