10 Thoughts on Iron Fist
Netflix’s latest Marvel show, Iron Fist, is now available for your streaming enjoyment. This is the 4th Marvel show on Netflix (not counting Season 2 of Daredevil) and the last one we needed before we get The Defenders team-up.
To say that Iron Fist has been getting some mixed reviews would be a bit of an understatement. Critics have been largely panning it, while viewers seemed to be enjoying the show anyway. We’ve watched all 13 episodes are ready to get you our thoughts on this martial arts series. And, as always, spoilers abound if you haven’t seen the show yet.
10 Thoughts On Netflix’s Iron Fist
1. The Casting of Danny Rand
There was a bit of controversy with the casting of Finn Jones (of Game of Thrones fame) in the staring role. Some people seemed to have thought that Netflix should have cast an Asian-American in the role, as it has a serious martial arts theme to it.
Ignoring the somewhat hypocritical fact that people seem to think a show about martial arts needs to automatically have asian cast members, I was personally fine with them casting Finn Jones. The main reason being is that he looks like the Danny Rand from the comics. If you take a look at the first appearance (and most) of Iron Fist, it’s a blonde guy from New York.
I have zero issues with diversity in my shows or comics. Give me a good story and you can cast anyone you want. But I don’t want Netflix to feel the need to rewrite history in the name of forcing diversity. I want the shows to be as true to the source material as possible. There is plenty of room in my heart for super hero’s of all walks of life, and I’m all in favor of a new super hero of asian-american descent (or even just Asian). We don’t have a limited roster of heroes we can love. Dream, innovate, and get creative, but don’t feel the need to change the past.
2. The Fights Could Have Been Better
Moving on, I feel like the fight sequences could have been a lot better in Iron Fist. The Kung Fu doesn’t really ring authentic and Finn Jones never really looks as comfortable as he should when fighting. However, it turns out there is actually a solid reason why. In an interview with Metro, Finn Jones explains:
“But really, I was learning the fight scenes 15 minutes before we actually shot them because the schedule was so tight. So 15 minutes before the stunt director would talk me through the choreography and I’d just jump straight into it.”
So apparently Netflix really rushed the production of Iron Fist and that could very well be the reason we got these mediocre fight scenes. Let’s hope they learned their lessons and will do better with The Defenders.
3. Enter The Drunken Master
That’s not to say every fight scene was bad. In fact, I really enjoyed Danny’s fight with the Drunken Master. I always loved the Jackie Chan movie Legend of the Drunken Master, so I was pretty excited to watch this scene. When I saw the clearly drunk guys guarding a door, I had an inkling that we’d be in store for something fun. Turns out, I was right. Lewis Tan was cast as Zhou Cheng, a scene-stealing Drunken Master. Tan has buckets of charisma and apparently was even considering for the role of Rand. Tan did great with his little bit of screen time and that fight stood out to me as one of the better ones. I’d love to see him in more stuff in the future.
4. Those Jump Cuts
The last bit I’ll say on the fighting is the director should have watched more Daredevil. In Daredevil, we got treated to two awesome hallway fights, all with only one camera shot. These were both highly entertaining and thrilling to watch. Iron Fist seems to have gone the other direction and went overboard with the cuts during its fights. In fact, one Redditor pointed out that a 35 second fight scene in Iron Fist had 56 cuts. Ouch. Perhaps they did that because Jone’s fighting was so sloppy due to the rushed production schedule.
5. Madame Gao was good, but Iron Fist needed more.
I really liked Madame Gao as a villain, however I think Netflix held her in reserve a bit too much. She was great with her screen time, being both mysterious and a bit intimidating. And yet the show runners eventually stuck her in a box and mostly forgot about her. Bakuto was really never much of a replacement. If there is one thing we know from the previous Marvel shows, having a stellar villain can really help carry the load. Daredevil had The Kingpin. Jessica Jones had Killgrave, and Luke Cage had Cottonmouth. This was really missing in Iron Fist. Madame Gao quite possibly could have been that villain, but she never really reached that level.
6. The Twist of the Hand
I must say, I did not see the twist of Colleen being part of The Hand. I thought that was very clever and one of the better ideas from the show. The show runners hinted at it throughout the series, but never I never really caught on. This made for a great reveal when Danny realizes the girl he is in love with is also his sworn enemy. Thankfully it didn’t turn into a Romeo and Juliet thing where they both stay dedicated to their ideals despite their love of each other. Once Colleen saw what Bakuto was really like, she was done with The Hand.
7. What Was Going on With Danny
One of the main issues with Iron Fist is just how goofy Danny acts. As someone who has spent the last 15 years training his mind and body, he really seems to do some dumb stuff. Such as not having a clue as to how basic business operate. He threw his 51% around so much, so quickly, that I’m surprised the board didn’t kick him out sooner. While it was nobel to give away that new drug at cost, it doesn’t really help fund future research (or pay for past) to not have any profits.
Even when fighting, he’s constantly rushing into battle without a second thought. One of the worst moments was during his second challenge when he fell to an obvious seduction play. I mean really, did anyone not see that coming from a mile away?
I think Danny could have used a lot better writing for his character. It would not only have made him a bit more likable, but also made things a tad more realistic for us.
8. The Meechems Were Great
One of the absolute bright spots in Iron Fist has to be Ward and Joy Meecham. While they also have their silly moments, for the most part, they were pretty great. I hated Ward at the start of the show, but once I saw how he was being manipulated by his father, I really started to feel sorry for him. His eventually redemption came when he turned on his dad and saves Danny, ultimately killing his father. Granted this was the second time he killed his father, but this one wasn’t as rage induced.
And I felt bad for Joy for most of the show. It seems like she was the only one trying to keep the company on track throughout the insanity. She is consistently getting used by others, has to clean up their messes, and really just tries to be a good person (except for the whole drugging Danny part). Oh, according to my wife, “she always has the cutest outfits” so props to the costume designer on the show.
9. Claire is the Obvious Linchpin
Throughout the Avenger’s movie and lead ups, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) were the two people bringing all these heroes together. I feel like in the Defenders, that’s got to be Claire. She’s the only person who has been in all the shows and knows all the heroes. Plus, as of right now, there is no other reason for them to get together. Daredevil is really the only “hero” of the group. Jones, Cage, and even Rand all had their own person motivations during their first season, while Daredevil was more the crime fighter. So I could see Claire calling them all in for a big job that needs handling (my guess is with The Hand).
10. Netflix Should Have Combined Luke Cage and Iron Fist
Caution: Luke Cage Spoilers if you haven’t seen it yet.
The first half of Luke Cage was great. However once Cottonmouth died, the show went downhill really fast. The villain they had to replace him was not only goofy, but not very believable. I would have been happy had the ended the show after we lost Cottonmouth.
And Iron Fist suffered some definite pacing issues. I feel like the characters meandered about and a few episodes felt quite drawn out. It was definitely much slower at the start then the second half. They both would have been better with half the episodes, giving us tighter stories and a lot less chaff.