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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

TNH Roundtable: Full Season Reviews - Iron Fist

With the latest Marvel show from Netflix recently airing, TNH staff decided to sit down and discuss our thoughts on the series. What did they do right and what did they do wrong? Where have they been, and where could they be going? So, take a gander, and until we sit back down for our upcoming Full Season Review of The Defenders, take to the comments section below and let us know what you thought about this series.

Iron Fist


(Marvel Studios)
After four consecutive, critically successful installments, including Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and two seasons of Daredevil, the latest Netflix show from Marvel came out of the gates with little to no positive feedback. This for most, was unexpected and dealt a major blow to the highly regarded shared universe. However, once the show aired to the general public, the opinions became as controversial as a Zack Snyder movie; with some loving it, and others absolutely despising it. But what went wrong? Why are this shows mistakes so highly criticized compared to the other installments mistakes? We sit down today to try and find out what went so wrong, and what they need to do to bounce back if given an extra season, as well as, determine whether or not this show is a failure, or simply a learning tool.


Did they make the right choice by making Danny as little progressed as he was and did they progress him enough from start to finish?

John- Yes, they did make the right choice progressing Danny slowly. If they hadn't, there wouldn't have been enough character development. If it started with him already the ultimate weapon, the show would have been stale. He needed to grow in all ways.

Marlon- After 15 years of training to be the Iron Fist, Danny should have been a master by now. Come on, he didn't even know he could heal people with the Iron Fist.

Jack- I think this is a delicate balance. People need to understand that in television the characters are once again, new, and need to be developed once more for the new viewership just like thy once were for the readership. It is a slow start, but its crucial to develop a character properly. This is something I felt Luke Cage lacked as he was seemingly already at his max potential prior to even stepping foot in the MCU, and he didn't progress not one bit by the end. However, show runners need to understand as well, that character development is supposed to be efficient, just as much as it is to be well developed. Also, majority of the viewership, is the readership; that's given, so they would expect to see their hero as they read him, and majority of its current readership jumped on board far after his origins. Perhaps the character development could have been a bit further along than it was.

What are your thoughts on the way they've taken Claire's character?

John- I like where they have gone with Claire's character because anyone that has been saved by or started to associate with extraordinary and/or highly skilled individuals, would want to develop skills and abilities of their own, even f just to prove to themselves that they aren't helpless.

Marlon- I absolutely love her character and how she is becoming a badass who can ultimately handle herself.

Jack- I am definitely digging the way they are taking the character, but I do have an issue that keeps coming to mind. Claire is the character connecting it all, but what if these were separate shows? Would the character then even have a purpose? Is this hurting the shows?

What did you think about the plot twist of Colleen being a part of The Hand?

John- Colleen being part of The Hand could have been left out i think, an association maybe through her parents perhaps, there was already enough going on with Harold working for them. Danny had nobody to turn to and it messed him up too much.

Jack- This is another give or take for me. I am all for a good plot twist especially one so sinister. This show was all about suspense and thrill through sinister twists. It fits the bill. However, this is another plot point that makes me wonder if they could have dumbed down all the talking, had they gone for a simpler approach.

Marlon- Every hero needs a very brutal betrayal and with Colleen being a part of The Hand, this was a perfect betrayal.

Was there too much focus on business and not enough action, or was it well balanced?

Marlon- As far as business and action, I think it balanced out. In Arrow, Oliver didn't want to run Queen Industries (or as referred to in Arrow, Queen Consolidated), where as Danny wanted to return to where he belonged, so I believe it was necessary.

Jack- Lets not forget that the entire premise of the show was The Hand's infiltration into Rand Enterprises. From the origin to the impending threat of The Defenders. I do think, had the action not been so lack luster, the business end would not have been overwhelming. They controlled the balance well, that's not where the fault of this show lies, that's just something effected by the true mistakes.

John- At times it did focus too much on business. sporadically through-out the series it would feel like I was watching a violent knock off of Suits. I'm not sure if I'm comparing it to Daredevil too much, but I don't think that there were enough decent fight scenes to counteract the business.

For the fun of it, do you think Daredevil could kick his ass?

Marlon- In a fight between Daredevil and Danny, I'd say Daredevil kicks his ass.

John- Hahaha* Yes, Daredevil could kick his ass. Once Danny has completed his training then perhaps not, only time will tell.

