Superhero movies are packed with villains who are, for want of a better phrase, emotionally unstable. These depictions range from two-dimensional nonsense (the Red Skull) to legitimately compelling (Loki), but Fisk falls into an unusual class: realistically human. His emotional problems and social anxiety aren’t presented as madness or some bizarre quirk, but as everyday aspects of his personality.
Is Fisk a brutal, terrifying despot? Yes, but he’s also insecure and lonely and self-aware. One of my favourite aspects of Vincent D'Onofrio’s performance is the way he forces words out like he’s grinding them through his teeth, which usually gives the appearance of carefully controlled rage. In Vanessa’s presence it feels more like he’s making a physical effort just to talk to her, fighting his way through his own nerves. His interest is painfully obvious, but he’s also respectful of her boundaries and cautious the power he could potentially hold over her. An unusual dynamic for TV romance.
The assembling of the Defenders seems spot-on: Charlie Cox makes a fine Daredevil while Krysten Ritter and Mike Colter look perfect for their roles, but we’re still missing Iron Fist. Does Marvel have the balls to cast Danny Rand as Asian? Diversity is all for naught if yet another blue-eyed blonde takes the center stage. Some people might call foul and mention “Um, but Skye from Agents of SHIELD is a leading Asian.” Sure, but Chloe Bennet is not “visible.“ Furthermore, this whole “Caucasian guy goes to an Asian place to become better than Asians in whatever they do” trope is played out. Hollywood loves a goody two-shoes white savior, which is insulting because it implies others are unworthy to fulfill the hero role, that only white folks can show how it’s done. There are a multitude of ways to change Rand into an Asian
American while acknowledging source material and
bringing new dimensions to the character. To
elaborate, the early generation Asian American
struggle is such a gold mine for
enthralling storytelling. Not only would you be dealing with
heavy, relatable subjects, but also tapping into an entirely different
demographic. At the end of the day, it all comes down to money. Making this happen would be compelling and profitable. Imagine Rand having an identity crisis. Imagine that his parents work their asses off and attain the
American Dream, but, in their struggle, they neglect to
pass down their heritage. Imagine Rand wanting to be classified as “American” and not just
“Asian.” Imagine him rejecting martial arts because it’s stereotypical. Imagine Rand not knowing where he truly belongs
and travels to K’un L’un, hoping to figure himself out. Imagine him accepting who he is as he uses his abilities to become an iconic superhero. Imagine an Asian Iron Fist.
There was a man. He was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was set upon by men of ill intent.They stripped the traveler of his clothes, they beat him, and they left him bleeding in the dirt. And a priest happened by saw the traveler. But he moved to the other side of the road and continued on. And then a Levite, a religious functionary, he came to the place, saw the dying traveler. But he too moved to the other side of the road, passed him by. But then came a man from Samaria, a Samaritan, a good man. He saw the traveler bleeding in the road and he stopped to aid him without thinking of the circumstance or the difficulty it might bring him. The Samaritan tended to the traveler’s wounds, applying oil and wine. And he carried him to an inn, gave him all the money he had for the owner to take care of the traveler, as the Samaritan, he continued on his journey. He did this simply because the traveler was his neighbor. He loved his city and all the people in it.