That whole optimism thing is a big pile of nonsense.
Remember what I wrote about last week? You know how I was going to ignore the critics’ warnings about Iron Fist thing and watch it anyway? Yeah well, I was wrong… sort of.
Iron Fist is the fourth Netflix series based on Marvel properties and is the lead-in to a fifth, The Defenders, which will feature all of the main characters from the four earlier series.
The first three, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, were excellent. Even the second season of Daredevil, which I thought was a step-down from the first, was very good.
Iron Fist, on the other hand, was lacking.
First, I took issue with the pacing. It took a long time to get anywhere with the story.
Second, I didn’t really like the story. I understand there is a certain amount of exposition with any superhero property, but when the previous Netflix series kicked off, the heroes were all established in one way or another. With Iron Fist, the whole series seems like backstory. If Netflix jumped into Defenders tomorrow, writers could sum up Iron Fist’s journey in about five minutes of dialogue. Easy-peasy.
My other issue with the writing was the characterization of Iron Fist. For a disciplined monk who grew up being trained as a living weapon capable of going toe-to-wing with a dragon, Danny Rand (Iron Fist’s civilian name) whined a whole lot. He still seemed like a spoiled rich kid who was confused when things didn’t go his way and was even more confused when people lied to him.
That’s another thing, for someone who grew up in New York, even as a 10-year-old rich kid, Rand is surprisingly naïve when he returns after a 15-year absence. Yes, he was young when he left, and yes, 15 years is a long time but still… once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker.
Third, there were way too many villains. Part of the strength of any superhero property is the villain. Would The Dark Knight have been as good without the Joker? No. Would Jessica Jones been as good without Kilgrave? No. Heroes are often defined by their villains but with two factions of bad guys from Marvel’s go-to ninja/criminal organization The Hand, a guy from his old monastery, and three former friends turned not-so-good, it was difficult to see who and what Iron Fist really stood for.
I don’t need to be spoon-fed but if you can’t establish a main bad guy, your superhero show is going to suffer.
Fourth, the actions scenes lacked in several areas. For a character whose main trait is being a martial arts master, Iron Fist does not mix it up very often. I think there were four combined minutes of fight scenes in the first three episodes.
In my opinion, action should be in the forefront of an Iron Fist series, but the fight scenes seemed to serve as little more than a bridge for more plodding dialogue.
Also, the fight scenes there were, seemed poorly done. I am not a professional martial artist and even I could tell the fight scenes were poorly done. At one point, a character applied an arm bar, that even my new-to-the-grappling-game-eyes could tell, wouldn’t have worked in real life.
Anyway, here is hoping Netflix will learn from the dismal reception Iron Fist received and make sure Defenders is much better. Well look at that, I’m optimistic once again.
I’m done now.