Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Superhero Media: Iron Fist

So the Netflix Iron Fist is generally regarded (on the internet) as the absolute worst thing to be associated with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Due to having to watch all of the Nextflix Marvel programmes with first my girlfriend, then my mother, I get to see all of them twice before I put them up as "Superhero Media" articles. I feel this gives me a bit of time and perspective to really get to the grips of the intended themes, characters and mood of the works that I watch. So my analysis of Iron Fist? It's pretty good. Not as good as Daredevil or Jessica Jones, but well worth a watch and better than most of Arrow. After supposedly dying in a plane crash fifteen years ago, Danny Rand returns to New York City to seek out his old family friends, the Meachums. To his shock, Danny is not welcomed with open arms, the world having long ago adapted to his absence and moved on. 

Danny has changed also, becoming the Immortal Iron Fist, defender of Kun-Lung and destroyer of the Hand, able to channel his chi into his fist to form a devastating weapon. When Danny, along with new friends Coleen Wing and Claire Temple, discovers that his father's company has been infiltrated by the Hand, his quest begins to discover what kind of Iron Fist he will be. The major focus on the Hand, which is clearly building up for The Defenders, is probably the big misstep that Iron Fist makes; it really feels like we're just waiting on the rest of the team to show up most of the time. I think that, also, the business intrigue is a little overplayed and detracts from the martial arts action, but I warmed up to it the second time due to just how good David Wenham's performance is as Harold Meachum, he really carries the programme at some points. The return of Madame Gau is welcome and whilst the martial arts sequences are too few, the ones that are there are really good. 

If you're having trouble getting into Iron Fist, start with "Immortal Emerges from Cave" (Episode 6), it's directed by the RZA, features a martial arts tournament with interesting opponents and is probably the high point of the series. Episode 8 features another good fight and I have to say that Coleen Wing is probably the strongest supporting character in the Marvel Netflix canon outside of Claire, who is brilliant as always. Iron Fist is probably the weakest of the "pre-Defenders" programmes, but there's still a lot to enjoy if you're willing to give it a go. Yes, it does read as a lead-in to The Defenders more so than a stand-alone programme, but that really hurts it less than most critics seem to think.

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