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Reviews Comments: You are a living weapon, drive all other out of your mind except this. Iron Fist 2017 season review by Gaon

I\'ve always loved the Iron Fist character, mostly due his Immortal Iron Fist run, so I obviously come for this show with a fan\'s eyes.

One of the best scenes of the show is when Lei-Kung the Thunderer gives Danny a monologue. He says \"do not doubt. doubt is death.\". He turned out to be right, not only about Danny but about the show itself: it\'s in doubt about what it wants to be.

What really makes Iron Fist work as a superhero for me is the bizarre Kung Fu. Immortal Iron Fist is the character\'s finest hour because it just turns into Mortal Kombat and Danny has to face all manner of absurd foe.

The show does trip up on this: there\'s a lot of focus on the corporate politics and shenanigans, which has never been IF\'s focus (always a subplot at best). But here the corporate shenanigans do work, the Meachums are a fascinating, complex bunch and their interactions are lovely. It\'s also easy to sympathize with Danny\'s quest to reclaim his own name.

The problem really is the show sidestepping of the kung fu element. The corporate intrigue was well-done, sure, but the mystic Kung Fu is still missing. The show has an odd reluctance to have flashbacks to Danny\'s time at Kun-Lun, and this is its greatest mistake.

Given the primary theme here is Danny being split between NY and Kun-Lun, capitalism and Confucianism, West and East, it is absurd that we don\'t really get any proper introduction to Kun-Lun, its traditions, people and history. We\'re just told about it in oblique background references.

What this show needed was to be more overt with its mystic Kung Fu aspect. More flashbacks to Kun-Lun, more mystic martial arts, more people dressed in robes, togas and kimonos rather than leather, jeans and denim. While the Meachums are entertaining, the lack of kung fu in their plot is a bit of an issue. You could have had their security chief be a kung fu master with connections to Kun-Lun or somesuch.

Bakuto suffers from the same issue: modernizing. He\'s just a boring dude dressed like a regular person and acting not different from one. His shtick is so down-to-earth that its boring. I want to see ninjas god damn it.

The show\'s finest hours are whenever Danny is up against Madam Gao, who is the epitome of \"mystic, magic, mysterious and dangerous\".

Despite this thematic indecision, it\'s not a bad show. Danny is a great protagonist, and his romance with Wing is surprisingly well-written. The Meachums are a fantastic Dysfunctional Family and both Harold and Madam Gao are fantastic antagonists. The fight scenes are well-done if badly edited with too many jump cuts, and the plot moves at the smoothest pace of all the Netflix shows, never feeling slow or tired or running out of plot.

But still, a very entertaining show. My advice to the show is the same Lei-Kung the Thunderer had for Danny Rand: You are a a living weapon. Drive all other thoughts out of your minds except this.

7/10.

Comments

  • DaveTheArakin
  • 19th Mar 17
It is not a perfect show, but I find it more entertaining than Luke Cage. It didn\'t suffer Arc Fatigue by the second half like Luke Cage did.

I read an interview that Finn Jones said that combine Iron Fist and The Defenders brings the full Iron Fist experience. Maybe more of our questions will get answered in that show, which is coming soon.

While I didn\'t like the cooperate stuff very much, I think it serves to establish the world that Danny return back into when he gets back to New York and how his reappearance upsets that world and the lives of the Meachums. And also to establish that even back home, Danny is still an outsider.
  • SpectralTime
  • 19th Mar 17
I think it\'ll improve if they ever give it a second season, because I think a primary problem is that Jones, while a fine actor, is not at all good at fight scenes. If they can put him in the Iron Fist costume, it\'ll be easier to slip in stunt doubles who can.
  • jakobitis
  • 19th Mar 17
I think the fight scenes really brought the whole thing down sadly. Jones is a decent actor and was pretty good at the sword fighting scenes he had in GOT but can\'t really pull off the martial arts style so well - which given he\'s playing a kung fu master is a tiny bit of a problem. The other Netflix MCU had actors who could pull off decent fight scenes (DD or LC) or had the character being pretty much a brawler and a bruiser (JJ) and the contrast is notable.

That said, having cemented Danny as Old Money and philanthropic means he will certainly alter the dynamic of three street level lower income types in the other Defenders.
  • Gaon
  • 21st Mar 17
I agree a second season could (and probably will) solve most of the issues with this show. They just need to find a showrunner with more experiences with martial arts (like RZA in episode 6 and his experience with The Man with the Iron Fists).

I don\'t even think the actors were the issue with the fight scenes, but the editing. Scythe (the last guy he fights in episode 6) and Zhou Cheng (the Drunken Master) are both accomplished martial artists and they don\'t come out looking too good. They need a better showrunner and a better editor and I think this show would be set.
  • Epicazeroth
  • 21st Mar 17
Yes. This basically sums up everything I\'ve been trying to articulate about this show.

But I do think that the corporate aspect, while a bit too much at times, was necessary. All of the Netflix Marvel protagonists have personal demons not (directly) related to their powers; how those demons interact with the \"superhero\" side of things is what makes them interesting. Danny Rand by the nature of his character has very few personal demons: he\'s rich, he\'s white, he\'s been raised to be a badass his whole life (and not by abusers). So the company has to be that outside problem that can\'t be punched away.

The problem is that the Rand plot never feels like it should matter all that much to either Danny or the viewer. I think they should have intertwined the Rand plot with the Hand plot even more. Why do I care about Lawrence when Gao is running heroin through the company? For that matter, why do I care about Gao\'s heroin trade? Why does she? The Japanese Hand has a definite goal, but Gao seems like she\'s just there to be evil sometimes.

And Bakuto was a huge missed opportunity. He could have been a different side of the Hand, one that works a different way but towards the same goals, and is more integrated into modern society to accomplish those goals. Instead, like you said, he seems mostly like some guy who converted to Zen Buddhism but decided to be evil as well (kind of like what a lot of reviewers are saying about Danny). Davos suffers from the same problem, but even worse. From what we\'ve been told of K\'un-Lun it\'s stuck in the Ming Dynasty, but Davos seems more like an edgy college kid who hates society than a mystic monk who holds himself above the modern world. If they had seemed more \"apart\" from this world it would have gone a long way towards making the show feel more comfortable with itself. (Stick, Nobu, and Gao are great examples of how these characters should feel.)

So I don\'t think the show needs to be only an American Wuxia series. But it needs to make sure that when we\'re in the corporate part of Danny\'s life it should still feel connected to the mystical aspect.

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