I finished watching all of Netflix’ Iron Fist today. No surprise, but I thought it was awful. It’s displaced the first Thor film for me as the worst thing yet to come out of Marvel Studios. Major Sin 1: It made no goddamn sense to me. Zip. Nada. Pick any aspect of the show, big or small, and I found it nonsensical. I get the impression that no one was thinking very hard about any part of this production. Major Sin 2: It’s devoid of artistry. Stuff happens and they point a camera at it. There’s no deeper themes being explored, no interesting use of color, music, or metaphor to make a larger statement or reveal added depths. Characters state all of their feelings explicitly. Exposition is belabored and glacial. Lesser Sin 1: The kung-fu sucks. Danny moves like he learned martial arts at the Kun-Lun YMCA. The fights are just jumbles of people punching and kicking, hardly anyone remembers to fire their guns, and assailants always wait their turn before they attack the main characters. Even the mundane physical moves are boring. Every time it looks like Danny’s about to do some wire-fu, it ends up just being a shot of Finn Jones climbing a fire escape or forcing open a door. Lesser Sin 2: New York doesn’t seem to matter. In other Marvel Netflix shows — DD and LC in particular — their corner of NYC was a character unto itself. Danny’s story could have taken place in St. Louis and nothing would change. Spoilers okay in the comments.]]>

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  1. JJ > DD > IF > LC. I saw IF as relatively flawless, and comparing positively to DD in this regard. DD had quite a few little things that irked me in terms of failures and mistakes, but those were much rarer here, and when they happened, they were less annoying to me. LC blew me away more often (I didn’t get blown away much in IF), but it had lots of irksome flaws that kept pulling me out of it.]]>

  2. being the Iron Fist but chafes at the expectations of what that role has traditionally meant in K’un-Lun. He was an outsider in K’un-Lun because he was some white dude from the US, he’s an outsider in the US because he’s a mystical K’un-Lun monk. He recognizes that Ward is a pretty terrible person, but still wants to treat him like a brother. His powers are keyed on being at peace with himself and who he is, so his central conflict is that various aspects of his identity are in conflict and he needs to find ways to reconcile them. Not entirely surprising themes for a show about a martial artist, but I thought they worked. I thought the way they used the Meachum characters was a lot more interesting — you always feel the temptation to put them in a black or white box but they always show enough nuance or humanity to keep from going all the way. Even the more overtly villainous Harold Meachum has sympathetic elements. Ward is stuck in this weird trap where to the outside world he’s carrying on the Meachum legacy but he feels like a powerless lackey. He’s addressing a lot of the same themes as Danny — whether he should do what people expect of him, whether to try to chart his own path, whether he can even figure out his own path or if he’s just running away from expectations, etc.]]>