Iron Fist Rates a Solid Meh.

I finished streaming Iron Fist last night. It didn’t outright suck, but of the four Netflix Marvel shows I put it fourth. In order of my personal enjoyment I rank them Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and then Iron Fist.

I don’t usually review Hollywood stuff, mostly because it isn’t a good idea to insult the work of people you are trying to sell things too. But what really started this blog post was I saw one of those Facebook posts where it was You Have Been Kidnapped, The Characters From The Last TV Show You Watched Must Save You… And mine was Iron Fist, so I realized I was pretty much doomed. (Mike Kupari got Brock Sampson, the lucky bastard).

So then my Writer Brain started picking apart why I didn’t enjoy it.  So I’m trying to put all of this in a story telling context.

There’s going to be spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers.

All of the other Netflix shows embraced their roots. Daredevil was a straight up super hero story. I liked Jessica Jones more once I realized it was actually a detective show with super powers in it, rather than a super hero show.  Problem there was JJ came 2nd after a really enjoyable super hero show, which gave me certain expectations.  Luke Cage went for the same vibe as the Blaxploitation movies of the 70s that inspired the comic and pulled it off.

You’d think Iron Fist would embrace the awesome mystical Kung Fu angle. The comic was the answer to cheesy mystical Kung Fu adventure movies of the same era they picked Luke Cage out of. Dude, it’s Powerman and Iron Fist.  Iron Fist got there eventually, but it felt like it did so only grudgingly.  The vibe felt off.

The first couple of episodes there was almost no mystical kung fu action. Yes, I know they were trying to build up to that, but it isn’t like people tuning into the 4th super hero show in a shared universe are going to be taken by surprise when there are super powers in it. Instead it was this slow thing about how these rude business people wouldn’t just accept the random shoeless hobo off the streets of NYC as the heir to their mega corporation. Go figure.

Next, the main characters need to be entertaining. These are shows literally named after the main character. That main character needs to carry the show.

Daredevil, solid job. Pros, the actor did a great job. You feel like you really get to know Matt Murdock. Cons, I don’t like the repetitive emo weepiness about maybe having to kill somebody every other episode.  (because really, you beat people unconscious by bashing them repeatedly with batons then hurling them down a flight of stairs yet no mooks ever die?).   But that emo attitude came from the original source material, so that’s more of a writing pet peeve of mine than something actually wrong with the show.

Luke Cage, the dude exhudes cool. He’s Luke Motherf’ing Cage, and he owns it.  They play him true to the character.

Jessica Jones… To be fair, they also stayed true to the character, only the character was an alcoholic with a laundry list of personal issues. Which is fine, but also cuts into my enjoyment for the same reason I can only give you the name of a couple of Stephen King protagonists.  But if you’re going for noir detective stuff, whatever, I get why they did it.

The important thing is the character makes sense, feels like an actual person, and their actions make sense as things that character would actually do in that context.

But Iron Fist, oh man. That dude was all over the board. I can’t blame the actor, this is the only thing I think I’ve ever seen him in, so I don’t know how good an actor he actually is. I don’t know how much of this character was on the actor not playing the character in a way that made sense, or if they just wrote the character in a way that didn’t make sense.

On one hand, they’ve got him doing this optimistic innocent thing to the point to stupidity. Only I AM THE IRON FIST he insists a couple times per episode, and then he’s struggling with boundless rage. He’s supposed to have won this super big deal title by doing some mystical thing with a dragon, which all of the other badass warrior monks couldn’t do, but then he’s getting suckered and duped like a naïve clown.

He’s simultaneously supposed to be super competent and a complete idiot. He’s supposed to be this wise Zen master, and then he’s having a teenage freak out. None of those are right or wrong, and you can have an awesome character be either, but pick a direction and run already. Yes, you can have a character be really good at one thing, yet flawed in another, but those things need to feel right. Hell, I wrote Ashok, who is the walking embodiment of clueless murder machine, but as long as actions make sense in context of who they are, you’re good.

Danny Rand, not so much. “I am this super naïve innocent hobo philosopher-BOUNDLESS RAGE-now I just want to be a normal boy—NO I AM THE IRON FIST BUT I DON’T WANT TO DO IRON FIST STUFF RIGHT NOW. Wait I am once again easily befuddled. BUT YOU WILL DIE FOR THE MURDER OF MY PARENTS. Only I don’t want to actually kill you but you will pay for your crimes. Only we can’t involve the police because that will just make it worse. And I say that even though I do not know how this ‘society’ of yours works because I was raised in a monastery-WHERE THEY BEAT ME WITH STICKS.”

At one point he fights a Drunken Master (yay!), only Danny loses his crap and nearly beats the guy to death, and then he’s all conflicted and weepy about it. Make up your mind already. THE HAND MUST DIE-Oh no I hurt a ninja and now I am sad!

Frank Castle would have just shot everybody to death and wrapped this story up in two episodes, tops.

