IRON FIST REVIEWED
“Iron Fist” proves that a solid martial arts story can make the whiniest of neoliberal media consortia come together to attack something other than Supreme Leader Trump. I’ve taken some extra time to cover “Iron Fist”, as I didn’t want to get lost in the narrow multitudes of people slamming the series. That being said, the extra time allowed some interesting facts to come out. The show is the second biggest debut for Marvel outside of “Luke Cage”. In addition, the average paying Netflix customer seems to be enjoying it. I guess that beats the online whiners who don’t have a TV, but enjoy streaming via their phones or their busted 2007 Compaq Presario laptops.
What doesn’t work with Iron Fist? Well, the problems that the character has been carrying around for 40+ years stick even harder on film. Danny Rand might be a warrior monk that cock punched a dragon in its guts, but he still has the mental hang-ups of a Western 10 year old boy. He’s a raging emotional fighter with mild PTSD and the mental well-being of a traumatized 10 year old. When Danny returns to NYC, it makes sense that he gets thrown into the nuthouse. A 10 year old breaking into his old home is sad, but a 25 year old doing it is a felony.
If you can stick with the character failing for awhile, you can get to the heart of the series. Yeah, he’s a bad Iron Fist…but that’s the thrust of the series. The monks of K’un L’un forced a traumatized child into serious training due to a slightly misinterpreted prophecy. The last time this happened, Anakin stormed the Jedi Temple and butchered some 6 year olds. If you can ignore the Gawker Media and Tumblr Mafia attacks on the series, you can find the truth behind their misread.
Race-changing Danny Rand undermines this storytelling conceit by just making him the worst warrior monk ever. Keeping Danny as a goofy privileged white kid, new venues open. Danny Rand was supposed to grow up and eventually become the head of his father’s company. When forced into a world far beyond his understanding, he was never given the tools to compete. His parents left him at an early age and a society that basically abducted him physically forced him into their way of life.
Danny knows something is wrong, but even he can’t frame his childhood experiences vs. normalcy. When Rosario Dawson hears about this over a shared candlelight dinner at the Dojo, she is horrified. Look at the scene and study Finn Jones’ portrayal of Danny here. His Danny knows it was horrible, but he can’t even look that far book with any sense of rational thought. Much like abuse victims, Danny felt obligated to the Monks for not leaving him out there to die with the other white interlopers.
Compared Danny to the other heroes of the Netflix Universe. Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage are reasonably older than Danny. While Danny has guaranteed money and access, he can’t reach the level of emotional maturity that DD, Jessica or Luke has achieved. All three got to have some semblance of maintained childhoods in a Western environment. Jessica and Luke didn’t encounter immense tragedy until they were adults. While Jessica lost her family at a young age, she still had a foster replacement system to provide some sort of security. Hell, even Daredevil had Stick. What did Danny have other than sneaking out to eat donkey meat with Davos?
Naturally, you have to look past the excuses that others make to hate a series and view it for yourself. There are reasonable faults with the series, but they appear within the Marvel Netflix formula. 13 episodes feel unnatural for the stories being told for these series and I’d recommend chopping off 3 or 4 episodes to speed up production. If there had to be one egregious sin with this series it was that the first act of Season 1 dragged on way too long. Nobody cares that Meachum’s kids are douchebag adults. Audiences need to know why. Frankly, getting the why so late only compounded the audience’s issues with initially accepting Danny Rand.
IRON FIST SHOW STATS
- 13 Episodes