I finished Iron Fist the other day and wanted to digest the show before writing about it. Now that I have had time to think on it, I can say that I definitely liked it…but of the Marvel Netflix shows, it was definitely the weakest. To be honest, if this one had come out after the first season of Daredevil, it would have made more sense. Allow me to explain what I mean (as well as other likes/dislikes) in bullet-point.
-The first season of Daredevil was just straight up Matt fighting people. He beat the crap out of tons of Russians. And then he fights Kingpin. We see The Hand (remember DD’s fight with Nobu?) and we know that there is something big going on with them. Imagine if Iron Fist would have picked up from there, where we learn that these guys are much deadlier than we thought and there is a supernatural element to them. Then in season two of DD, we would know The Hand is serious business. Nobu showing back up after being lit on fire would not be that insane (also we would know that any Hand leader could return) and it would give us the idea that The Hand is not to be trifled with and that maybe these little battles are part of something much larger (The Defenders).
-I enjoyed the fight scenes, but after what we saw in the two seasons of DD (as well as in Luke Cage), these were somewhat of a letdown. I loved the episode directed by the RZA. You can clearly see his love for martial arts films, but it would have been better if Danny had fought more people during his trial.
-I loved the Colleen Wing story and her big reveal of being a member of The Hand. I was also happy that the show just went right with the relationship with the two (I mean, the flirting between them the first few episodes was actually cute), instead of having Danny be in love with Joy or maybe have a thing with Claire. Nope, he and Colleen just click right from the start.
-The Harold Meachum plotline, while good, did not really fit (or could have been saved for a second season). I think the season should have ended with Danny bringing Colleen over to his side and fighting Bakuto. It would have made sense to end the season with them defeating Bakuto and then heading to K’un-Lun, only to find that it was gone (like how the season ended). It should have been strongly hinted over the course of the season that Meachum killed Danny’s parents. Hell, really foster that relationship between Danny & Harold. That way when we (and Danny) finally learn the truth in season two, it is a huge revelation. Also, they could have shown Harold training more (especially now that he knows he can only be killed by beheading) and learning that pain is nothing to him, since he will just come back healed.
-I seriously thought we would have a Dr. Strange cameo. Okay, not Benedict Cumberbatch, but his trusty sidekick, Wong. Here is how I thought it would go down: when Danny is trapped in the mental institution, I thought he would meditate and communicate via the Astral Plane with one of his masters in K’un-Lun, saying that his power would not work because of the medicine and they would tell him to be patient or something. Then we would see Wong show up and tell Dr. Edmonds that he works for renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Strange and that Mr. Rand is a patient of his and is to be transferred immediately. When they leave, Danny would be confused and Wong would explain that Strange is stuck somewhere (helping Thor probably), but that Danny’s master asked for his help. Wong would then make a comment about owing the doctor a favor at some point (maybe Iron Fist shows up in the next Doctor Strange film). I know, I badly want one of these shows to have a movie connection. But c’mon, it totally makes sense that two mystical superheroes would have a connection!
-I thought Finn Jones was fantastic as Danny Rand. I know people are upset that Marvel missed an opportunity to make Iron Fist an Asian-American hero, but it was a losing battle for them. If they do that, then they piss off the comic fans who insist on made-up stories about superheroes sticking to their source material. Danny Rand is a white guy in the comics. So they cast a white guy to play him. I get the whitewashing argument and all of the stuff that goes along with stepping into this debate, but I do not feel like this is where the line needed to be drawn in the sand (it seems that the decision to cast a white guy is where some of animosity at the show comes from). Anyways, I thought Jones was able to pull off the Buddhist monk, billionaire thing quite well. Plus, when he was fighting, he definitely had a fluidity that made me think of someone trained in martial arts (I loved his opening fight with the security guards, it was like a dance for him).
So there you have it, if I were ranking the Netflix shows, it would go Daredevil (both seasons), Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist. The big question is how do they combine these four into The Defenders and make it not seem like Avengers Lite? While it would be cool to see Luke and Danny square off in a fight, or Danny and Matt try to out martial arts each other, I hope the show goes a different route. Instead of making them enemies at first who cannot work together, show them working as a team right away. Explore the bonds they all have with each other. That is my hope…only a few more months until we find out.