I’m not saying you can’t have a character with mood swings, or they’re a hypocrite, or whatever, but you need skill to pull it off. This felt more like the actor wasn’t getting consistent direction. BE MORE CONFLICTED! YOU ARE NOT ACTING HARD ENOUGH!

I realize part of this is because of the nature of the story, they need the heroes to do stupid things to make the plot go on longer, so they don’t wrap it up in too few episodes (and all of the Marvel Netflix shows have suffered from this).  This is also why they introduce stupid subplots, but I’ll get to that.

Yes, a dude who has been raised by warrior monks in mystical kung fu land is going to be naïve in certain ways. But naiveté isn’t a switch you can just flip on and off when necessary to advance the plot. I HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO HATE AND DISTRUST THE HAND! Oh good, I was literally brought back from the dead by the Hand. THEN YOU ARE MY BEST FRIEND.

They weren’t just inconsistent on the character’s nature, they were inconsistent on his Kung Fu powers. On one hand, dude can fight twenty people at one time, no problem. But also gets his ass sucker punched and worked over by a corporate mercenary.  I HAVE LOST MY CHI-oh wait, it’s back-NOW IT IS GONE AGAIN.  Half way through the season his mystical mentor (a ghost? Astral projection? A figment of his memories? Beats me) shows up to walk him through one fight challenge, but then if he turned up again to help him through any other challenges, I must have gotten bored by then and been surfing my phone so I missed it.

So that’s our protagonist, what about our antagonist?  Having a strong bad guy is really important.

Daredevil, holy crap, Kingpin was amazing. The biggest flaw, if you can call it that, is that Vincent D’Onofrio stole the show. He was more interesting than Daredevil. Dude was menacing, smart, super deadly, but also flawed. Excellent bad guy.

Jessica Jones, same thing. Killgrave stole the show. He had one of the strongest powers in the Marvel universe, yet was the ickiest, skeeziest, slimiest bastard with it. Even people who didn’t like JJ all admit that Richard Hammond’s performance was—wait… I was just informed that was David Tennant. Never mind. But anyways, great bad guy.

This was the weakest part of Luke Cage. Cottonmouth was the cooler bad guy by far, but then they killed him off and brought in Diamondback, who wasn’t nearly as interesting (and the costume at the end was just goofy). And Shades should have been given some sort of power where he could actually fight Cage. That was a waste.

But Iron Fist? Ugh… I couldn’t tell you a thing about Bokudo. He shows up ¾ of the way through the series, does some stuff, and nobody cares. Madam Gao was cool, but underutilized, then captured in a stupid way and stuck in a box at the mercy of the boring Bokudo.

Speaking of the stupid capture… They flew to China. And then filmed everything in some abandoned warehouses that could have been anywhere. If you’re going to have a cool bit where you travel out of the country to a new and interesting location, actually use the location somehow. For as underutilized as the supposed Chinese setting was, they could have just as easily said Gao was at some abandoned warehouses in New Jersey. And then at least it would have made sense why Claire went with them.

But I haven’t even gotten to all the multitude of problems with side characters yet.

So you go to the Hands secret base in China, on their home turf… and there are just a couple of guards with swords. And a homeless bum outside who conveniently speaks English to give you handy plot advice? And you kidnap a Hand leader from their home turf, and at no point in time does the Hand intercept Danny Rand’s private jet which just happens to be sitting at a Chinese airport. I’m supposed to believe these magical ninjas have infiltrated every hospital and police department in New York City, but don’t have any friends in the Chinese government around their home base?

In Daredevil season 2, the Hand is mysterious, menacing, and straight up evil. They’re shadow ninjas who can move without sound and come back from the dead who are digging a tunnel to hell or something. In Iron Fist, they’re a youth outreach program and a summer camp.

I guess Harold was supposed to be the real big bad guy, but compared to unkillable shadow warriors, dispatched without issue in the 2nd to last episode, who cares. Yawn.  What’s Harold’s power? He’s mean and crazy? You kill him and he comes back from the dead later? In a fight against a dude who has a fist which explodes walls?  That end fight made no sense. Why is Danny having to struggle here. It’s anticlimactic.

If you’re going to use Harold as your finale, make it so when he comes back from the grave, he does so with eerie kung-fu mystical evil powers. Have Bokudo or Gao say something about this violation of evil chi being an abomination, which in super hero terms equals bad ass fight scene. What a waste.

Now, side characters. The weakest part of all the Marvel Netflix shows, because everybody hates Foggy.

I think the reason we get into these meandering subplots for side characters is that they’re trying to stretch the shows out a few more episodes. I would have liked JJ a whole lot more if they’d chopped it down to fit in fewer episodes, because there was a whole lot of nothing in the middle.  I don’t really care about blonde reporter lady’s career or relationship problems.

Iron Fist is the worst. It’s like they looked at how Foggy is the least popular character in the universe, said challenge accepted, and gave us Joy and Ward. I can see how those characters were necessary for this plot, but the show is called Iron Fist, not Ward’s Struggle With Drug Addiction. Danny Rand was inconsistently written, but the supporting cast’s motivations didn’t make a lick of sense.

