My thoughts on Netflix’s Marvel’s Iron Fist can be captured in two key elements.
These two images of the hero. I will grant that no real human can match the doodling imagination of a talented artist. That’s a given. However, Netflix didn’t even try. That’s not Iron Fist. That’s “Mid-level Management Fist”. That’s “Captain Cubicle Drone”. That’s “Law Intern Lad” on his lunch break.
I know Netflix has a strange phobia about costumes in their superhero productions, but come on. Once or twice in the series the actor wore a black muscle-shirt sort of thing. Still fully normal gym wear, but possessing more…authority than a rumpled suit and tie.
Speaking of gym wear, the opening credits featured an acceptable animation of a figure doing kung fu spins and moves. Acceptable except this animated figure wore workout sweats! They can’t even imbue a cartoon with some fire.
My point is, this bland image of “Iron Fist” standing there like a schlub sums up the series all too well. I have to admit, it is straight up truth in advertising. A more dynamic visual would have given false impressions. I should have paid attention that the product is just what appears on the label.
The second element is more subtle. In the comic book origins of Iron Fist, Danny Rand goes from orphaned kid to master of the martial arts, possessing the power of Shou Lao the Undying Dragon, in ten years. The Netflix Danny Rand requires fifteen years to attain the same level of mastery. One charges and goes hellbent for leather. The other meanders and moseys.
All the Netflix superhero series suffer from ten episodes worth of plot stretched to fill thirteen. This formula really hurts the lethargic Iron Fist. The formula took the other series from “edge of my seat” to sitting back with impatience. In Iron Fist, it went from sitting back to “trying to stay awake”.
But, I’m still keen to see The Defenders (apparently done in eight episodes!)