Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Tom Pelphrey, Jessica Stroup
March 17, 2017
Summary for Moms:
Presumed dead after a plane crash in the Himalayas, Danny Rand (Finn Jones) returns to New York City 15 years later. No one believes his claims, least of all the children of his father’s now dead business partner Harold Meachum (David Wenham). They especially can’t believe his assertion that after the crash he was taken to the mystical city of K’un L’un and trained in martial arts, eventually gaining the powers of the Immortal Iron Fist. Tossed back onto the streets where he now lives, he befriends Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), a local martial arts instructor. Things get complicated when The Hand, the sworn enemies of K’un L’un, re-appear and stick their fingers into Rand Enterprises. Furthermore, there is more to Colleen Wing than meets the eye. And it seems that, like Danny, Harold Meachum is not as dead as everyone believes…
Okay, let’s get this out of the way right now. Iron Fist is not a good show. There are a whole heck of a lot of things wrong with it. The plot is jumbled with no real aim except “fight The Hand”, and the various ways the main characters go about achieving that objective are irritatingly confusing.
Finn Jones’ Danny Rand is inherently bland (More like “Danny Bland”. Haha. Nice.) and his character arc doesn’t seem to know where it wants to go and raises an infinite amount of questions. Does he want to get Rand Enterprises back? Does he not want it back and is he content living a life of monastic sparsity? Why did he come back to New York? Is he good at being the Iron Fist? Is he bad at being Iron Fist? Why did he try to become the Iron Fist at all? Why would anyone make this guy an Iron Fist? And so on in that fashion until you give up on his character altogether. Halfway through the show, I realized that Ward and Joy Meachum (Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup, respectively) were more compelling characters than our lead, which is a problem.
Fine. The story’s not great and neither is the character. But after the amazing action sequences we’ve seen in Daredevil surely they would pull out all the stops for a character whose entire raison d’etre is martial arts. But no. Not at all. Iron Fist‘s fight sequences are just as bland and lifeless as Finn Jones’ performance, the sole exception being the fight against Lewis Tan’s drunken fighter in episode 8, and that was all on Tan. Sadly, Tan was up for the role of Danny Rand, but lost out to Finn Jones for some reason.
Yes, there are so many – so many – problems with Iron Fist. But ultimately… it doesn’t matter. Not on this blog. Because my mom was totally on board for all of it, and I’m not entirely sure why. This was her first taste of the MCU and she completely lapped it up. I suppose Iron Fist‘s relative blandness made it the absolute perfect entry point into the Marvel Universe. Since it’s focus was less on Danny’s powers and more about the boring day-to-day power struggle at Rand Enterprises, she was less put off by the existence of superheroes and magic kung-fu powers. There were no disgusting monsters or scary aliens. There certainly was no dragon. 67% of Iron Fist is people and their dramatic office politics. One just happened to have a glowing hand and the bad guy happened to come back from the dead in a not completely over the top way.
That slow, boring burn allowed her to ease into the later episodes where the ninjas come in and it becomes apparent that Harold Meachum can’t die. At this point, she was fully invested and was completely into Madame Gao and The Hand, even though she had seen none of Daredevil. She also thought Harold Meachum was “very evil”, which is high praise for a villain. The only thing she wasn’t happy about was when Ward Meachum started taking heroin, because “people shouldn’t do drugs”, but she got over that pretty quickly and stuck right with it until the end.
The scariest thing is that, despite all of Iron Fist‘s clearly apparent flaws, I actually… think it’s alright. While it’s not as brilliant as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Iron Fist doesn’t suffer from the rapid cliff dive in quality that plagues Luke Cage’s second half. Instead, it opts for a consistent, unwavering level of mediocrity that carries through to the end with no undue surprises or any attempt at innovation. And there’s something to be said for consistency. Maybe, though, the only reason I’m able to overlook Iron Fist‘s shortcomings is because I watched it with my mom, who never used to be interested in these things.
So, Iron Fist, thank you. Thank you for being the most bland, milquetoast gateway drug you could be. Because without you, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.
Mom Rating (Out of Five):
- I accidentally started the episode where Harold Meachum emerges from the swamp after Ward kills him and she walked in just as he was getting up and yelled at me because I spoiled it for her. This was only 45 seconds into the beginning of the episode. Sorry, mom.
- She was also shocked that Colleen was part of The Hand. So at least I didn’t spoil that for her.
- After she saw Ward doing the heroin, she reminded me that drugs were bad and that I shouldn’t do drugs.