Coleen Wing the Love Interest. So Danny the shoeless hobo runs into a woman putting up ads for her dojo in the park. They hook up (ladies love shoeless hobos). Okay, fine. But then there’s the subplot where she goes to underground fighting rings to beat the ever living shit out of men who look like Owen Z. Pitt, two at a time… And at that point I’m thinking to myself, either she has the power of Joss Whedon’s Waif-Fu writing upon her, or she’s got some sort of mystical fighting background too. Except wouldn’t that be strangely convenient in a city of 8 million people if the one other woman who’s got mystical kung fu powers just happened to bump into Danny.

And it turns out she’s Hand… Because what are the odds?  Come on, writers. At least throw us a bone about destiny or mystical kung-fu guiding their paths together, or something.  Coleen also carries a samurai sword into battle but doesn’t want to kill anybody… A friggin’ sword. Not exactly my first choice for a less lethal weapon.

Speaking of long odds, Coleen is also Claire’s kung-fu teacher.

Now, I like the character of Claire Temple (it helps that Rosario Dawson is hot). She’s the obvious set up for the Defenders, and how all these super powered people know each other.  Only the way Iron Fist used her was ass backwards as everything else they did.

In order to have Claire (previously established as a nurse who doesn’t want her super powered friends to kill people) inexplicably tag along on our upcoming kung-fustravaganza, Coleen says something about how she’s a surprisingly quick learner.  Which is why after a short amount of training, Claire is able to Tiger Claw fight against Hand Ninjas who’ve been training their entire lives in an organization where failure means getting brain stabbed.

And you guys thought I was joking when I wrote about Kung-Fu Panda Syndrome in Tom Stranger.

So Claire goes with them all the way to China to capture Madam Gao… At no point does she say, you know, since I watched a group of elite shadow warriors murder their way through an entire hospital and now we’re going to their home turf, I know a guy who is indestructible, a lady who can throw cars, and a blind Catholic ninja, maybe we should invite them. But we can’t have that, because the Defenders isn’t until next year, and this is Danny’s chance to shine (albeit poorly).

Claire’s arc in Iron Fist makes zero sense. Having her stich Danny up, offer some advice, and then get the hell out of the way makes more sense for what’s already been established about her character. Nope. Now everybody is kung-fu fighting.

And poor Davos. Now that dude should have been the Iron Fist. He knows it. Danny knows it. The audience knows it. Deep down the writers know it too (come to think of it, if that actor can do a variety of accents he might make a good Lorenzo though).

The final kung-fu showdown isn’t between Danny and bad guys, it is between him and Davos, and it is mostly Danny being petulant and threatening to explode his non-super powered best friend’s skull, because his friend had the audacity to tell him he should be doing the job he signed up to do, instead of screwing around in America.

Now for some other pet peeves, the Rand business subplots, where Danny is telling the board that they are going to sell drugs at cost because principle… Derp. Just derp.  And then this drug company never developed another drug ever again. The end.

Also, I’m a writer, not an actor or a fight choreographer, so I might be getting out of my lane here, but it seemed like the fight scenes in Daredevil were way better. Which is sad since this is supposed to be the martial arts show. I think Coleen actually got more fight scenes, which makes me suspect that actress is actually better at performing cool looking martial arts, while most of Danny’s flipping around action scenes were actually done by a stunt man with a dyed Bob Ross wig. But I have no actual idea if that’s true.

Overall, I was let down. I had high hopes for Iron Fist. He’s actually a pretty neat character in the comics. After the initial controversy when the SJWs were pitching a fit about cultural appropriation because they’d chosen a white actor to play a white character, I was hoping it would be excellent just to spite them.

I’ve heard that the Defenders is being directed/produced by the same guy who did Daredevil, which gives me hope. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But the most important thing is that they don’t screw up The Punisher.

The Bubba Shackleford story I wrote is online at Baen
The name of volume 1 of my short fiction compilation is Target Rich Environment

117 thoughts on “Iron Fist Rates a Solid Meh.”

  1. Marvel’s TV work often feels overly-cautious and hesitant to me. The complete opposite of their movies.

  2. I’m not even sure what counts for the last TV show I watched. I know I watched the first season of Iron Blooded Orphans last year, but other than that I’m drawing a blank. Do AMVs count? Last TV show whose fanfic I read? (I can answer that.)

  3. Oh totally, I was pissed off anytime Danny fought because the actor has super sloppy Karate. (Yes I do mean Karate, and not Kung Fu which pissed me off even more.) You can see it best when him and his monk buddy were fighting back to back and monk dude was like a coiled snake and Danny looked like he was unsuccessfully auditioning for Swan Lake. I love Iron Fist because he’s an unstoppable Kung Fu master, not a angsty Karate kid. Although I am happy that Danny was the first of the Defenders who didn’t date Night Nurse.

