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So Iron Fist has been getting absolutely dragged by reviewers, and rightly so, in my opinion. I especially recommend these: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5.

Having finally watched it, I figured I'd talk a little bit about the things that peeved me personally, and maybe have been less subject to discussion.

  • One thing I'd like to concede - not unlike BVS, I think the extreme low rating this has gotten is partially due to high expectations, budget, time spent waiting and leading up to this, and the high bar set by previous films/shows. If this had been a series of Teen Wolf I'd probably have been slightly more impressed, but it's not. This is coming off the backs of the other Netflix shows, and it's not even as good as Agent Carter - it's more like the very worst of Agents of SHIELD.

  • Also, the episodes do generally get better as the show progresses, rather than worse, but not enough to save it.

  • It's not good enough at being serious to be a serious show, and yet it lacks in humor as well. So many of its problems would be solved with a little self-aware joking.

  • Aside from all the obvious appropriation/white-savior issues, I am so very, very bored with this formula. It's Batman, Arrow, Dr Strange. There's been shades of it in Daredevil and Iron Man. I am so bored.

  • We also already have a white martial artist with rage issues and problematic Asian villains, and his name is Matt. Give us more Matt and leave us alone, please.

  • I showed this picture to my mom, who practices iaido for years, and she said, I quote,"If this pose represents the general level of action and skill..." And I realised that she is SO RIGHT. THIS PICTURE ENCAPSULATES EVERYTHING. The utterly TERRIBLE POSE, what is that, it PAINS ME TO SEE. And he's wearing street shoes on the mat! He looks ridiculous! He is ridiculous! He's telling a bunch of people of color how wrong they are about things! One of them looks like he has is face in his hands in frustration! This picture is perfect.

  • This brings us to the fighting. Aaargh.

  • I was expecting better fights than Daredevil but they were not remotely as good.

  • Finn Jones has apparently said that sometimes he was learning choreography fifteen minutes before shooting, but a) Marvel had a fucking year to make this, so they could have figured out a way to NOT DO THAT, and b) Finn Jones had at least a few months to prepare for this. Was he training? WHY DIDN'T THEY TRAIN HIM? c) THEY COULD HAVE CAST SOMEONE WITH ACTUAL MARTIAL ARTS SKILLS. LIKE THIS GUY. WHO ACTUALLY HAD SOME CHARM IN HIS ONE FIGHTING SCENE.

  • I know that him having no mask makes him harder to switch out with a stunt man than in Daredevil, but a) that is a WRITING DECISION, just GIVE HIM MORE OF A MASK, and b) MAKE THE ACTOR TRAIN MORE. THEY MAKE IT CONVINCING WITH CAPTAIN AMERICA, NO? c) Daredevil had one fight without the mask, and they made it work.

  • So it's partially down to the actor, tbh. Finn Jones isn't solely responsible for this trainwreck, not at all, but Charlie Cox did perfectly fine when you could tell it was him. AND SO DID JESSICA HENWICK.

  • CHOREOGRAPHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! C'MON GUYS!!!!!!!!

  • I'm convinced that if Danny didn't have the Iron Fist, Matt could beat the shit out of him. Not least because I'd bet you he has a much higher pain tolerance.

  • I'd rather watch this video on repeat tbh.

  • There were two points where I thought they could have found interesting themes to explore. How do you show a person coming back into a world he hasn't known for fifteen years? Rather than showing him bumbling around with bare feet and not knowing what the internet is, what about the idea that he doesn't know where or what home is anymore? That he's trying to figure out who he is, what culture he really belongs to? I know that his friend Davos later shows up speaking perfect English, which makes... sense..? ...for an alternate universe where everyone speaks enough Mandarin that Danny is supposedly fluent in it? Whatever. But imagine a character coming back to an English-speaking country for the first time in fifteen years, head spinning, trying to remember how to have a conversation. He's getting handed high-level legal documents and his English reading level is still where it was when he was ten years old. IDK. As someone who's constantly traveling between the US and Japan (previously Hong Kong), I'd have loved to see him deal with the sudden change in languge. But in Kun Lun they speak English, because... well, why not, I guess.

