I’ve just watched all the episodes of Iron Fist on Netflix and I think it was average to good. I liked it but it’s definitely not my favourite of all the Netflix Marvel shows. I’d place it above Luke Cage and below Jessica Jones for me – Daredevil is still my favourite.
I don’t really think there’s a “whitewashing” issue here. Instead there are other problems. One of them being the martial arts component of the show being… weak. Despite our hero is supposed to excel in Kung Fu, the body language is screaming the exact opposite. I don’t think all the fault lies with the actors though (afterall they do what they can) and it’s the fight choreography I have issue with. I think the show is trying to “mystify” kung fu which makes everyone look wooden and flowerie. There doesn’t seem to be any power or reason behind their movement other than “I’m using this style so I’m going to move like this”. This was surprising as I was expecting the action to be more gritty and realistic like Daredevil. Apart from the martial arts choreography, this show fails in displaying martial arts etiquette as well. Eating in a dojo? Wearing shoes/trainers in the dojo? Placing the tip of your shinai on the floor? Also, the shinai they use seem like a brand new shinai in which they just took the plastic bag off and went “good to go!”. They need to take off the red strings that are not part of the shinai. Also, the bowing is more of a Japanese thing than Chinese so I don’t know why Danny started bowing at first. It doesn’t matter because he loses this half way into the show for no apparent reason.
Although Danny is said to have become the legendary Iron Fist, he sure does get beaten up quite badly by random fighters. There isn’t really a good scene where it shows just how good he is. In contrast, Daredevil can take down skilled Hand ninja with relative ease until more skilled ones appear later in the show. Iron Fist doesn’t have that. He beats up some random security guards with ease at the beginning of the series but he struggles against all his opponents from that point on. It made it difficult to believe that Kun Lun and the Iron Fist is magnificent or impressive.
The final episode of this show felt very rushed. Suddenly, Danny is being framed for being a drug lord and it reaches newspapers a day after taking down the hand? Really?
But I did like the story it began to tell. It just got really muddy towards the end where I thought some things required a leap in faith. It is a familiar one though, it felt like Arrow since we have a rich person disappear for a long time coming back to the city and then his friend’s dad is actually the main bad guy. The emphasis on trying to prove his identify was a good touch. I liked how Joy sends him the M&Ms to see if he code decipher the message. In fact, the fragile friendship between Danny, Joy and Ward was my favourite parts of the show. Joy tries very hard to balance between managing her relationship with Danny and protecting her own interests. He consistently lets her down by not showing up to board meetings, going against her recommendations without giving her a warning he was a very bad friend to her yet she tried to salvage whatevers left between them. I did like the Ward and father issues arc. It was very interesting and I thought a more interesting story would be Ward murders his father then becomes his father. Instead, he doesn’t really change that much from beginning to end. Their father coming back to life was really weird. It took me out of the story a bit.
The story did become predictable once Herald came back from the dead. In fact, I kinda knew Colleen was part of the Hand too. Can I just point out that he is an idiot for asking Colleen to go to Kun Lun with him? Surely the locals would take issue with him bringing an ex-Hand member to their grounds. He is quite insensitive isn’t he?
Despite the action being disappointing, I did like the Street Fighter 4-esque intro sequences. I think it’s a beautiful aesthetic. Speaking of, I would like to say Joy’s fashion sense is awesome so whoever the costume/wardrobe person of the show is, you did a great job!
Also, is Claire going to be the Coulson of the Netflix shows? I.e. die and unite all our heroes? I feel like she is going to die in the Defenders.
I feel as if Netflix really should’ve released this before Daredevil season two and straight after Daredevil season one. It feels like the story has gone back to square one. Daredevil and Jessica Jones are both origin stories and then came Daredevil season two and Luke Cage which weren’t really. They felt like a continuation of a world set out in the previously mentioned shows and Iron Fist feels like it’s trying to do some world building again. I don’t know if it would improve the viewing experience without having seen D2 and Luke Cage though as I can’t unsee things. It certainly feels that would be a more logical order to me.
Overall I think it was quite a good TV show. It could’ve done better in certain areas and that would’ve made it a lot better. But I’d still recommend it to people who liked the other Marvel shows. It might be a slightly harder sell to people who haven’t seen any of the Netflix show and I would recommend they see Daredevil before this in that case.