I’m going to start off by listing a few fundamental truths. These truths should be understood but in the digital age, this isn’t always the case. We constantly consume content and sometimes that content, knowingly or unknowingly, sways our opinion. If you know me, you know I usually don’t subscribe to group-think, but allow me to clear the air anyway.
- I know very little about Iron Fist. Only the bare minimum. So the disdain I have for this show isn’t because of “whitewashing”. Danny Rand is the only Iron Fist I have known. So I don’t dislike this show because of a white lead actor. Keep this one in mind. We’ll revisit it later.
- Because I know little of Iron Fist, I don’t have much source material to compare it to. I went into this show with a blank slate. I’m not sure if they’re hitting the right notes because I don’t know the notes.
- Because I don’t know the notes, I’m only judging this show on how it works as a TV show. Basically, I asked myself one fundamental question: Is this a good show?
- I’m not comparing it to previous Marvel Netflix shows because they’ve all been different and none of them are perfect. I have my fair share of criticism for all of them.
- Daredevil is repetitive and drags on at times.
- Jessica Jones suffered from weak dialog and made a fatal flaw by revealing Kilgrave too soon. The show lost purpose.
- Luke Cage was burdened by the obligation to be a “black show”. It boasted outdated rhetoric and was flat-out corny at times. And no, not the good, 70s blaxploitation corniness like the Power Man comics.
- I really want to reiterate that I avoided all (in-depth) reviews until I gave the show a shot myself.
Now that I’ve stated my fundamental truths, it’s important to mention that this show isn’t as bad as critics say. But it’s still pretty bad. The bar was set really low with this show. So low that everyone involved trips over it.
It doesn’t matter if Finn Jones, Lewis Tan, John Stamos, Donnie Yen or Jesus himself was cast as Iron Fist, this show was bound to fail from the jump. Simply put: it’s a poorly made show. Someone at Marvel Television looked at their calendar and said “Oh shit, we still gotta do that Iron Fist show. Have something done by Wednesday”. The dialog is bad, the acting is just as bad at times, and the show doesn’t know what it wants to be besides a prologue to The Defenders. If you’re going to have an action show about a martial arts master, your fluff between fights scenes better be pretty damn fluffy. And it’s not. Speaking of fight scenes, it’s obvious that this is Marvel’s first miscast. TV or movies. Danny Rand can be white, black, orange or blue, but the actor chosen should at least have an inkling of martial arts training. Let me break fundamental truth #3 here, Charlie Cox went under extensive training for Daredevil but obviously, he didn’t do most of the tough fight scenes in the suit. It was incredibly easy to hide because his double could just tag in and put the suit on. During Rand’s fight scenes, there’s no camera magic applied that could possibly save the scenes. It’s painfully obvious during the scene where Rand is showing his “skills” to Colleen Wing. She has to slow down so he could keep up. Watching this show, you’d think Colleen Wing, or anybody for that matter, could whoop Rand’s ass.
Which brings me to the biggest flaw of this show: Finn Jones? Yes, I said the show was doomed from the jump because of bad writing. Yes, I said that “whitewashing” isn’t the reason I don’t like this show. That doesn’t mean Finn Jones was the right guy for this part, though. Basically, he is very boring as a leading man. He sticks out like a sore thumb during fight scenes, and during the “fluff” moments of the show, it’s apparent that he’s not a very good actor. No matter what scene, he always gets outshined by the actor opposite of him. I just don’t buy him as this character. And that’s very hard to get over, considering he’s the star.
But If you thought I was going to use this post to do nothing but bash this show, you’re in for a surprise. Let’s talk about the (few) things I did like
Ward Meachum looks like evil Justin Long. So I laugh whenever he’s on the screen.
Danny’s grey suit and white sneakers. This look is definitely the move for the summer
Faramir is absolutely frightening. I still don’t know what his motivation or purpose is, but he still the screen when he’s on. This was a great casting.
ANOTHER great casting Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing. To me, this show is her show. The show instantly becomes more interesting when she’s on-screen. She’s so good, in fact, that I feel embarrassed for her when she has to share the screen with Finn Jones. She’s SO good, that dammit, she needs her own show.
In short, Iron Fist is still pretty damn bad, but not as bad as early reviews say. It has redeeming moments but there’s still not a big enough payoff to justify it. Marvel has a bigger problem on their hands, which is the casting of Finn Jones. Iron Fist and Luke Cage’s partnership will mean a lot to the on-screen Defenders and frankly, I don’t see Colter and Jones having much chemistry. Charlie Cox and Krysten Ritter may have to carry the weight on this front.
To revisit the question I asked myself, is this a good show? No. The answer is no.