    1. If you are talking about the British drug Night Nurse, don’t knock that stuff. It is amazing. It is like super NyQuil on steroids! 😀

      1. Rosario Dawson’s character is based on the Night Nurse; a D to E-list supporting character in the comics. Basically, she provides medical coverage for those NY supers not fortunate enough to be in the Avengers of the FF.

    2. Captain America kicked Iron Fist’s ass. Money quote: “His technique is basic, but JESUS!” OK, sorta paraphrased the quote.

    3. I’ve seen all of maybe two minutes of the fight scenes and yes Danny looks sloppy and slow. I don’t think he could pull off a decent kung-fu technique at all even Runme Shaw would have given up , dyed the stunt guy’s hair and promoted him on the spot.

  4. “You Have Been Kidnapped, The Characters From The Last TV Show You Watched Must Save You… ”

    Doctor Who. So it’ll be strange, but I might get saved. Not guaranteed, though.

    1. I haven’t been watching much TV, so for me, it’s Fairy Tail. It’s going to get weird, and I’m *definitely* going to be saved…but I’m not so sure about the town itself.

      Or maybe it will be Conan Odagawa from “Case Closed”…in which case, yeah, I’m saved, so long as it’s one of those “kidnapped” episodes and not one of the “murder” episodes or, if it’s a mix, so long as I’m not one of the murder victims…I think I’m *mostly* safe, because I don’t recall doing anything for which I deserve to be murdered. (That’s one of the tropes that drives me nuts about murder mysteries: when the murder is solved, and you’re left thinking “yeah, it’s nice that things are solved…but the murder victim certainly *deserved* it!” I understand why it’s a necessary trope, but it’s still kindof obnoxious…)

    2. I haven’t watched TV shows in a long time so I’m either doomed or I can pull in characters from video games or movies?

      If movies, it’d be the Guardians of the Galaxy so I might make it or I might be doomed depending on how funny it would look. (Lucky me: The movie before that was Rogue One. I’d definitely be doomed.)

      If video games, I got about halfway through the Corellia questline on my Jedi Sage last night. I’d be alright.

      1. I forgot they have Wil Willis an actual PJ. They’re whole job is rescuing downed pilots so I’m fine. Unless they need to carry me.

  5. I’ve been debating watching it since I too thought Iron Fist was an interesting comic character and I absolutely loved DD ( give us season 3 already! ). I’ve seen other IF reviews that were non-committal so I still had hope, but this makes me think I’ll skip it.

    And I’m with you in that I hope they don’t screw up The Punisher. That scene with him and DD in the graveyard was incredible

    1. Yeah, that scene was excellent.

      The whole Punisher arc on season 2 of DD was excellent. Frank was just a no BS killing machine. I loved at the end when you think there’s going to be some big talk between him and his old commander, but nope, screw that. Bang. Move on.

  6. I know the actor for Danny Rand said something about getting taught the choreography for most of the fights only about 30 minutes before each fight was filmed, and if true that would explain why so many of the fights were so terrible.

    I also think a lot of the story, acting, and consistency issues were caused by the fact that every episode after the first two had a different director. It’s ridiculous that they thought it would be a good idea to have 12 different directors for a 13 episode series.

    1. I heard this too, I just feel sorry for the actor, he could’ve done way better with better material and direction.

    1. Honestly, I want a real noir Marvel product – Black Widow starring in an old school spy flick.

      1. I hear Russians are bad this week, so may be a super secret KGB offshoot could make for bad guys.

      2. Only if Stephanie Corneliussen plays the widow, and not that idiot currently ruining the character.

  7. I honestly couldn’t get through the first “fight” scene in the first episode, it was just … boring… and I love martial arts films/shows, even hokey ones.

    Glad I didn’t bother finishing the episode, much of your critique would annoy the heck out of me.

    And I agree, they better not mess up The Punisher.

  8. I’ll take your word for it about the writing issues, but for everything else, you hit the nail on the head. The heavies in IF were bush league…seriously? A corporate slime ball and The Hand’s summer interns? You give us the malignant evil of Kingpin, Purple Man, and The Hand, and we’re supposed to be satisfied with these jokes?!?! And the fight scenes? After two awesome seasons of down-and-dirty ninja battles in DD (that were also clear and well coreographed), I was expecting Kill Bill or Crouching Tiger…not Austin Powers “judo CHOP!” So disappointing.

    1. I get Sterling Archer, Lana Kane, and the rest of the ISIS crew. Chance of rescue? Between maimed and dead.

    2. Alton Brown? You’re probably better off than with Larry’s rescuers. The man knows a thing or two about guns and is a self-described knife whore.

    3. I’ve got Mike and the Bots from the Satellite of Love.
      I’m doomed, and the world is doomed.

      1. Keep in mind, Michael J. Nelson has “accidentally” destroyed the Earth, several alien worlds, and at least fifteen alternate timelines. It’s WORSE than doomed. o_o

    4. Being rescued by Alton Brown sounds awesome! I’ll get Mr. Wednesday and Shadow Moon – I could be saved, but I doubt I’ll retain the contents of my wallet.

  9. “But the most important thing is that they don’t screw up The Punisher.” Yes. Yes. Yes.

