Tuesday, April 4, 2017

So, about Iron Fist

Two weeks ago I wrote up my initial thoughts on Iron Fist after watching the first six episodes.  My plan was to finish the series in a couple of days and write up the rest of my thoughts.  I finished the series a day or two later, but then things came up and I kind of forgot about Iron Fist.  And now, two weeks later, I only have a few dim memories of the show.  A lot has been written about problems with the series, but I’ll just point out two of my biggest issues, both of which deal with the writing of the show. 

Obligatory mention that there will be some spoilers below.

First off, I know that Claire and Matt had a disagreement when the Hand attacked the hospital in the second season of Daredevil, but is she holding a grudge or something?  I lost count of how many times I almost yelled at the screen for Claire to call Matt because someone else with talents would have been a help. 

What makes it worse is that this first season of Iron Fist kind of damages The Defenders.  I’m looking forward to the show because I love Daredevil and Jessica Jones and am curious how those two will interact.  But I’m going to be bugged because – I’m assuming that as the common thread to all the shows Claire will be the one to bring them all together – I’ll be yelling at the screen “Why didn’t you do this six months ago when you went to China?  You know, when you could really have used the extra muscle.” As it turned out, Claire, Danny and Colleen did just fine, but they didn’t know that going in.

But the bigger, second issue, is Danny.  In my initial thoughts post I wrote that “an easy way to really screw things up is to not give an insight to the motivations of the main character.” And after thirteen episodes, I really have no idea about Danny’s motivation.  Why did he leave K’un Lun?  He got bored?

To be fair, there’s a little more to it.  He lost his parents and ended up in a weird world.  He felt empty and thought being the Iron Fist would solve all of that.  But after achieving that and realizing that he’d just stand at a little mountain path for the rest of his life, he realized he was still empty and left to find something more.  There’s something there, but I think that all came out from three or four conversations and while I think a lot of people can relate to it, it’s in a rather vague way. 

Compare that to Matt’s motivation.  In the episode where Foggy finds him all cut up and Matt tries to explain everything to him he tells the story of hearing a guy down the block molesting his daughter.  Matt called child services, but the mother denied everything.  Matt says that the system failed the girl, so he beat the crap out of the father one night.  And Matt adds that he slept peacefully that night.  Now I hope nobody has any experience with someone molesting a child, but we can relate to Matt’s motivation in a far more visceral way.  With everything we had seen Matt do up to that point, and that one minute conversation, we completely understood his motivation.  You can’t say that about Danny.

So what are my final thoughts on the first season of Iron Fist?  In the weeks before Iron Fist came out, I rewatched both seasons of Daredevil as well as Jessica Jones because I enjoy those shows.  As to Luke Cage and Iron Fist, someday, maybe before Daredevil Season Five, I’ll do a complete rewatch of all the shows.  That will likely be the only time I rewatch the first seasons of Luke Cage and Iron Fist.  I’ll watch their second seasons, which I hope will be better, but the only reason I see to rewatch their first seasons is to be a completist in the Marvel Netflix SubUniverse.

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