Hi Katie!!! :) :) I hope you're doing great today!! Thank you for the traveling pics, I laughed so much with Flo about the donkey and the cheese!!! Looking forward to our next scene next thursday!!!!
Short Summary: It was pretty subpar and not as good as it could have been.
Long Summary: So this is interesting. First I am going to address the meta…because I have to.
I like Danny Rand. I like Danny Rand as a character. I like Danny Rand as a hero.It goes without saying, Iron Fist came around in the wrong time period and that hurt the perception of Iron Fist. One of the prevailing themes of Iron Fist aka Danny Rand is that he struggles with two different worlds: corporate New York and Shaolin Monastery. And for the character to work and that these themes to come across effectively, he has to be white. Now watching a white guy be hailed as the greatest kung fu master is like reading the top five rapper list with Eminem, Iggy Azalea and Macklemore ahead Biggie, Tupac, and Nas. It is fucking infuriating to see this character’s uniqueness relies on Eastern Mysticism and Martial Arts. What also hurt Danny Rand is that he is a rich white billionaire, a flavor that is long played out with the likes of Oliver Queen, Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, and the guy who is the ATOM. It also hurts that rich white billionaire men are like…not really in style as being touted as a good guy.
But as a fan of Iron Fist and many Street level heroes, Danny Rand is like my own personal guilty pleasure because it reads like an Urban Fantasy Kung Fu story. Iron Fist was essentially born out the era where kung fu movies and blaxploitation films were huge, an era I like to call the diamond age because “gold” does not quite describe it. Kung fu was so huge that there were movies about Kung Fu sex. Could you picture that? IT’S INSPIRING!
However, I know it frustrating to witness this blonde haired blue eyed white guy spout Eastern philosophical sayings while being patronizing about his kung fu, as I imagine an Asian person would be.It also hurts that the narrative of Iron Fist makes him more right because…after all, he was raised in a monastery since he was a child. Although the series does it best to ensure that he is not Mighty Whitey(Danny Rand is constantly criticized as being the worst Iron Fist, his peer Davos says that “(Danny) stole the Iron Fist”, and generally his Eastern Asian philosophy puts people off), I am still in not in the “make Iron Fist Asian camp” because it does away other Asian characters who are still around and not being used…like Shang Chi. You know…the guy who also does Kung Fu, better than Danny, and is pretty much Marvel’s Bruce Lee. What I find odd about the Asian Representation Camp of Marvel is that I rarely see them bring up Shang-Chi when they reference Danny Rand in spite of Shang Chi being older than Danny Rand and, prior to the recent refocusing of Luke Cage, just as popular.
Danny Rand is white. It is part of his character. Making him Asian kind of ruins the point, and that kind of sucks. Sure, Iron Fist is a title, but for the time being, Danny Rand is the Iron Fist until he passes it to Pei. Does Iron Fist being white effect the quality of this series? Abso-fucking-lutely. It is fucking cringeworthy to see Finn Jones talk like an english dubbed kung fu action flick, but…it is not bad acting on his part because that is what Danny Rand talks like.
Also, they seem to be aware of this which is why Colleen Wing was the saving grace of this show. More on her later.
Okay I addressed the meta.
The plot structure and pacing
This show takes forever to get to the plot. The first four episodes of this series is very slow development as if it tries to expand what should have taken 2 episodes, tops, to do in four. I swear it is like they had Brian Michael Bendis write this. The first arc for this series is: is Danny Rand the real Danny Rand? which would be okay if we did not already know that he was indeed Danny Rand and the characters involved did not just drag it out. It took five episodes to finally reveal who exactly is the nemesis and what is going on. This was a choir to watch outside of Colleen Wing, who is by far a more interesting character than Danny Rand. After this slow start, the series picked up.
What hurt this series the most was this very slow introduction. It is any wonder where critics panned the series because things that weren’t explained in the first 6 episodes such as how the Iron Fist works and who exactly is the villain and what is what were not appropriately explained until much later.