  10. ““But the most important thing is that they don’t screw up The Punisher.”

    As much as I would love Punisher done right you know he won’t kill a single minority, the villain will be an evil corporation, and 90% of the show will be him struggling with emotions instead of killing criminals. At this point I just want a show about Kingpin. Any non-PC thing he does can be chalked up to him being a bad guy. “He ate veal?!?” “It’s okay he’s a villain.”

    1. He’s already killed bad guys of multiple ethnicities – the cartel that he wiped out in the beginning of Season 2, for example, and I think some of the prisoners later in the season as well. Frank’s been established as an equal opportunity killing machine. That doesn’t mean that the producers can’t change their tune and go full PC, though.

      1. As for the main villains, we don’t have anything to go on beyond namedrops of a few of Frank’s comic book enemies.

  11. If you want a proper, Mystic Powers Of Kung-Fu Asskicking story, go get the Ed Brubaker/Matt Fraction/David Aja run of Immortal Iron Fist. (You’re welcome.)

    Hell, just get Brubaker, give him the basic plot you want, and let him off the leash – the webseries Angel of Death (with Zoe Bell and Lucy Lawless) is a wonderful thing.

    pyredynasty – I’m pretty sure Jones managed to avoid the Night Nurse’s seductive guiles first. :V

  12. Musty agree with your general assessment of “meh”. It was underwhelming, and there was a great deal of :Character makes stupid choice nobody would ever make: in the plot. It makes me wonder who these TV writers hang out with, they must know some very messed up people.

    But, and here’s where it gets interesting, I did manage to watch it all the way through without cringing too bad. Compare and contrast with The Flash, or any other DC television show. Supergirl, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, they’re AWFUL. Just unwatchable dreck.

    So, -somebody- in the Marvel world still remembers how to tell a story.

  13. Hey Larry, big fan!! The guy who played Danny Rand was Finn Jones, he was Loras in Ga me of Thrones amd the girl who played Colleen Wing was one of the Sand Serpents in Game of Thrones.

    1. I’ve only seen like a grand total of 3 episodes of that show, and that was years ago. All I remember was Peter Dingklage being awesome.

      1. I’ve never seen an actor play a character as accurately as Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion. It was almost surreal.

        But I think that Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) does a good job as well. They toned down her character a bit from the books, but still, the core personality is there.

        BTW, there’s a great scene in Season 1 between her an Sean Bean (Ned Stark), where he is watching her train with her her “dancing master” (i.e., sword instructor). The daughter blunders about in a really cute way, but she’s joyous and defiant, as well, and you can see the loving smile on her father’s face. But as the camera slowly pans away from her and onto him, you can hear the sounds slowly changing; now, instead of hearing his daughter getting hit with a wooden practice sword, he hears the sounds of battle and the screams of the dying men… and his smile slips, turning into grim resolve. It was a really effective emotional scene that relied entirely on good acting, good editing, and good sound design — something that is very rare in movies nowadays.

  14. Probably the best depiction of Danny Rand, sadly, has been in the animated Spiderman shows on Disney over the last 5 or so years (probably the best character portrayal in the entire series). Of course, they write that group of junior heroes being tutored by shield (many of which were Defenders in their original form) out in favor of a “family” of spider-based characters.

    1. The much-missed AVENGERS: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series (so much better than “Avengers Assemble”) had an episode where Luke and Danny are hired by Ant-Man. It was great. Seemed like the pilot episode of a Heroes For Hire series. (wistful sigh)

  15. You know, I normally disagree with LC on everything, but this time I’m in total agreement. That show sucked.

    In addition to all the blunders that were mentioned already, here’s one more thing that annoyed me: what does the Rand corporation actually do ?

    By way of example, look at Wayne Enterprises. It’s all over Gotham. There are buildings with their logo on them; people are using Wayne phones and driving Wayne cars; their fundraiser parties are the stuff of legend and gossip, and their cutting-edge research is the envy of their competitors. Responsibility weighs down heavily on them, and their architecture and attire reflect this.

    Stark Industries is like Wayne meets Google. Cool place to work, MIT scholarships, sleek tech and smart software, gleaming glass and chrome; everyone wants the latest Stark phone or computer, but few can afford one. And, of course, Stark weapons are the most high-tech, reliable, and destructive things on the market (or they were until Tony Stark shut down that division).

    What does the Rand corporation do ? What impact has it made on society, or even on its home city ? Well, I guess it manufactures drugs and buys random warehouses or something ? No one seems to know or care; it’s just a generic faceless corporate facade made of lazy writing. Like the rest of Iron Fist (and in fact the titular protagonist) it has no personality whatsoever.

    1. Perhaps Rand owns other companies? The loss of the Rands could have seen Rand decline after a series of failed restructurings, only to finally collapse after the brainless heir reappears. It’s not like comic book corporate world building always involves a lot of research into real world corporate history and finances.

  16. Agreed on all points.

    Schizo-Danny the ultimate in martial arts mastery to the point of channeling all of his chi into his hand, lacks mastery of his own temper. Yeah, right.

