It really broke my heart to hear that the final defender to arrive was receiving such terrible reviews before it was released. I was so pumped for another great product released by Netflix’s Marvel division that I convinced myself that the bad reviews was a publicity stunt to help promote the show that will hopefully capture a sort of “cult following” because of it. Sadly, it wasn’t the case.
Let me preface this review by saying I’m sort of going to walk through the episodes by segments and might be giving some light spoilers.
Knowing that the all the critics who were allowed previews of the show only were able to watch the first 6 episodes. So when I began the series, I understood that it may be tough water to wade through, and it totally was. The first three and a half episodes were almost painful to watch because of awkward mesh of Danny Rand(played pretty well by Finn Jones) coming back home without a super clear reasoning and then a weird, super-duper evilness character in Harold Meachum(played well by David Wenham), and then a power sibling team of Ward and Joy Meachum (played actually very well by Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup) that’s almost out to destroy the imposter who thinks he’s Danny Rand. It’s a lot. It’s…just awkward and boring.
But by the end of the fourth episode(a long time to give one show a chance), the ball finally felt like it was starting to roll. The Iron Fist was finally given some plot that had to do with his character, and it was very fun in spurts. It felt very much like when Daredevil went to supernatural territory, and it was awesome and fit right in with what I wanted to see from the series, but more on that later. The series beyond episode 6 felt ever changing, which was cool, because it almost seemed like what happened at Rand and what was happening with Iron Fist did bounce off each other quite nicely, because of their ties to the Hand. This gave the show an interesting feeling, because each show showed the chronically of each characters evolution. When a character was stagnate, they weren’t in that episode unnecessarily, like Harold Meachum and Joy. This kept the show in a focus as it jumped around with plot progression between characters, and it was pretty alright-ly executed.
I think a large problem the show was facing was controversy on casting a white guy as Danny Rand, who has (from what I’ve learned on the interwebs) always been white. That being said, going into it, I thought that was a dumb reason to be against the show, because they didn’t even know the character. And even watching the show I was like, “Yeah, him being white is actually important for his character.” But after reading an article posted by ScreenRant, they explain exactly why people are mad in the most logical way. I think they summarize the problem with Danny Rand’s creation in the fist place.
“Though there are plenty of other elements wrong with Iron Fist as a whole, whitewashing may not be the right word. If anything, the series suffers from the same white savior complex that is baked into Danny Rand’s origin story from the comics. While the trope may have been readily accepted (though already pretty overused) when Iron Fist was created in the 1970s, it feels retrograde and awkward in a show made more than four decades later.”
And now I’m sort of in the middle. Yeah, I can understand the show staying true to the source material was a safe and good choice, but I also understand frustrations with this overdone of white men representing not their culture.
Overall though, I had a pretty good time with Iron Fist, and I’m ready for a second season to have learned from the first season. The Kung-Fu could have been improved, B plots could have had more intrigue, etc. If I had to rate it, it’ll be a solid 5.5/10, because it wasn’t bad, but I’m not gonna recommend this to everybody, and I would re-watch for fun.
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Have a good weekend!