As much as I love the idea of street level Marvel heroes on Netflix, so far, other than Daredevil, I haven’t much cared for how they have been done.
I’ve been really critical of both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, to the point that I probably won’t bother sitting through a second season of either, unless I’m really, really bored. But that hasn’t stopped people from criticizing the newest Netflix series, Iron Fist, because… reasons, apparently.
So here’s my take on the first season and why it isn’t nearly as bad as some people want to pretend it is.
Danny Rand, thought dead for 15 years after his family’s plane crashed in the Himalayas, returns to New York as the Iron Fist, a mystical warrior that protects the land of K’un L’un. But when he’s rejected by his former friends, he has to find a way to root out the evil that has taken hold in his father’s former company and fight his sworn enemies, the Hand.
I have no idea why everyone is so down on this series, I thought it was better than Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, both of which I soundly criticized. Was it perfect? No, not by a long shot, but it was entertaining at least and I didn’t have to force myself to get through it like I did with those other shows.
One of the most ridiculous complaints I’ve heard so far about it is that the actor playing Danny isn’t Asian. This, of course, comes from the regressive assholes, who apparently don’t read comic books because Danny Rand isn’t supposed to be Asian. But don’t let reality get in the way of regressive stupidity or anything. Maybe they’re thinking of Shang-Chi or something, I don’t know. That suggests they’re capable of thought at all, which I highly doubt.
Otherwise, I’ve heard that the action sequences aren’t amazing, which is true, but it’s a TV show. It isn’t like they’re going to have Jackie Chan starring. I never had that break me out of the show. The other is that it didn’t have a very unique “voice”, which I will admit that Jessica Jones went for a noir vibe and Luke Cage had a lot in common with blacksploitation, but so what? What “vibe” did Daredevil have? None that I can really identify. So I find these complaints to be very minor, even laughable.
I did have problems with the pacing, especially the beginning, where they spent way too much time shoving Danny into a mental hospital before he could establish his identity. That might have been an episode, at best, not the first handful. And frankly, Danny needed to be tougher. He doesn’t strike me as a master of martial arts who has spent every waking second for the last 15 years training. He seems like a lost puppy. And his co-stars aren’t that amazing either. Take Joy Meachum for instance. She changes sides every other episode. So does Ward. And it takes forever to get to anything resembling a reasonable villain. They just move from one lackluster baddie to the next until they get to Bakuto and that’s over far too soon. I wish they had just started with him and skipped through all the rest.
Still, even though Danny started off as kind of a whiny douche, even though the whole Meacham family were a waste of time (unfortunate because the comic versions were much better), they finally got to something that could have been fun to watch for 13 episodes and they had to end it in just a couple. I never much cared for Madam Gao in other series, but we did get some hints that could make her a more interesting character in the future. That would have been a better story too.
But in the end, I still enjoyed the uneven adventures of Danny Rand a lot more than other shows. I’d still sit through another season of Iron Fist long before I’d do it for some of the rest. I have no idea if they’re going to get a second season, but Netflix is reporting that Iron Fist is the most binged series in the history of the network, so I think that’s a pretty safe bet. I’ll certainly be there if so. It will be interesting to see what happened to K’un L’un and hopefully, showrunner Scott Buck might have learned some lessons and we’ll get a more even and entertaining season. I can only keep my iron fists crossed.