When Netflix start working in the Marvel Universe, the plan for how they would be attacking certain characters, and it just so happens characters resided in New York. I have never been a fan of Daredevil, in fact, the only run of his, which grabbed by attention is the Matt Fraction run and at certain parts, Kevin Smith’s run as well. I only just knew of Jessica Jones, and how it was pretty much the first comic book series to target adults. Luke Cage and Iron Fist, on the other hand, these guys I grew up on.
I remember picking up Heroes for Hire, and being swept up in their adventures, in fact it was my Dad’s Power Man and Iron Fist #54, that brought me into their world. So, when I found out that they were bringing those guys on in their own shows, I was geeking out. The show, Luke Cage, was more than the typical Marvel show, it elevated itself amongst its predecessors, as it had excellent storytelling and in many ways, not modernized the character for today’s age, but also breathed in fresh life, as it has spawned the new David Walker written series. So, when I found out that they were bringing Iron Fist, to Netflix, I thought like many nerds of color, that they would take this opportunity to re-write the “yellow peril” narrative that has plagued the western world, since World War II.
Marvel Studios had no problem casting Idris Elba as Heimdall and Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, which are major victories in diversity. Again, I was a fan growing up reading these books, not possessing a full understanding of “cultural appropriation”, and how characters like David Carradine’s Kwai Change Caine were offensive, and which I later found out was Bruce Lee’s original idea. This is what I found wrong with, them keeping in step with the canon. In many ways, and not also as well, it is the same arguments as the Native Americans fight with the use of their likeness on sports mascots, as both have been wrong since their inception. A nice concession, would have been to have more than one Asian superhero (I know there is Colleen Wing in the show, who I will get to in a minute) like they could have included Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu (who has more than passing resemblance to Bruce Lee) who has been a problematic hero I, but one that would complement Danny Rand.
Then when I read the not so spectacular reviews of the show I could not help but wonder if their apparent neglect of the problems of how the story was borne out of whitewashing in a world where minorities such as myself demanded to be counted as we have been painted invisible for so many years, is the reason for its failure. So, when I sat down to watch it, I was pleasantly surprised to find an entertaining series.
I had my issues with it, but let me talk about first, what I found great about it. Miss Colleen Wing, one half of the Daughters of the Dagon, is introduced as a local owner of a dojo, who teaches street kids how to fight, Jessica Henwick’s portrayal was immense, as she says more with eyes than many actors do, as I have a been a fan of hers since Game of Thrones. Then there is Lewis Tan’s portrayal of Zhou Cheng, which is rich with hate and regret and it just so happens his style of Kung Fu was a nod to Jackie Chan’s masterpiece, Drunken Master. Then there is Sacha Dhawan’s portrayal of Davos which clearly shines through the episodes he is in, as his portrayal of Danny’s best friend/ eventual enemy, is as complex as one would encounter in real life.
Ok now on to the bad, and I will keep the worst for last, the biggest part of Iron Fist’s mythos, is Shou Lou The Undying, which was never alluded to, I was hoping that there would be some interactions like the BBC show, Merlin which had Merlin talking to a dragon.The fight scenes were subpar, considering the two seasons of Daredevil, had fight scenes which deployed many styles of martial arts., and you would figure that they would get better, especially since this centers around a martial arts expert, but there are nods to The Raid and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which are well intentioned, but are “meh”, in comparison. The next issue is the inclusion of Bride of Nine Spiders, who in the comics is a formidable foe, but in this TV show, she seems a bit neutered. As Jane Kim portrayals
The next issue is the inclusion of Bride of Nine Spiders, who in the comics is a formidable foe, but in this TV show, she seems a bit neutered. As Jane Kim portrayals was more than fine, but the lack of special effects, left much to be desired as one would have love to see a scene like this. The last and probably irredeemable part of the whole show is the casting of Finn jones as Danny Rand, As his portrayal of Danny
The last and probably irredeemable part of the whole show is the casting of Finn Jones as Danny Rand. His portrayal of Danny Rand, many times throughout the show, had me laughing as it comes off in a similar way as Taimak’s portrayal of Bruce Leroy in the Last Dragon.
Hopefully, this show gets tighter and smarter in a second season, as it has promise. But I do agree with most critics amongst the four Netflix Marvel shows, it is the worst. With that being said, it still is an entertaining show, with plenty of stories they can explore, as this character’s canon is wide-ranging, and most of his story centers on the fact he is an outsider, a fact that the showrunners should capitalize on, moving forward.