Spoiler Warning. If you haven’t seen the show, I do get into some spoilers.
Having finished Iron Fist now, I do have some thoughts on it. I found it to be an entertaining show overall. It had some pacing issues for sure, and I can sort of understand some the criticism leveled on those first six episodes, or rather the hate for Danny Rand , about him not being believable , and coming off as insincere or even miscast.
Especially with his lofty quotes . More often than not, it comes of as a guy just reading it off a fortune cookie. But much of the criticism was of course prejudgment over the whole perceived whitewashing or white savior trope, and SJW hysteria, and that I do not agree with at all. Danny Rand was and is a white guy. Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. Take it up with the original creators.
The thing about it that is kind of amusing is that as the series progresses it seems much of that was a major point of this first series. The flaw of the character. He talks the talk, but he isn’t a hero yet.He doesn’t seem to believe in the cause. And he did abandon his commitment to Kun-Lun and the monks who took him in and trained him. He is filled with doubt and hatred. Its all part of his character, and his ongoing progression. So seen as a whole it makes a lot more sense. But if you judge it just on those first six episodes then I kind of get some of the criticism. Like his friend Davos says; Danny shouldn’t be the Iron Fist, and there is no denying that he has a point. At least from what the first season shows us. I imagine he would get a straight slap in the face when he returns to his teachers.
Same thing with the Colleen Wing character . During those first episodes she comes off as a more rounded , and believable character. What a surprise then for all the people who said she should be the main character and hero of the show, but then certain things are revealed , and “Oh we didn’t know that” , “wish we watched the whole thing” etc
Her moral failings begin to become clear even within those first six episodes. Schooling her student for cage fighting, and then going on to do the same thing. Enjoying beating people for the sake of beating them. But critics were on a moral high themselves, so they let those flaws go unchallenged in order to continue the bashing of Finn Jones´s Danny. Because SJW reasons.
What little we got to see about Kun-lun and the “training” of the would-be Iron Fist did not come off as the good side at all. It seemed like torture to me, much like what you hear about in china where little kids are given to dojo´s and acrobatic schools at a young age, and basically beaten until they can perform at a certain level. Merciless training regimen that would make you or I cry ourselves to death. Yes that may lead to some olympic medals, or the odd Jackie Chans of the world, but I call it abuse all the same. Like child soldiers , beaten and taught how to hate, to become “living weapons” . They really don´t come across as the “good guys”. Not what we got to see anyway. I see a young boy being beaten with sticks, and I don´t ask why the child is being beaten. I just say stop .
That whole story took up too much time. It was very clear from the get go that Harold had a lot of shady business going on, and should not be trusted. And why Danny held these people in such high regard seemed more than a little weird. He spent as much time away from these people as he had done with them. Maybe even more so away. And Ward was always a dick to him, so why act like he was this nice older brother type ? Again,Its a character flaw in Danny which keeps coming up .
Danny Rand is gullible. Way to easily losing his focus and letting his anger get the better of him.Its hard for me to understand why Danny runs to back to New York after achieving the Iron Fist mantle in the first place. Like what was his plan ? Take over Rand Enterprises again ? What then about protecting Kun-Lun ?It becomes a little frustration while watching it, because someone has to be asking these questions.
I get it’s part of the character Finn Jones is portraying.He has unresolved issues in New York. Is it the Iron Fist that leads him there to take down the Hand ? Is he on the right path ? Its hard to tell, and perhaps that’s the series worst failing. We really needed more info on Kun-Lun and The Hand, and less of the bickering and drama with the Mitchum kids, and the whole structure of Rand enterprises. It eats up too much time which could have been better served giving us more info about the Iron Fist.
Madam Gao had Danny figured out very quickly. I love the Gao character. A really good villain, and one I hope to see again when The Defenders get going. Not as fragile and helpless as she may appear. Its easy to see now why The Kingpin had such respect for her.It would be fun to see if and when she ever let´s her true abilities be known. We saw a little piece of it, but not much. Almost a Yoda-like character. Lets just hope it doesn’t become an unintentionally funny bit with a lot of flips, if and when she finally lets loose.
Like with most of these Netflix/Marvel shows,I think it could do with at least 3 less episodes. It held my attention throughout , but I wished for a lot more of the Iron Fist than what we got. An entire flashback episode showing his training would have served the series well. It became much like how little of Power Man we got in the Luke Cage series, where he was all about not doing anything with his powers because “reasons”. One of my problems with Luke Cage was that he seemed to be a completely different character than the one previously introduced in Jessica Jones. It was a step backwards. Danny Rand seemed more than willing to use his powers, but he had no real direction in which to focus it. He didn’t know what he was doing. Very much like a fool rushing in…
It seems highly unlikely that Danny and Luke will ever be the “Heroes For Hire” from the pages of Marvel comics.
At the end of the day Iron Fist was a good action drama, with some good twists and turns, which only really begins to set up the comic book character of Iron Fist.This was more about Danny Rand coming to terms , not only with the power of the Iron Fist, but with what caused his family’s demise and set him on the path of becoming the Iron Fist. Like an origin story for Danny, but not the Iron Fist. Which is a shame.
Its weird to see the critical consensus of the show on Rotten Tomatoes versus the audience reviews on the same site. It goes from the worst Marvel show ever, to one of the best Marvel shows. I would say its falls somewhere in between the two extremes. Its far from being as bad as the critics say, but nowhere near as good as the audience reviews will have you believe. I would say some of the audience reaction was very much a retaliation for the critical slamming it took. For me it would not be in the 17% where the critics consensus landed,nor would it be in the high 80% where the audience reviews has it. For me it lands around the 60-65% mark . 6/10 , and it easily could have made a 7/10 if it was edited down , and if we got a little more info about what lead up to Danny becoming the Iron Fist. How he was trained, and how he defeated the dragon . I know it’s “because season 2 ” will explain it, but that really doesn’t help season 1 does it.
I liked the little winks and nods to the previous three characters set up in the Marvel/Netflix shows, and the show is a nice continuation leading into The Defenders. If you are a fan of the previous shows, I can recommend you give it a watch. But it’s not a MUST WATCH. I think much exposition will be granted us during the first episodes of The Defenders regardless.