Jack- Well we all know that comics Iron Fist could demolish comics Daredevil, but in the MCU Daredevil is a far superior combatant, and we see it non stop through out the series. This is troubling, because even season 1 Daredevil would wreck Danny, even by the end of Iron Fist's first season. They both trained for years previous to the MCU, but not only did Danny's lackluster combat hurt the show overall despite the logical reason for it, but it was so awful that it took the belief that could ever be the Iron Fist and threw it out the window. He progresses little to none the entire series, so fuck yeah, Matt would kick his ass.

Did Danny's anger and inability to control his emotions work against the show or was it for the better of the plot?

John- Danny's inability to control his anger was where I think the show suffered. He's been in a monastery for 15 years, it's something he should have figured out by now. We should have seen an Iron Fist at peace, while still struggling with lack of training and the loss of his former life and company.

Marlon- Anger is a part of every heroes downfall. Look at Star Wars, The Chosen One fell into anger and became Darth Vader. In Danny's case he just needs to control his anger, and in doing so will control The Iron Fist.

Jack- Another give or take. I am once again not sure whether this helped or hurt the shows overall. On one hand I'll agree with John, I mean isn't inner peace the first thing you learn at a monastery? But, the anger did fuel the plot. The anger is a crucial factor for every hero and can you blame the guy He's still of a child's mind and being exposed to the horrors of life all in one thrust on top of what's been tearing him apart for 15 years. Add that to the events that he went through upon his return, I'd say this was more realistic.

Why did these mistakes stand out so much compared to the previous installments of the shared universe?

Jack- I think its a combination of having a standard for these shows set in our minds due to previous works, on top of the mistakes just being to grand this time around. Personally, I felt this was a better show than Luke Cage, despite the lacking parts. I feel people were just weary of this shared universe as well and ready to tear into it and Iron Fist gave them the first opportunity to do so, that would be accepted. Lastly, Not many people could relate to Iron Fist the way they could to the other characters. We got a disabled person who is thriving off of it. We got someone with emotional struggles and mental illnesses overcoming them by facing them head on. We got a symbolic black man looking to do right no matter what even though he is constantly screwed by the system. Then we got a billionaire who lost his parents and grew up in a monastery for 15 years and then returned from the dead to be a billionaire, an ultimate weapon and avenge his parents all while carrying out a bind sworn duty of mythological proportions. Even those who could relate, could only relate to fragments.

John- The mistakes stood out more her because we have been spoiled by amazing television up to this point. Both seasons of Daredevil were outstanding and Jessica Jones was a character drama that sucked you in with her depression, anxiety and addictions -which helps relate to viewers- but throws in her super powers -which gives viewers something to look up to- and then it gives us a villain we love to hate. Luke Cage was a hit because they got a tease in Jessica Jones but it wasn't enough. Iron Fist wasn't going to pull n our emotions like the rest did and as a billionaire who grew up with monks, not many people can relate with that.

Marlon- I think the biggest reason people didn't like the show was because, they expected action at level we have yet to see in this universe, but it being one of the weakest parts if not the single most weakest part of the show just shocked, baffled and outright betrayed viewers. The worst part about it was seeing the potential these scenes had, all while being tortured with shoddy cinematography and choreography.



Click Here to Read 'TNH Roundtable: Mid-Season Reviews - Arrow


The action was pretty much the universally agreed weakness; what do you think made this stand out so much?

John- The weak action stood out in Iron Fist because of the quality of Daredevil. Daredevil set a standard, and while Jessica Jones and Luke Cage didn't meet the standard, they weren't expected to. Iron Fist was and the producers should have realized this. With the way Daredevil and The Punisher scenes were shared all over social media, they should have known Iron Fist needed to be on par or better.

Jack- Besides for expectations, the poor quality stuck out so badly that you couldn't help but to hate it. It wasn't just that the action wasn't fast or on par of a fully capable Iron Fist. It was just awful in quality overall. Piss poor choreography poorly edited in attempt to hide it with shoddy cinematography. So many scenes with so much potential and each one fell exponentially short. A slap in the face!

Do you think that they made Colleen too big of a character?

John- I don't think Colleen was too big of a character, maybe too strong of a character, sometimes it felt like Danny let her take the lead or was hiding behind who she was.

Marlon- Colleen was a great character to have and the betrayal hurt Danny even more, so It would make sense for her to have such a role if she was the key to breaking and fixing Danny

What were your thoughts on the overall plot, as well as, the overall execution of it?

Marlon- I may be bias as someone who has never read Iron Fist in the comics, but I really enjoyed it and found it easy to follow despite many saying it was confusing.

John- I thought the plot was good. It brought the show into setting with it's forerunners. Although sometimes it felt like there was more to the story.

