I’m just going to come right out and say it. Iron Fist is a brilliant show. The characters are strong, the writing is good and the fight scenes are insanely good (possibly the best fight scenes in any Marvel Netflix show).
Iron Fist is a show about a man named Danny Rand (Finn Jones), coming back to New York after 15 years of being forced to live away in a mystical land called K’un Lun, a place that can only be entered or exited by people who know where the one specific path is in the Himalayas at a certain time period. He’s haunted by the memories of his parents untimely deaths and wants to honour their memories by getting back into the company that they created.
However, when he finds himself back in New York, looking like a homeless man, everyone believes he has been dead all this time and he struggles to reconnect with the current owners of the business who also happen to be his childhood friends.
The show takes this premise and spends a good few episodes giving us more information about Danny and his back story, while also exploring how he is treated in the modern day world by the people he considered family. This then continues throughout the show, having Danny meet new people who he isn’t sure he can trust.
Now, it’s no spoiler that The Hand play a huge part in this show, as the Iron Fist is the sworn enemy and supposed Destroyer of The Hand. Rumours suggest this storyline is then going to roll over into the team up show for Marvel’s Netflix universe, The Defenders.
Iron Fist does a very good job of conveying the troubles of Danny and how, even though he is powerful and very skilled, he still struggles with the responsibility of being the Iron Fist. A lot people seem to take issue with this, saying that the parts of the show that aren’t the fight scenes and the limited times the Iron Fist powerful is actually used somehow makes the show weaker. I believe the complete opposite. For the fight scenes to matter when they come around, I want to actually care about the people it involves and that is what this show does really well.
The show received a lot of bad reviews in the time up until it’s release, with Finn Jones even coming out to say “Please don’t make assumptions on our show before you have seen it,”. Since it’s release however, plenty of people have rallied to support the show. At the time of writing, Iron Fist sits on a 16% average from Critics on Rotten Tomatoes but an 87% Audience score. Whilst Rotten Tomatoes may not be the most reliable site to gauge a show’s worth, it does paint a very telling picture.
I’m not saying that if you have problems with the show that you are wrong in any way, I have problems with plenty of popular things people seem to love. I’m just saying that everyone should make up their own mind.
Now, let’s tackle the elephant in the room when it comes to this show. The “cultural appropriation” argument. I saw an article recently, published by a pretty well respected source, calling out the show for cultural appropriation.Their claim was essentially that, as a white hero, Danny learned Kung Fu and “predictably” becomes better than the locals. How exactly is this shown at all in this show? For the majority of the show, the only people Danny fights aren’t people from K’un Lun. So how exactly is it implied that he’s better than any locals?
Spoiler: The only local from K’un Lun we see Danny fight is pretty late in the series, a fellow monk called Davos. This character has an extremely heroic entrance, saving Danny on a few occasions and was instrumental in helping Danny on his quest. It was even shown that they’re pretty equal in terms of actual Kung Fu ability. The only thing Danny really has over Davos is the Iron Fist. That’s it.
Also, “why wasn’t an Asian character cast as Danny” is one of the worst things I have ever heard. Just because a character learns Kung Fu, doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be Asian does it? Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind what race the person cast is. It would’ve been cool to have an Asian actor, a Black actor etc. I don’t believe that because the character has been canonically white in the comics, means they have to be in the TV show. It would’ve been a cool move on Marvel’s part to do this. On the other hand, to suggest that it’s a massive outrage that they haven’t isn’t reasonable in the slightest. Even Marvel’s senior vice president of original programming, said that Finn Jones was “the best actor to play Danny Rand”. For the sake of argument, let’s say that ten people were auditioned for the role. People of different races. Finn was then the one who felt the best fit for the character traits they were planning on. Would people prefer a weaker actor be cast, resulting in a weaker show, purely because they’re not white? Regardless of race, the right person to cast is the right actor for the role. End of story.
To sum up my points in probably a better way, MundaneMatt has a good video:
It would’ve been cool for an Asian actor to play Danny but I’m happy with Finn Jones.