Friday, March 24, 2017

Iron Fist (eps 6-13)

Warning, this post contains spoilers!

I have not read a single issue of Iron Fist, or to my recollection a single issue of any comic that had Iron Fist in it, so my impressions of the show, the character, and everyone in it are based strictly on these 13 episodes, and the universe that Marvel has built with their Netflix productions. And what a universe they've managed to create! With complex flawed characters they've managed to tell some really really good stories, setting a high bar for street level super heroes. Then there are the villains... Kingpin and the Purple Man? Okay, so Luke Cage's rotating cast of bad guys was a bit of a flaw in that series, but even still... when it turned out that Madame Gao and The Hand were the focus of Iron Fist, well that was enough to make sure I watched the whole series.

I really liked how they made sure that while the Hand was clearly a threat no matter what, that it wasn't a faceless monolithic organization. There was conflict within it, and we got to see it as Madame Gao and Bakudo, who, let's give the guy props, did a great job as a villain in his own right, fought for control of the Hand. It's going to be really interesting to see how things shake out in the Hand with Bakudo's "death." Sure, Gao clearly has some Xanatos Gambit level planning going on, but I'm not counting Bakudo out just yet.

Colleen Wing and Claire saved the show from from Danny Rand, who after 15 years in a kung-fu monastery, still apparently thinks like a 10 year old. How he managed to become the Iron Fist with all his emotional issues and lack of control is beyond me, unless his masters figured that prophesy beats competence. The fact that Colleen is not only a member of The Hand, but also a recruiter and trainer for it? Awesome! Had I been thinking about it, I probably would have seen it coming, but it managed to catch me a little off guard.

I really like that Claire is not taking the craziness that her life is lying down, but found someone to train with so she can better defend herself! It's not gonna help much against someone with powers, but it might keep her safer against the various Hand soldiers. She also remains the only sane character in the show, even after everything she's been through.

As for Joy and Ward? Poor messed up rich kids. These two are gonna need therapy for YEARS. I didn't expect that Ward would get a redemption arc by the end of the show, but he did, and it worked. Hopefully he'll be a better man now that he's out from under his dad's thumb. We'll see... Joy's arc was rougher, and by the end of the show she's clearly not in a good place, and it doesn't help that Danny's best friend from K'un-Lun is telling her it's all Danny's fault.

Speaking of Davos, the only thing that bugged me about his arc was that it so closely mirrored Mordo's arc from Doctor Strange, though I think it was played better here. Probably because the longer format allowed the story to unfold more naturally.

All in all I thought Iron Fist was okay. Had it been on basic cable TV, I'd have loved it, and it's flaws would have been much more easily forgiven, but as I said above, Netflix MCU has really set itself a high bar. This was a decent entry into the MCU, and has set things up nicely for the Defenders, and maybe for Iron Fist season 2, which I will happily binge watch also!

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