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Iron Fist, Season Two – Review

I binged–a word I have every intention of continuing the use of–the second season of Marvel’s Iron Fist last week and it was…okay.

It course-corrects from first season, which seemed to spend as much time with Joy and Ward Meechum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey) as it did with Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones).

One issue that remains–perhaps the most pressing the problems–is the approach to the entire series (one shared with Marvel’s Luke Cage, it’s worth mentioning) in that it keeps doubling down on the realism, when they should be leaning into the more fantastical elements of both characters.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Here’s the trailer for The Five Deadly Venoms which I include because this is the sort of action that should inspire Marvel’s Iron Fist.

And sure, it’s a bit over the top, but that’s the point. It should be! We’re talking about people with abilities beyond those of mortal men.

The filmmakers shouldn’t be be afraid to lean into that (and sure, such an approach would likely facilitate greater use of stunt people, but I think it would be worth it).

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.

 

Marvel’s Iron Fist – Teaser Trailer

Screenshot 2016-07-22 16.55.42

Gotta admit, I like the logo though it’s especially good to see because for awhile there were members of the online community that were saying that a series based on Iron Fist wasn’t going to happen.

That being said, Finn Jones?

That’s not even that I think Jones is a bad actor–I’ve heard that he’s appeared in Game of Thrones, which I don’t particularly care for–more so than I haven’t anything to base a decision on.

Though I am not sure it would matter all that much because what puts me off is sort of silly; almost dumb, really.

Screenshot 2016-07-22 17.16.47

It’s the curly hair.

Danny Rand in the comics typically have very straight hair.  I know it’s a minor point, but having followed the adventures of Power Man and Iron Fist for awhile, it’s part of the image I’ve carried in my head.

 

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