IRON FIST – Marvel and Netflix’s First Failed Collaboration.

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Written by Talha Javaid

Marvel Studios have always delivered phenomenal films and even the television shows have been classic with beautiful storylines and incredible narrative structures. But with this flawless victory over DC, Marvel finally slipped up and created Iron First, which does nothing for Generation Z.

As always, I was excited by the hype created by Iron Fist’s predecessors, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, all brilliant shows and all brilliant characters. I had allocated a weekend to binge watch Iron Fist, and soak up into the nerdy awesomeness but found myself disappointed and here’s why.

I have always said to myself, the first 10 minutes are critical in getting you hooked on a show, so I watched without an opinion but alas as it went past 10 minutes’ marker, it went from enjoying myself to watching it for the sake of watching it, I wanted it to end as quickly as possible in the hopes of it getting better the next episode, oh how wrong I was.

Iron Fist, for those unaware of the plot, tells the story of orphaned Danny Rand (Finn Jones), a martial arts whiz and heir to a business empire who has spent the past 15 years living as a warrior monk in a mystical alternate dimension. And this could have been extremely cool and well different and as back stories go, it was unique but the show failed to use that uniqueness to its advantage.

It’s a major kick in the teeth that the show doesn’t perk up audience’s interest until the sixth episode and because it’s a 13-episode series, that’s both disappointing and well shocking.  But many people could say that it takes a while for a series to actually build up interest, in terms of Daredevil for me, the first season was slow and it took me a while to really understand the character of blind hero; Matt Murdock, it took me longer to develop any care for the character also and in comparison the villain from the first season was more interesting.

Jessica Jones being by far the strong tv series of Marvel, could easily have lost 2 episodes without suffering as they didn’t benefit the plot in any form or shape. Luke Cage as glorious as it was, felt slow at first but his character development in Jessica Jones made us stick through that slow period.

However, Iron Fist’s problems are a little more complicated then these minor issues that the previous Marvel tv shows faced. The hard-core fact is that it just simply drags when it clearly shouldn’t. Literally the show is about a billionaire who is back from the dead who can sporadically “focus his chi” and bring forth his magic glowing super fist powers, and yet it drags. It should flow nicely with hints of humour, self-aware jokes, a lot of action sequences.

Tiny scenes between David Wenham’s sinister Harold Meachum and his assistant, for example were welcome, but all in all really indicated how boring the narrative of the show was.

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For contemporary audiences, white male comic book heroes whose powers draw upon perceived mysticism can be seen negatively: in saying this, Marvel faced a whitewashing backlash ahead of the release of Dr Strange, and a white saviour backlash ahead of Iron Fist’s release.

Without undermining these critics, it’s worth noting that Jones (who also starred in Game of Thrones) does indeed give a solid performance of a person trapped between two cultures. There is a definite exploration of his character, he’s no hero but instead is a vulnerable man child in a sense.

In turn the whole cast are full of strong individuals, Jessica Henwick makes a chill, self-possessed Colleen Wing, a local Dojo owner who unwittingly strikes a friendship with Rand. Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup wonderfully portray sibling characters Ward and Joy Meachum, childhood friends of the protagonist and also co-heirs to his family business who are now struggling since his sudden return. (Ward in an evil killer way, Joy in a confused way; both in a stylish business attire way).

There’s also the return of Carrie-Ann Moss’s lawyer Jeri Hogarth and Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple. But as always all are let down by the pace of the show and repetitive dialogue, like I said the show doesn’t really enhance the hidden talents it has.

Plot points should have definitely been pressed and given a sense of importance, example being Rand confined in a mental ward and struggling to really find himself, felt well lacking and unimportant whereas the action scenes or fight scenes rather felt dry and didn’t provide a sense of danger.

There was definitely lazy writing as the character of Rand really could have been explored and expanded in a way where we could have seen his otherworldly qualities and a chance to have a peek at how the mystical city where he came from looked like. This would have definitely allowed the audience to root for him rather than just feel well frustrated and sorry for him.

Diehard fans like myself found myself forcing to sit through the painful agonising story of Iron fist, purely to keep myself up to date with the character of Iron Fist. This was also done because Iron Fist plays a big part in the upcoming Defenders, which fuses Iron Fist’s fellow TV heroes, Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage into a team. The series is expected to be aired in late 2017 and hopefully with the addition of the other characters, Iron Fist can become more tolerable.

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Cause whereas I forced myself to watch this show, not everyone has the time to spend five hours or so to wait for a TV series to really get well good. Generation Z gives Iron Fist a solid 5/10, purely because of the potential and the choice of the cast of the show. Better luck next time Marvel.

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