Marvel’s Luke Cage – Season 2 Official Trailer

Screenshot 2018-05-08 12.26.36.pngYesterday Netflix released a trailer for the second season of Luke Cage, one of the four series from Marvel Television and it looks…okay.

Cage seems to have accepted a degree of notoriety in his life–which truth be told is unavoidable when you take into account everyone is running around with technology that makes them their own network.

And we’re introduced to Bushmaster (who thankfully doesn’t appear to be wearing any sort of costume.  For some reason tropes native to the genre–such as costumes–does not benefit the show)and Misty Knight received her bionic arm (like in the comics.  Yay!).

Truth be told I’d be happy to get this series of Luke Cage and another Iron Fist (the first series wasn’t nearly as terrible as people make it out to be.  In fact it’s greatest problem is was that it made Danny Rand/Iron Fist a secondary character in his own story though the 13-epsisode structure of the season may have had a lot to do with that) culminating not in The Defenders, but in Heroes For Hire.

And speaking of Iron Fist, he needs a costume (or at least some sort of uniform) because if there’s something underwhelming it should be the costume, not the person wearing it.

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Where Marvel’s Iron Fist Went Wrong, And How To Set It Right

With a new season of Marvel’s Iron Fist currently shooting, I’ve started to speculate where it was that the first season went wrong.

1.  Iron Fist Was Guest-Starring In His Own Story

The Rand Corporation (as well as his siblings) are important to Danny Rand/Iron Fist’s narrative, but the series often felt like Rand was a guest-star in his own story.

In a 2-hour movie you can (arguably) get away with an under-developed hero or villain (and in fact there’s often only time to develop one or the other.  To do otherwise runs the risk of diminishing both, to the detriment of the story).

But in a thirteen hour series?  There’s no excuse for both parts of the equation to be balanced

2. Danny Rand Was A Bit Of A Whiner

While Finn Jones was cast as Danny Rand/Iron Fist I was okay with the choice, though he would likely not have been mine (that would have been Cam Gigadet, who would have not only brought a welcome bit of world-weariness to the role but actually knows martial arts–Krav Maga–which could have lent a greater authenticity to the role) though the character felt a bit like a truculent child at times, which made him a bit off-putting

3. Showrunner A-Go-Go!

For better or worse, the showrunner sets the tone and direction that a series takes.

They may not write it (though if that’s their area of strength, they could), but they’ll likely chose the writers who will.

They may not direct, but will end up being the decider in terms of whom actually  ends up doing so.

in other words, it’s a very influential position and likely why Scott Buck will not be returning to a second season of Marvel’s Iron Fist (he’s replaced in Season Two by Raven Metzger, who worked on Falling Skies, Heroes Reborn, Sleepy Hollow and movies like Elektra).

And a new showrunner is a great start, though–and this is stating the obvious–there had to be more martial arts.

One of my favorite martial arts movies is The Five Deadly Venoms and frankly, it’s ridiculous, particularly from a martial arts standpoint though ironically enough, that’s why it works so well.  It revels in the  rediculousness, while playing it relatively straight. 

Now, I’m not saying that Iron Fist needs to go quite that far, but it is called ‘Iron Fist,’ not ‘Familial Squabbles with a Little Martial Arts Thrown In.’

And I’m not saying that Iron Fist needs to be as fanciful as that movie, but there should be a joyfulness, a level of dexterity for the most part missing from the first season.

Some of the changes I’ve mentioned–such as a new showrunner–have already been initiated, though arguably the most important–is the fighting because keep in mind that Danny Rand’s martial art abilities are to him what The Punisher’s penchant for violence are to him: an indispensable part of the character’s makeup.  

Iron Fist Revealed!

I understand that Marvel Television in its ‘street-level’ heroes tends to seek a more grounded, realistic esthetic than those typically employed by Marvel Studios.

That probably has a lot to do with why of all the Defenders only one, Daredevil, has a costume (which is more in the vein of tactical armor than a costume, per se).

Jessica Jones and Luke Cage wear civilian clothes, as does Iron Fist (at least in the first season of his series).

And for awhile I thought that the latter in his civvies that might be a good decision, till I saw this image from the series.

 That’s Johnny Yang as an ‘Iron Fist’–which is less an individual than an honorific, though only one seems to exist in any given period of time–and he looks pretty awesome.

The way they muted the colors and gave the costume a very real-world feel works really well, and I would have been glad to see it in more detail.  It was technically in the series, though the footage of it was so (deliberately) blurry you couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

Maybe they kept it under wraps because Danny Rand (Finn Jones) in–hopefully The Defenders–tries to capture some of his lost history, and dons the costume as a result.

 

I Agree With Albert Ching, But For Different Reasons

Screenshot 2015-12-09 21.58.14.pngYesterday I read an interesting article from Albert Ching, Managing Editor at Comic Book Resources, where he explains why he hopes that the actor cast as Iron Fist in Marvel Television/Netflix’s upcoming series isn’t Asian.

And I think that I get it why an Asian person might have a problem with an Asian person as the lead in a martial arts series–after all, what a viewer could potentially take from it is that all Asian people have to offer is their kung-fu ability.

Which is  is similar to the way Asian peoples are supposedly all good in math; that’s a pretty insidious one.

And I agree with Ching, though not for the same reasons (though I have to admit that Asian people in most movies virtually all being ninjas makes sense to me, which is exactly the problem he was talking about).

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Iron Fist Is A Go!

I have to admit act for a while I was a bit nervous.  From rumors that Marvel Television was ditching Iron Fist and replacing him with Moon Knight (Moon Knight is pretty awesome, by the way, though he lacks a prior relationship with Luke Cage which would be essential to the narrative) to they were going to abandon the idea of a 13-episode series and instead feature Iron Fist in a television movie, it seemed that his fate was a bit up in the air.

Though today The Wrap tweeted that Marvel had chosen a showrunner for a new 13-episode series based on the character, which is awesome!

What makes Luke Cage and Danny Rand (the alter ego of Iron Fist) such an engaging pair are their contrasts.  Cage has always lived by his wits in the streets of New York (and got his powers while experimented on in prison) while Rand inherited the Rand-Meachum industrial conglomerate from his father, and was a child of affluence (though Iron Fist’s origin almost reads like Batman’s–though to be fair the idea of a character leaving their home for whatever reason and returning somehow changed isn’t exactly unusual for comics).

I don’t recall what brought Cage and Rand together, though I hope that what makes each character unique is expanded upon in their individual series.

Iron Fist was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane.

 

Jessica Jones-A-Thon: AKA Take A Bloody Number

 

 

Jessica makes peace with Luke Cage, after he learns that Kilgrave isn’t a figment of her imagination.  We also get a little more information as to how Jones got her abilities.

And speaking of Cage, The more they show of him and his abilities, the more I want to see Iron Fist because as individuals they’re cool, though as a team they’re awesome.

I also don’t see how they can’t at least introduce Danny Rand during Cage’s own series (which is currently in production) because they are best friends and there’s groundwork to be laid if his appearance in his own series is to sync up with Cage’s.

The way Kilgrave gets people to kill themselves grows in grisliness (some vaguely remind me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, except scary).

Kilgrave is also attempting to boost his abilities, because Jessica is no longer under his sway.

The title, AKA Take A Bloody Number refers to the second thing Kilgrave told Luke Cage when he met him.