    I had high hopes even as the first episodes dragged. I thought the nuthouse arc was pretty clever for where do we stash this person where no one will ask questions? But that feeling was ruined when he blew up at the psychiatrist and ended up drugged and straight jacketed. Best fight scene so far, think I’m 6 or 7 episodes in, was the hallway, the rest reminds me of Daredevil with Ben Affleck, the most uncomfortable looking superhero in an action movie.

    I recall reading somewhere that Daredevil the series did choreography for months before they started shooting season 1 and more between seasons and I seem to recall that they didn’t have kind of prep time for Iron Fist because of The Defenders schedule, more’s the pity. I’m giving Jessica Jones a try and like what I’ve seen so far. Luke Cage had me interested until they brought out the cliched “I can’t stop the bleeding they must have hit an artery” so you really should have bled out about two minutes ago. Oh, and couldn’t agree more on the emo-whinging-woe-is-me I had to kill a bad guy that was trying to kill me or thousands of innocents.

    Daredevil is the gem, better writing, better supporting characters, better acting, better bad guys, D’onofrio steals every scene he is in, and better fight choreography (see above, IF may improve if they use the off season to train). Oh, and best portrayal of Frank Castle yet.

  17. The fights were crap because they gave the actors fifteen minutes of training before filming them. I no longer have the link to the interview where one of them said this but might be able to find it later.

    1. No Kung-Fu prep before a show about Kung-Fu is the 5 Finger Death Touch for any show supposed to feature the exploits of a Kung-Fu master.

      1. You can pull it off with a professional like Sammo Hung or Donnie Yen. But even the greats need time to rehearse. You’re acting but with your body and skills. Time and rehearsal makes any action better. You can see the difference if you look at weekly tv shows that featured martial arts. The stunt guys would use the same moves just from different angles. Unless they are cheap. Then they use the same shot reversed.

    2. Sounds like a pretty huge fail. One of the first things I’d do with a show like this is give the actors some schooling with martial arts.

    3. I don’t know that the choreography is any better, but the show is far more interesting: Into the Badlands.

      1. Choreography is better but they’ve started a lesbian romance. Not my cup of tea and weak writing.

  18. Poorly done martial arts choreography is doubly inexcusable these days.
    Way back when, you could get away with slow motion fight scenes and actors with no martial arts experience, because it was rare.
    But, after decades of Jackie Chan and Wo Ping, the general audience has come to expect way, way better.

  19. Off topic, is there going to be more to ‘Son Of The Black Sword’? It is just brilliant and has left me crazy with a cliffhanger feeling. Love all your books but this was something different and on the Epic category of writing, not just monsters. Just praying you will write one more to give an ending.

  20. The problem with Colleen is that she should have been a season two character and her story closer to that of the comics in which her mother ran an offshoot of the Hand that fought against them. However they wanted her in season one and so all her coolness and backstory had to be toned down so as not to overshadow the Iron Fist. But they HAD to have a love interest and so stuffed Coleen in there.

    Had they removed that stuff entirely, had the sister be enamored with the Fist and him being ambivalent at best it would have made for a much better season. Significantly beef up the Hand and make them more of a threat, with him thinking that they’re trying to kill him but really it’s just Gao testing him and setting him up to take out Bakudo in S2 along with a stronger Yakuza side plot and have the drugs do something at least interesting to the user or the way they are created being particularly vile. Dreamy White or whatever its called from Weber’s Path of the Fury comes to mind.

    Have him meet Night Nurse(Rosario Dawson) through something else, and have him be introduced to Collen through her at the end of the season.

  21. Last TV character I watched has to save me?

    Bosch. So I’ll be saved, but he’ll have bent the rules in a way as to create friction with Irv and J Edgar. And therefore I’d rather not be saved.

    1. Me too, good thing it wasn’t 2nd last because I don’t think the guys from MST3K would be able to save me, they can’t even save themselves.

  22. I am going to go off topic here but, the 1/2 of Monster Hunter Siege will be available next Tuesday at Baen Ebooks, so expect the EARC soon.

  23. The crew down in market said we should give the Punisher stun guns, because that would make him warmer and more approachable for the millenial audience…

    1. Punisher’s already been established as a murder machine who disdains holding back against or showing mercy towards evil people. Unless they completely drop the ball, I think we’re safe.

  24. Soooo…I’m gonna be rescued by a bunch of Librarians. That isn’t too bad, right? I mean, sure, some crazy cultists will probably be involved, and maybe an evil sorcerer, but everything turns out right in the end.

    My girlfriend is totally screwed, though. She just finished catching up on Gotham.