Jack- I felt that the story was the savior of this show, but it was still not perfect. The story had a lot of potential and kept me engaged all the way through. Had many good twists and some amazing subplots. The issue is that I always felt on the edge of my seat. You'd think that's a good thing but its not. The pace stayed exactly the same, I didn't feel a rollercoaster. It felt as if though things were not being tied off despite the fact that they were. I don't know if its the direction or if the script was too convoluted or what, but it left me feel like I was missing a significant chunk of the story.

We never actually saw the city of K'un Lun like we do in the comics, only the mountains surrounding it and a mass fog above the city masking it. Do you think we should have seen more of the city?

John- I think it's good that they left the city as a mystery. It's meant to be a city of heaven on a different plane of existence, it needs to stay in the imagination.

Marlon - Leaving K'un Lun out of the series leaves more to the imagination, so I'm okay with that decision.

Jack - I honestly would trade in the imagination to see it because it means we could see Madame Gao's history in the city and that was one of the more intriguing twists of the series in my opinion. For now I'm okay with it, but I think it needs to be at least partial shown in the second season. I want a dojo, or a garden, or a market or something, I mean Madame Gao and Danny had a conversation describing an area of the city, so I'd like to see some of it eventually.

Do you think we will see Davos acting as the Steel Serpent in the next season; Do you think that would propel Danny to his full ability?

John- Yes, I think they intentionally set Davos up to be the Steel Serpent and he would be a good antagonist for season 2. Davos was already starting to hate Danny before K'un Lun was "destroyed", what will he do when he finds out his home and family are gone because Danny wasn't where he was meant to be; where Davos would have been if he had had his way?

Jack- I think Davos being the main antagonist of season 2 as the Steel serpent is a given, and I think his combat abilities and his hate fueled revenge will give Danny a true test and will force him to further his potential and become the Iron Fist we have come to love in the comics. My only issue is with Joy Meachum becoming a villain; I really liked her.

Marlon- I am definitely interested to see Davos character evolve, but personally, I'm more interested in what happened to Bakuto.

Were you satisfied with how the series ended?

Jack - I feel that a show with such an in depth and sinister plot that holds you at the edge of your seats nearly the entire time should capitalize with a bombshell closer, not a lackluster cliffhanger, but then again it follows suit of all of this shows issues.

Marlon-  Hated the ending! So predictable. Ever since Davos came back, he kept saying how no one was guarding the gates to K'un Lun; I already knew something bad was going to happen and it did.

John- The series ended how it needed to end but it was predictable. Even my partner who's only superhero knowledge comes from listening to me knew what was coming. As soon s the "school" emptied out, she said, "they've gone to K'un Lun because Danny isn't there".

What do you think was the best part of the series, and the worst part of the series?

John- Best part of the series was seeing The Hand recruitment using cheap dojo's to lure street kids. Worst part was not seeing DD, JJ or LC at all. There were references, but they should have worked something in.

Marlon- The best part for me was when Danny had to take on those fighters to free that one Russian dudes daughter, and then Madame Gao changes the rules. Can't really decide on a worst part.

Jack- I think the best part was seeing inside The Hand's operation. It's something I really wanted to get a better look into before the defenders, because it was pretty much all mystery in Daredevil season 2. I'd say the worst part was seeing so many unique fight scenarios with such potential and being utterly disappointed each time more than the last.

What needs to improve if the show were to receive a second season, and what can they learn from this series to improve the character in 'The Defenders'?

John- I think they need more fight scenes and they need to take some notes from Daredevil; most importantly I think that Danny needs to get over his anger issues and stop being such a whiny baby all of the time.

Marlon- A stronger plot and more action scenes will improve the second season if there is one. Personally, I think they should have went with The Defenders first, introduce Danny and then give him his own series showing his origin.

Jack- They need to understand what we want from the Iron Fist in action sequences because they failed, and they need to improve the choreography and cinematography in these scenes as well; these C-grade, cheap, tricks to mask the scent of shit does not work. Another issue that needs to resolved is the pacing. The show needs to go up, down and back up with each episode, as well as, with the series as a whole. The emotion this show drew from me was very monotone. Some other things could use some work, but these are some major issues that I cannot sit through again.

In conclusion, while Iron Fist doesn't quite seem to be as bad as critic initially made it seem, it definitely needs some work. Several issues stand out so much that they are hard to move past and they are a must fix if there is to be a second season. This show may have been a blow to the Marvel/Netflix shared universe, but they show no signs of stopping anytime soon, so the question that remains is this; can the Iron Fist series redeem itself?


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Written and Edited by, Jack Flowers. Contributions from Marlon Ortega and John Ayre.


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