April 20, 2017
Iron Fist: Final Thoughts & Next Seasons Hopes
Finally finished the last episode of Iron Fist. Is it amazing? No, it’s not. But it’s not completely awful. There was the shadow of something really good there and there's still potential. When Iron Fist fires on all gears, it manages moments of real fun and feels like classic 80s-era Chuck Norris/Van Damme cheese.
If you take a moment and really consider it, the showrunner and the writers had an unenviable task. Iron Fist is the last show before The Defenders so it had big shoes to fill. It also also had to tell its own story, shore-up connections to the other Netflix shows, and be sure it set-up some things that would be needed for The Defenders.
Regardless of any of that though, there will undoubtedly be a second series of Iron Fist. Despite being panned by critics, it scored big numbers for Netflix. So here are my thoughts on how to make second season better:
Pacing—beyond anything else, if they fix the pacing it will help the show immensely because the pacing was terrible. Just terrible. The whole thing with Rand Enterprises and the Meechums that eats up so many of those first episodes should have taken maybe an episode. Not to mention by the time the climax came in the last episode, it lacked punch.
Excitement—an unstoppable martials arts master, a lost city, ninjas, a form of super-heroin, a dark secret of immortality that can bring people back from the dead? That all sounds like the makings of non-stop awesome. But somehow, Iron Fist manages to often be boring. Absolutely positively boring. There were a couple of episodes that felt like they went on forever to the point where I’d pause the episode to see how much time was left. Yes, I get Danny’s enemy this season is ultimately himself but you can stick to that theme and not be boring. Season 2 needs to up the excitement and the action factor by like 10 fold.
Fight choreography—Fight choreography for television programs has come a long way, a long way. If you’re going to have a show about an immortal weapon, the fight choreography needs to be top-notch. Iron Fist’s choreography was so-so at best and sometimes really kind of awkward, especially since I watched the first season of Into The Badlands right before I started it. Some of that can be fixed by giving Danny his mask so they can have an actual martial artist doing the bulk of the fight scenes instead of Finn Jones looking like he’s trying really hard and hoping his arm is in the right place.
Danny Rand—I like that Danny is often earnest. I like the on one level his growth is stunted and he’s still a kid. I like that he suffers from PTSD. But somehow, and maybe this one is just me, he manages to often be unlikeable and kind of off-putting. That needs to be fixed. (Daredevil Season 2 had the same problem though—Matt Murdoch was the least interesting character and it’s supposed to be his show.)
Mysticism/Buddhism—There are plenty of legit schools, sects, treatises, concepts, and ideas from real Buddhist esotericism that Iron Fist could have drawn from and used in the show: vajrayana, mantrayana, shugendo, shingo, kuji-kiri, mikkyo, etc. But even when they pulled out made-up Hollywood-Buddhism-like-new-age-double-talk, it was weak sauce. And the mysticism angle can easily been used to allow Danny to communicate with the previous Iron Fists to reinforce the idea that the Iron Fist is a title and role that transcends race or sex.