  25. I can dig the pulp style material but the endless depiction of Chinese people as dope peddlers, members of an organized crime conspiracy and followers of a mystical religion that gives them strange powers is completely racist and just re-hashes these old racist tropes from early 20th century pulp fiction . It’s disgusting and I was also surprised to see none of the PC crowd complained

    1. I disagree. It’s a show about mystical Kung Fu. It wasn’t about regular Chinese people going about their everyday lives. The Godfather isn’t racist against Italians either. Sure, all the Italians on it are violent criminals, but that’s because it was a movie about violent criminals who immigrated from Italy. It wasn’t about regular Italians going about their everyday lives. That movie would have been dull and not won a bucket of Oscars.

      If Iron Fist was racist against anybody it was rich white people, because Danny was a dork, Joy was a clueless idiot, Ward was a drug addled scumbag, and Harold was obnoxious and evil. But that’s stupid. It wasn’t racist against rich white folks, it was just bad at writing consistent believable characters. And you can do that really easily without being racist.

      Yes. It rehashes old pulp ideas. Are you totally unfamiliar with the source material? But then again, I saw some folks declare Luke Cage racist because it rehashed 70’s style blaxploitation tropes… Well duh.

      That’s like when I got accused of being racist for Grimnoir because I was writing about Imperial Japan as the antagonists… You know, the guys who in real life made severed head mountains and had contests over who could bayonet the most babies. So even though I had Japanese characters who were good, decent, or conflicted, some assholes shriek racism.

      1. FWIW I think Ward was the most interesting character on this show. Note that I said “on this show” specifically, not “OMG best character ever”. But still, he at least had some sort of struggle going on (the mental kind, not the kicking people in the face kind), and a character development arc that made some sort of sense. His drug addiction actually made at least a minimal amount of sense in context of the story, as well.

  26. Several (10+?) years ago, I was reading something, whilst listening to KNX with half an ear at 0320 AM Mountain Time.
    They had a movie review by Jim Svejda on (no clue what the show was). He didn’t just pan the flick; he took it apart and panned the pieces.
    Anchor Tom Brown came on after, and said, “I don’t… think… he liked it! Let’s see how we like the traffic…”

  27. Yeah, the corporate scenes all felt like they were “trying to tell both sides” but the writers didn’t know the corporate side. “We don’t know our factories gave these people cancer.” “But we have an obligation!” “No, we should make a profit!” Nobody thinks to argue, “No, because WE DIDN’T DO IT!”

  28. I guess I’m in a solid minority then because I liked the show. Sure, it had issues – every one of these Marvel shows has had issues so far.

    But I don’t know – I rather liked the fact that the fight scenes weren’t over-produced. I liked that Danny Rand *wanted to be a hero*. I liked that the two main “bad guys” in the first 3/4s of the series were just two schmoes that were running his dad’s company when he showed up out of the blue and their reactions to his appearance. I liked that he was clueless about how to interact in Western society and that he still possessed a child’s sense of right and wrong, and the power to act on that sense with all the fallout it caused.

    It wasn’t perfect but my personal rankings of all the Marvel shows to date would be:
    1) DD Season 1
    2) Iron Fist
    3) Jessica Jones
    4/4a) DD Season 2 / Luke Cage

    1. I wouldn’t say the issue was that the fight scenes were overproduced. They were under-choreographed. The actor playing Danny doesn’t seem to have any martial arts training, and wasn’t given a lot of time to learn the choreography as mentioned by others. As such, they weren’t very exciting and had too many jump cuts.

      I assume the tight production schedule was a known quantity before making the show. They could have significantly improved the fight quality by casting a lead with actual martial arts experience or just giving Danny a mask and letting a double do the fighting.

      I have high standards for fight scenes, though, so I’m almost certainly overthinking it. Hence this needless reply to your comment. Glad you enjoyed them though.

      Still, if you haven’t seen them, the Raid series have some of the best martial arts sequences I’ve seen in a long time. As a warning, the fights are very brutal. Pretty much anything Donnie Yen does is great. Watch the final fight of “Flash Point” on YouTube. It’s amazing.

      1. My wife loves Donnie Yen. She was a big Bruce Lee fan when we were in highs school almost forty years ago. So as a dutiful husband I watch kung fu movies with her. I do my duty no matter how painful. lol

      2. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love me some Kung Fu films. I’ve gone through most of what’s on Netflix and seen several others that aren’t.

        So yeah, like I *know* that the scenes in Iron Fist weren’t up to par with other Kung Fu offerings but for whatever reason it just didn’t bother me. It felt to me like the fighters were doing the minimum amount of effort to achieve a desired effect, which as a real-life practitioner of Kung Fu is pretty much what I do when I’m working techniques.

        It wasn’t the visceral brawling violence of DareDevil but watching it the first time it didn’t leap out to me as being super terrible, just – not flashy.

        Please note, you aren’t *wrong*. I just felt that it worked for some reason. That’s as well as I can explain it 🙂

    2. Can’t speak on the rest of IH but I’d have to disagree on the DD rating, I liked season 2 much better than 1.

      Because, Frank Castle.