  • I wish they'd kind of gone fully into the possibility that Gao just represented the 'bad Hand' and Colleen was right and Danny was the one who'd been sort of brainwashed. I mean, we know the Hand is evil, but especially us comic-readers - ie the majority of the audience to be honest - wouldn't have known that it was a lie that the Hand we'd seen so far was just one evil faction. Seeing Danny's world and his total surety get knocked off-kilter like that would have been interesting tbh.

  • Speaking of Colleen, I agree with most reviewers that she's better and more interesting than Danny, but I honestly think that's largely by comparison. Seeing her next to Rosario Dawson was yet another, if not quite as large, contrast.

  • Okay, so Finn Jones. I liked him as Loras Tyrell, yeah? I did. But even putting aside the crap he's been getting into on Twitter - and like Matt Damon and his mansplaining, I think he's a good example of someone who genuinely means and wants to do well but is ignorant to how he himself is actively doing harm - he was not good. Like, I'm sorry. I found Danny Rand annoying, unlikable, snappy, holier-than-thou, frustratingly naive, occasionally downright stupid, and HONEST TO GOODNESS CRINGE-WORTHILY EMBARRASSING when he was a) spouting off terrible fortune-cookie wisdom, or b) doing literal any martial arts stances at all.

  • Goodness knows all heroes have their flaws - even just sticking to the TV shows, Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones have BUNDLES of flaws. The thing is, the show has put them there on purpose. Iron Fist seems to have created a lot of Danny's by accident.

  • Speaking of wise sayings in other Netflix shows, I shit you not, Daredevil's "the mind controls the body, the body controls the enemy, the enemy controls JACK SHIT" was more inspirational than literally any garbled ~Buddhist wisdom that came out of Danny's mouth.

  • David Wenham, I love you and your formerly-Faramir self, I do. But everything about Harold Meachum fails to hold up to Killgrave, or Fisk, or Cottonmouth (let's not talk about Diamondback), or even Madam Gao, or moving into the movies Loki. He was like a slightly crazier Obadiah Stane or Zemo, maybe. I don't blame Wenham for that - I think he did alright with shaky material.

  • The one thing they definitely did right with his character was the constant, unsettling sense of wrongness. Even when he wasn't acting murderous, you could tell he was... off. Kudos to Faramir.

  • Ward started out as utterly boring and bland, and ultimately had a more interesting character arc - conveyed through a better performance - than Danny did.

  • Joy started out as more sympathetic, spend a while being utterly naive, and then ended up... considering murdering Danny? For no reason? Even though she knew he was innocent of the things he'd been framed for, and ultimately hadn't killed her father? WTF?

  • How many freaking branches of the Hand are there? There was Nobu, then Gao, then Colleen's....

  • Actually, now that I think about it, if there's not five branches, the name will sound even dumber.

  • Okay, the finale! I admit I really enjoyed that one bit where Danny Iron Fisted and the entire room just exploded. More of that, please, if the martial arts is going to continue to be meh.

  • What on EARTH was going on in the last fight? You're a martial arts expert and you're being chased by a dude with a gun, so you knock him down and... keep running? Don't disarm him? Don't punch him out?

  • I reiterate what I said about Daredevil probably having a much higher pain tolerance. One measley bullet wound? Bah.

  • Ranking Marvel/Netflix: JJ > DD1 > 1/2 LC, 1/2 DD2 >> 2/2 LC, 2/2 DD2 >>>>> IF


  • PS: To quote my good friend, "He just comes across as immature and completely lacking in compassion. He spews all the saying about it, but he acts condescending to anyone "below" him. I'm sure the scene with the homeless guy was supposed to show some of his compassion, but he just seemed like a douche. Same with the kids at the dojo. You'd think 15 years in a monastery getting hit by sticks would teach him some humility but no. Stupid, arrogant, faux-compassionate, faux-Asian dude

  • I think part of what bothers me is the fact that people keep trying to show him kindness, genuinely giving from the little they have, and he just reacts with this sort of privileged scorn. Like when the hobo recommends where he can get shoes or brings him a sandwich he got dumpster diving, and when Colleen gives him money, and then Danny is just like WHOOPS YOU'VE MISTAKEN ME FOR SOMETHING LESS THAN I TRULY AM, I AM TOO GOOD FOR THAT. Which I think is a reaction many normal people would have because it hurts their pride. I would have liked to see him having moved to a better place during his years of training

  • Or when he laughed at the crazy things the hobo said. Any person would have laughed or walked away. I would've liked to see him be willing to try to understand a different world view. It would've been a much more profound character moment that would have given him a lot more depth than his reaction of LOL people must think I'm crazy like you are."

