I'm a binge-watcher when the situation and time allow for it. I suppose this is why Netflix releasing seasonal content in one fell swoop is such a wonderful treat for people like me. The seventeenth of March brought the first season of Marvel's Iron Fist to Netflix in its entirety and with that falling on a Friday (as it appears that all seasonal programming on Netflix does), I knew what my weekend would amount to. I think I got the entire season under my belt within a couple days while still trying to log some hours in the Bolivian terrain of Ghost Recon: Wildlands. As an aside, that's a great third-person shooter style video game for anyone into that sort of thing. Back on track however, let's talk about the hits and misses of Marvel's fourth Netflix show and the last before a culmination of The Defenders (which I believe lands this autumn).
I guess I can lead with my best foot and suggest that I liked the show. It's probably my third favourite of the four Marvel shows on Netflix as I really had issues with Jessica Jones. In all fairness to the show though, I'll be watching it along with Luke Cage and two seasons of Daredevil as a lead-up to The Defenders. Iron Fist is another of Marvel's takes on mysticism and the "spiritual" side of their universe. The Marvel Cinematic Universe made its first foray into it with Doctor Strange earlier this year. The backstory of both characters is similar with a devastating accident leading to "spiritual" enlightenment through eastern teaching and philosophy.
Iron Fist sees a young Danny Rand survive a plane crash and be raised by monks in a mystical realm called K'un-L'un. The show actually starts with Danny coming back to society some fifteen years later, hoping to lay claim to the business of his father and bearing their surname. Throughout the show's thirteen episodes, Rand Industries seems to be a focal point. I guess folks need some sort of backstory since a quick Google search is out of the question. As such, there's a lot of setting up going on. Between the business arc, the K'un-L'un arc, and an arc with The Hand (a villainous group having its hand (pun intended) in Daredevil), the first season is filled with origin. I mean, I guess that's cool but I do have some serious problems with it.
Did anyone else find the writing particularly lazy? Did it feel like Marvel called it in? I was engaged the entire season not because of the actual show but the universe Marvel has created has interested me as long as I can remember. The show had a few highlights, but along with very poor writing and story arcs, I decided tonight that Danny Rand (as portrayed by some Game Of Thrones guy named Finn Jones) was unlikeable. His performance was stale and wooden, and I felt that for an Iron Fist, he sure got his ass handed to him a lot. As one of the world's greatest martial artists, it felt like there wasn't even a bit of this throughout the thirteen episodes. I don't understand why Marvel didn't cast a martial artist so that the amazement and wonder of the Iron Fist could really be shown. That would have made up for the shoddy writing and arcs, obviously. Hell, I watched three Ip Man movies in a row, so that's indicative of how unimportant writing is if the stunts are impressive. Despite almost everything about those movies being awful, the fight scenes more than make up for it.
So, we get thirteen episodes of lacklustre writing, mediocre performances, and generally lazy programming. The over-the-top cartoonish villain that comes back from the dead with added rage each time doing so was too much. The business-related squabbling got old quickly. The fight scenes were quick and negatively understated. All of that being said, I think I still enjoyed it more than Jessica Jones. I guess I'm a sucker for Marvel stuff. I've seen all the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases and I still watch Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. despite it being absolutely abhorrent. I'm a sucker and clearly Marvel and Netflix have done their job as I'm counting down the days until The Defenders get released. Maybe Iron Fist will be better in that and any subsequent seasons that might get made. On one hand, I'm so excited to see these characters finally make it to the screen, but a part of me that seems to be getting a bit louder with most every release Marvel puts out is screaming for them to not call it in. Come on, Marvel. You have a rich tapestry of stories and characters to draw from. Let's not get lazy and complacent because idiots like me are going to check out what you're putting out next regardless of the issues. Here's hoping we get back to Winter Soldier quality sooner than later. Ending on a few positive notes, the special effects involving the glowing Iron Fist were great. I was really excited to see how great that looked. Maybe The Defenders will up the ante and make all the characters likeable and deliver a great plot. I think the eight episode they're going with will make The Defenders a better show on pacing alone. Obviously looking forward to it!