  29. last show I watched was Dark Matter. I mean… I don’t even know, those guys can certainly kick butt, but they also seem to have just about everyone after them so it could really go either way O_O

  30. You Have Been Kidnapped, The Characters From The Last TV Show You Watched Must Save You…

    Great, last thing I watched was ‘American Pickers’. I’m not sure if Frank or Mike have any fighting skills but hopefully Frank can bundle my ransom with a couple of old oil cans…

  31. Characters from the last tv show I watched?

    …Damn I’m stuck with Archie Andrews and co.
    (unless turning off what someone left running counts then its Docs from M.A.S.H)

  32. “You Have Been Kidnapped, The Characters From The Last TV Show You Watched Must Save You…”

    I haven’t seen this meme before, but I’ve been Netflixing 30 Rock. I guess I’m basically boned. (Although now that I think of it, the 30 Rock characters trying to save someone who’s been kidnapped could make a pretty funny fanfic.)

    I haven’t watched the Netflix Marvel series yet, but they’re in my queue. Guess maybe I’ll think about skipping Iron Fist.

  33. I’m not sure I want to be rescued by Riddler. I’m positive I don’t want to be rescued by Gotham’s Jim Gordon. Maybe Selena can help me…

  34. The biggest sin, from my point of view, was “Failure to Plot”. There were characters, lame ones generally, and they did stuff, but there wasn’t really a thread. Danny begins as someone who sought out the challenge and honor of being the Iron Fist, and finding out that it was a duty and labor as well…bailed. Now, maybe he had Reasons(TM), but after a dozen episodes, I don’t know what they were. Mean men with sticks beat him doesn’t count as a reason to leave if you applied for the job of super-punch master. At the end of the series, Danny has struggled to…actually I’m not sure what he’s accomplished. Did he reclaim the family firm and assume the responsibilities there? Did he tame the anger within himself and solve things by means other than punching? Did he return to his masters and defend…ah..nope.

    There’s no arc here. He goes from lame guy with power (Iron Fist) and no responsibility to being a lame guy with even more power (Iron Fist + Super Rich) and no responsibility.

    Luke Cage is my favorite of the Marvel-Netflix. He begins with powers, a past and doesn’t want to get involved. By the end of his first season, he’s found limits on his powers, a broader scope, and chosen to face down his past, even if his past is unjust.

    By the end of Luke Cage, he’s the Hero of Harlem.
    By the end of Iron Fist, he’s a rich guy with a magic fist…which is the same place he started.

  35. You Have Been Kidnapped, The Characters From The Last TV Show You Watched Must Save You

    Hang on a bit, while I go watch an episode of The Millionaire.

  36. If it’s the last live TV show I watched, I think it was Monday Night Football sometime last season. I need to hope that Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough have superpowers that they’ve just never shown during a broadcast.

    If TV on DVD counts, I’ve been watching old episodes of Psych. I’d say that I’ve got about a 60/40 chance, but I can at least console myself with the thought that if Shawn and Gus don’t save me, they will at least solve my murder.

  37. Dang it, I actually limed Iron Fist until I read this. I felt the same way but chose to ignore it, but Larry you hit the nail on the head. I am tempted to rewatch it set to the music from the karate kid though. That could be fun.

    And yes, they sure as sh#t better not mess up The Punisher.

  38. “You Have Been Kidnapped, The Characters From The Last TV Show Watched Must Save You…”

    Last show I watched was an anime called Drrrr. I am in luck if the headless motorcyclist, the zany gangsters in the van, or the crazy super strong bartender wants to save me. The crazy information broker, the underworld doctor or the shy high school kids, not so lucky. Maybe the possessed girl with the mind controlling cursed katana could save me, but not without long scenes of self doubt and interior dialog.

    Iron Fist is also meh. I liked parts of it, but thought the actress playing Colleen Wing was too pretty to fall for the goofy kung fu hippy, and far too small to fight men. The undead overcontrolling father was an interesting idea, and madame Goa was a good villainess before she got captured.

  39. Oh snap…looks like I’m going to have to rely on Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and Jim Halper (Halpert?) to save me…I’m done.

    As for Iron Fist, I’ve been meandering my way through it. Definitely not in the same league as DD or LC…but, in fairness, I didn’t make it past 2 or 3 episodes of JJ either. (I just couldn’t possibly care less about noir detective crap.) Netflix has a lot of great shows, and it’s disappointing to see Iron Fist wallow in mediocre-land. I’ve been kind of hoping for a repeat of, say, Stranger Things, which was so good I stayed up tll 3am watching the entire season in a single sitting. Now THAT’s good TV!


  40. Maybe not flawless, but I’m glad it is one of Netflix most popular superhero shows. Simply because SJW saw an opportunity to finally focus their hate against white male characters, even if their whining proved they had neither read the comic or seen the show.

  41. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one majorly disappointed by Iron Fist. Hopefully they do some of this stuff better with Defenders.

    And yes they need to not screw up Frank Castle. They need to do atleast one full season where it’s like Punisher MAX. I get the feeling given the way they’ve done “character development” that once they focus on Castle they may very well try and soften him or otherwise SJW-up the pure unadulterated killing machine that is The Punisher. This would bring me to a 10 on the Sad-o-meter.

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