Mar. 24th, 2017

clhollandwriter: (Default)
So, this show is a hot mess. This post is going to be chock full of spoilers, because I have a lot of thoughts on why that is from a writing standpoint.

First off - what was that first episode doing? Danny Rand turns up at the Rand building and expects to be welcomed back with open arms. Never mind the fact that he's been gone 15 years and the last time anyone saw him, he was a child. Never mind that fact that he saw his parents die in the plane crash that made him disappear, so should perhaps be aware that everyone thinks he's dead. He just turns up and expects everyone to accept him at face value - he doesn't offer any evidence or personal anecdotes to prove he is who he says he is. He could have convinced both Joy and Ward with the information he uses in later scenes and episodes right up front, but he doesn't because otherwise we wouldn't get to watch him in the psychiatric hospital in the next episode.

Which leads to - Danny Rand is an idiot. The whole show is one long stream of him being Too Stupid To Live, and yet living anyway. In the psychiatric hospital he keeps insisting he survived the crash to be raised by monks as a living weapon with a superpowered fist, in a mystical kingdom you can only get to or from every 15 years - and then wonders why they decide he's delusional. He approaches pretty much every conflict like this, wading in without thought. It gets wearing very quickly. It occurred to me while writing that possibly we're not supposed to be watching him as a 27 year old man, but as the 12 year old boy he was when he was lost. It would certainly make him more understandable. Unfortunately this doesn't come across in either the script or the performance.

To be honest, Danny's not even all that interesting. And he could be, handled differently. Show us more of that lost kid. Show us the culture shock of growing up in K'un-Lun, and of returning home and the struggle to regain an identity. Show us the struggle between his two cultures, birth and adoptive. What we get is trademark rich white vigilante. It's not that interesting and it's been done, and better.

The problem is, there's no conflict in Iron Fist's main character. In Daredevil we see the struggle between Matt's desire to enact justice and his faith. In Jessica Jones we see Jessica's need to stop Kilgrave warring with her need to hide from him and what he made her do. In Luke Cage, we see Luke's desire to get his head down and live a quiet life, and how that conflicts with his desire to protect his community, and others' attempts to do it and him harm. Danny Rand knows he's right and righteous, and acts accordingly. There's no doubt in him ("Doubt is death") and it's really, really dull. All of the supporting characters are more interesting, because they all have conflict, from Colleen struggling with the fact she actually enjoys kicking the shit out of people, to Ward trapped in a corporate hell he can't escape.

Not only are there no inner demons, there aren't any outer ones either. The first seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all have memorable antagonists (Fisk, Kilgrave, Cottonmouth and Diamondback) and are all fantastic. Season two of Daredevil  wasn't nearly as good, because all we had was an army of faceless ninjas. Iron Fist suffers from the same problem. Who or what is the Hand? What do they want? Who knows? Who cares any more? The Hand is not exactly a hands-on villain.

There's been a lot said on the internet about the fact that the Iron Fist is white. White saviour complex aside I don't have a problem with that because the character was already white in the comics. He is, however, too white. He's supposed to have spent more than half his life growing up in a mystical version of Tibet, but he comes across as a guy who knows how to act but not what it means and is only going through the motions. I read somewhere (and can't find the link now) that all of the main people involved are white, and I suspect that's part of the problem. If you're going to film a show about a fake-Tibetan kung fu master, at least hire someone who can point out things like how to bow correctly, to take your shoes off before you enter the dojo, and how to act like you've spent 15 years living in fake-Tibet instead of New York.

Also, where did Danny learn to drive? That's been bugging me since the start.

August 2017

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