You watch this show for Colleen Wing
Colleen Wing is the saving grace. Her action scenes have story and struggle to them, and while she is not the most athletic and fanciful, I like how the implemented Japanese culture and differentiated it from Danny’s Kung Fu. When Danny started using her Katana like a Wushu blade, Colleen called it out and said not to disgrace her Katana with that style and then proceeded to show her Japanese Kendo style. I came into this show hoping they did Colleen Wing justice and they did. She doesn’t have crazy spin attacks and seems to be the most grounded in style. She is Tatsu Yamsura done right.
Now Marvel, I want a Colleen Wing comic book yesterday.
And her being part of the Hand came out of left field. I know in the comics, it is mentioned that her mother was part of a Hand affiliated group called the Nail, a bunch of female assassins who raided the Japanese country and cityside. It is also worth pointing out that the arc that she worked with the Hand, functioned a lot like how Iron Fist presented the Hand(it was ran by Daredevil so… long story). I was legitimately surprised by that.
Inconsistencies in the plot
A lot of people have pointed this out, but Claire Temple being in the show hurts the logical story telling. For example, the majority of this show takes place in Manhattan, right? So while it makes sense that Claire would not call Luke Cage because he is in prison in Atlanta, and Jessica Jones, she has no experience in the Hand and quite frankly would not bother getting off her drunk ass to help out and travel from Queens, Matt Murdock is literally just South of her and Danny. I would not be surprised if this did not take place within his hearing range. He has the most motivation to fight the Hand and Claire knows him the most out of anyone. Just call him to help.
There is also weird things about Danny such as him being able to drive in spite of living in a monastery where the best way to travel was a donkey and a cart.
The choreography and the cinematic choreography was pretty poor
I am not a cinematographer. Nor am I an expert on choreography. But there are some questionable camera work being done in this series pertaining to the fight scenes. Let me give a great example of choreography and camera work.
This is the Raid 2. You see how close the camera is to the action? It is not up in there to the point that it is shakey cam, nor is to far away. You see everything even when the camera pans out considerable distance. Also like to point out how the 2 actors are always visible and you can make out the emotion and intensity on their faces. This scene told a story without you knowing exactly the context was.
Iron Fist is utterly devoid of any of this outside of Colleen Wing. For one, there are these camera angles that are so confounding to me. Like when Danny is fighting the Drunken Kung Fu guy, the camera some times pans out way too far to the point that they aren’t even the center or focus of the shot. And they kept doing this during Danny’s fights in general, only getting close to the action during the finisher and exchanges. There is also the issue of the choreography not measuring up to the content that the series should have catered to. Iron Fist should have been on par with Ip-Man or Kung-fu Assassins for choreographical inspiration. Instead, it’s this poor man’s Raid style that you see in Arrow. It works for Daredevil, but it falls apart for a series like Iron Fist.
Iron Fist is supposed to be this Kung Fu Urban Fantasy. And it’s a shame that Into The Badlands instantly recognized this and has no shame of producing this type of action while Iron Fist shies away from this.
It also hurts that Finn Jones does not seem to want to learn how to perform these maneuvers or at least become athletic enough to do them.
Final Score: Come on, Marvel.
I also like to point out that there are Asian characters who are not getting any shine like Silk. Like Jennifer Takeda. Like Shang-Chi. Instead of making a character who is the living embodiment of “Weeb” Asian, use characters whose entire existence centers around the Asian experience.
i am *so* grateful to this sweet creature for the times that he carries me in his back while we go for a lil walk in the mountains that we both so love & he munches all the green goodness he sees in the path hehehe even if sometimes a stubborn lil beast i love him with all my heart! thank you for the teachings of patience & standing my ground… donkey medicine ✨🌾🍃
Elon, North Carolina. The Bill Clinton and Al Gore Campaign Bus tour stops at Elon college in North Carolina and celebrates Hillary Clinton’s Birthday with ballons and flowers and she is presented by the traveling press with a paper mache donkey that traveled the rest of the campaign with the Clintons.