  • PPS: I've realized part of what makes IF so boring. JJ and LC were packed to the brim with commentary and examination of various social issues and bits of humen phenomena and culture, right? That made them Important, but it also made them more interesting. It fleshed out the characters and the universes. It meant that in any screen or the background of any plotline, there was more going on than the regular formula of hero vs. villain.

  • Then we have IF. Evil companies are not a new plot idea; neither is vengance against your parents' killer or trying to be a better (insert superhero name here). That's basically all that Iron Fist gave us. A weak-assed Martin Shkreli reference doesn't change or make up for that.

  • And the thing that I've realized ticks me off is, EVEN DAREDEVIL - WHITE DUDE WITH PROBLEMATIC ASIAN THEMES DAREDEVIL - HAD SO MUCH MORE GOING ON. There was Matt's traumatic childhood, his secret-keeping, their struggling to make a career in poverty, the concept of giving up wealth and a high-powered career path to follow your conscience and help do what's right, corruption in government and law enforcement, gentrification and how it effects the poor, Matt's rage issues, that Devil he lets out and the way he enjoys the beatings he gives out, the Catholic guilt, the huge moral question of whether killing is right and what it does to your soul, the idea that he's slowly destroying himself and his personal relationships, and he's also FUCKING BLIND. There is so. much. going. on.

  • On top of which, when it came to the villains and the general storyline, JJ masterfully showed how the main character was affected by and terrified of the presence of Kilgrave. With LC and Cottonmouth it's his effect on the community, the people that Luke has to protect. With Daredevil it's kind of both - you're terrified of Fisk for the people of Hell's Kitchen, and for Matt personally. The threat of Kilgrave, Cottonmouth, and Fisk hang over the heroes' heads and their communities. But in Iron Fist, I felt vaugely worried for Meachum's personal family once or twice, but never for Danny personally, and never for the world at large. Even with the ~Hand and Madame Gao, their operations are so shadowy that aside from the drug-running they barely seem like an actual real threat.

  • You now impress me even less than before, Iron Fist.


  • PPPS: Stop!! saying!! that he's childish!! because he was raised by monks!!!

  • If he's been emotionally stunted by his early trauma, that's one thing. If you show him suffering massive culture shock from being in a new country, from being in the city, from not knowing how a corporate 21st century English-speaking world works anymore, fine.

  • But stop being like, "He doesn't know how to interact with other humans! He's never seen a girl before!"

  • MONKS ARE HUMANS. MYSTICAL ASIAN ALTERNATE-UNIVERSE HUMANS OR NOT, THEY ARE IN FACT PEOPLE. He has interacted with other sentient beings and learned and grown. HE IS AN ADULT. Growing up Buddhist in a countryside Chinese/TIbetan/wherever village DOES NOT MAKE A PERSON INFANTILE. SHUT!! THE FUCK!! UP!!!

  • PPPPS: He and Colleen were so very not dressed for traversing the Himalayas. Like, what the fuck.

Has anyone else seen it? I'd love to hear what you think. (Even if you enjoyed it.) :D


( 3 Thoughts — Thoughts? )
Mar. 21st, 2017 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh boy, and I still haven't even made it through all of Luke Cage. Maybe I should just give up on the Netflix shows. So far none of them have really been my speed at all.

I've heard wonderful thing about Faramir hamming it the fuck up, though, so I'm still slightly tempted.
Mar. 22nd, 2017 01:26 am (UTC)
I loved most of the other series tbh, but this is just. Not... great.

Faramir is always worth it though!

Honestly, I'd encourage you to watch it and form your own opinion - just don't go in with high expectations, and you're likely to appreciate it more, lol.
Mar. 30th, 2017 06:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'll give it a try eventually. I'm just... not in a rush, for all the reasons you mentioned and all the reasons I mentioned, and probably a couple more. :B
( 3 Thoughts — Thoughts? )