Netflix and Marvel Try to Unleash the Iron Fist

Danny Rand looking tough

Very few kids are kung fu fighting in Iron Fist and none of them are as fast as lightning.

I don’t expect a lot from comic book based movies or television series. However, I do expect something remotely entertaining. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Daredevil. Luke Cage ran from hot to cold and Jessica Jones was a disappointment. It seems, after three episodes watched, Iron Fist is landing somewhere between Cage and Jones in overall quality.

Three episodes into Iron Fist and we’re subjected to a is-he-or-isn’t-he Danny Rand plot line. Even if you watched Iron Fist without reading the plot synopsis you know the person claiming to be Danny Rand is Danny Rand. Social media and ads have bombarded us with the fact that Danny Rand is Iron Fist. We know he’s Danny Rand. Why not give us a story that doesn’t insult our intelligence?

Iron Fist lost in New York
Didn’t bathe for the first two episodes and no one mentioned his bad body odor.

In the first episode, Rand returns to New York years after he’s been declared dead. No one in the Rand Corporation building (the building he fought security guards to get into) believes he’s Danny Rand. Unfortunately, Rand can’t prove his identity. The second episode makes it quite clear that Rand never had a birth certificate and doesn’t have any DNA samples. Right? How does this happen in the 21st Century?

It may be a stretch to think that there is no DNA of Rand available to test, but it was 2001 when he was presumed killed in a plane crash. Facebook may not have been a thing then, but the internet existed and record keeping has been around for thousands of years. Even if you had the money and power of an evil corporation it would be practically impossible to wipe someone out of existence.

It’s ridiculous to think that even the child of a rich, powerful CEO wouldn’t have a birth certificate. Even hospitals mega-rich CEOs go to would submit paperwork to the city’s department of human services. It’s so new parents can get birth certificates. It’s kind of the law in most states. What would the purpose be not to get your child a birth certificate except to make it harder to prove their identity years later?

What about other things that would leave trails for someone to follow, like school records? Nope. Rand was homeschooled by his mother. We’re to believe, even after he names three other teachers besides his mother, no school records exist. It’s not as easy as buying a textbook on Amazon to homeschool your children. There are a lot of forms that need to be filled out, submitted, and approved. There is so much paperwork involved in being able to homeschool a child it would leave quite a long trail. What about thes teachers? They don’t have any records of teaching Rand at all? Yup, there’s a lot of paperwork. 

Dental records? Of course not, don’t be silly. However, there is *gasp* one one x-ray that can prove his identity. One x-ray to rule them all! What are the odds? And what are the odds that Ward Meachum (Rand’s childhood bully friend who runs Rand as his father’s mouthpiece) and Rand remember the x-ray at the same time? Really good as a matter of fact.

Somehow this guy managed to erase the fact that a person ever existed.

Convenient, right? What’s not convenient is having to sit through three boring episodes of contrived and cliched material. There’s been a lot of movies and series where the main character has to prove who he or she is while the audience already knows the truth. Unknown, staring Liam Neeson, is one good example. In Iron Fist what finally proves he’s Danny Rand is a fingerprint on a clay dish he made as a child. Holy deus ex machina, Batman!

Okay, so the story so far is really, really weak. What about the fight scenes? It’s called Iron Fist, right? Be honest, it’s one big reason why we were excited about Iron Fist in the first place. He was trained by warrior monks of the Pink Crane Ladies of Rydell High or something like that. Rand should be Shaolin kicking his way through these episodes. But…he’s not.

Pink Ladies not found in Iron Fist
Probably not the Pink Cranes that taught Rand his fighting style.

In fact, there’s really not a lot of Kung Fu fighting. The stand out fight scene is between Colleen Wing and Daniel Rand. It lasts about thirty seconds and ends with Wing on her back. Another scene shows Wing training her students on the streets. The scenes are slow, deliberate, and looks exactly like what it is- Actors who took a few basic hand-to-hand fighting classes before filing on the series started.

We’re only three episodes into Iron Fist, but things aren’t looking good for Danny Rand. The story is cliched, insulting, and uninspired. What little action scenes there are play out like kids fighting on a playground. There’s ten episodes left in season one which means there is still room for improvement.

Join us next time as we look at the next three episodes. Will the acting improve? Will characters be developed further? Will we see the iron fist in action (okay, we saw it once even after Rand said he couldn’t perform because of the drugs in his system) or is Iron Fist doomed to join Jessica Jones in suck city.

Iron Fist showing off his iron fist
Now this Iron Fist has skills.