In defense of Iron Fist

5:21:00 AM

Iron Fist Danny Rand Flinn Jones

Wow, what happened?! I try to stay away from reviews before watching something, and I am glad I did for Iron Fist (I am on episode 7).What kind of frenzy did the critics worked themselves in to?


Iron fist is completing the Marvel quartet on Netflix, after Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Danny Rand is the son of industry titan Wendell Rand. Ten years old, he loses both parents when they all crash in the Himalayan. Danny is saved by warrior monks. He is taken to K'un-Lun, another dimension that becomes connected to the Earth every fifteen years, where he is trained, forced, or willing to become a warrior himself, eventually becoming the Iron Fist, a powerful warrior with one hell of a punch.
So you understand, it is a very serious story. 

The critics descended on this show, as the Punisher himself, convinced they had to mow down the writers and Finn Jones, the actor playing Danny Rand.

Two reasons: Iron Fist should have been played by an Asian actor and the character is a tool.

Alright then. Let's see.


There is an awesome episode in Master of None called Indians on TV. In it Rev meets his friend Ravi, when they are both auditioning for a part. They are urged to act 'indian' by putting up heavy accents, making the role a gross stereotype. Afterward they check out YouTube clips of white actors playing Indian roles.
We all know that Carradine played a Chinese in Kung Fu. And that still there are so many roles played by people of the wrong nationality.
That is a disgrace in 2017.
There is certainly a problem with cultural appropriation in entertainment. But it good to keep things straight, there are a levels and subtleties.
It is possible to put yourself in Rev shoes. By example I am Italian. And I have seen many many commercials and movies where people pretend to be Italian, put up weird accents and say something as magnifico!!!( lot of exclamations point always when playing Italian.)
It is ridiculous.
On next season of Master of none, Rev is going to Italy to learn how to cook pasta. I have also seen lots of people loving Italian culture and wanting to emulate it, let's say a cook making risotto, a guy only wearing Zegna and Armani, a dark hair girl wearing a dark dress, eyeliner and a push up bra wanting to be Sofia Loren.
When I see that, I think: Girl, please.
Exactly the look his Japanese friend Coleen Wing gives Danny.
The look of bemusement.
Sure, when you use sacred artifacts from other cultures, without proper respect you are guilty of cultural appropriation. When you are dismissing a culture but still using it, well you should stop it.


In Iron Fist a blonde white dude stumbles by accident in the world of warrior monks, in a parallel dimensions, becomes fully indoctrinated by everything they believed in. Why? Because they saved him, and because they are awesome.
We all know that martial arts are awesome. It is not a new thing. This is not Elvis getting the fame Chuck Berry deserved.
It is not difficult to see a proper Asian martial arts movie. Here is even a Netflix list. I would start with Grandmaster from Hong Kong, and Indonesian the Raid. There are too many great ones to count. It doesn't have to be an American movie to be legitimized.  American is not the top of the heap when it comes to martial arts.
And after seeing that list, were all these critics also fuming, when Kill Bill came out? Uma as the bride trained by Pai may in the Five point palm exploding heart technique,  a blond leggy American is fine then? Mmm wonder why...Maybe a blond stud is unnerving but a blond babe is just hot?

I read someone putting the White savior stamp on Danny Rand. Please, did you even watch the show?
The white savior is going into another culture, telling them what to do, because they don't seem to know how to handle themselves. Here it is the other way around.
Imagine a story told during British colonialism, and a boy in one of the colonies, forced to adapt to British ways. That is what Danny's character is.  Not the savior, but the saved.

I would like critics to be able to judge entertainment. First of all, with what intention is the show or movie made. did they succeed? How is it filmed? What other works is it referring to? Who would like it to see it? How is the narrative structure? Is it believable? Can you analyze for me? Can you explain why the public reacts a certain why to a piece? How is this work related to what happens in society?
About that last question.
Finn Jones defended his character by saying people hated Rand because he reminded people of Trump, being a billionaire and the critics went off again.
Finn Jones is an actor it is not his job to analyze his work, his job is to just do it as believable as possible.
His comment went in the right direction, but didn't nail exactly what is going on.
In Trump America, where racism is so alive and sick ( not well, not at all) people on the other side are becoming hyper alert. That is a good thing, it is working, but you have to be careful not to lose perspective and start picking on your own.
In Ryan Murphy's Feud, it has been made very clear how white dudes conspiring resulted in actresses being pitted against each other, taking away their power. They didn't fight the bastards, no women started fighting each other. Only these last ten years, it seems that women are finally stopped undermining each other.
The same goes when you are faced with racism, don't attack each other, nitpicking who is the least racist or knows how to recognize it faster, kit s pointless. Just fight the dumbasses who really hate people of another color, nationality or religion and are building walls, blocking borders, changing voting rights, lying to your face about how super non racist they are.

I saw an article where Jessica Henwick had to defend herself for playing Coleen Wing. How crazy is that? An Asian actor having to defend herself for playing the badass cage fighting Daughter of the Dragon Coleen Wing.

At the end of the article she says she wants to see an Asian super hero. Totally understandable. It seems that everybody is wants to see themselves represented in a superhero.
They are the most important characters in American entertainment now.

It is a good thing The Amazing adventures of Cavelier& Clay, won the Pulitzer in 2001. It is the perfect book for the after 9/11 America. After having suffered the immense blow, the result for entertainment was that it dived itself. At one side we got peak TV, with gut wrenching, insightful, flawed characters. With innovative ideas, new voices, criticism etc. and on the other side we got a whole lot of escapism, with Marvel taking the upper hand there.
Like the two Jewish Cavelier&Clay who invented their comic book heroes to overcome their own and society's' struggles, super heroes serve a purpose. By identification the public can be awesome, fearless, untouchable, and overcome weakness, fear, powerlessness.

But in the Netflix Marvel universe, the super heroes are broody, reluctant, make some dumb decisions, have their weaknesses. Matt Murdock, *not a real Super hero, gets beat up all the time. Jessica sometimes gets too drunk to be useful, Luke just want to be left alone.
In this article in the Guardian, they attack the character of Danny Rand. Skills, skills, skills, it say. You can also hear it screaming: why isn't he better than us. Why isn't he cool as Tony Stark?

It seems rather obvious, kid goes away, is been far from civilization comes back and acts weird. He is awkward, sees everything black and white, trust everybody, and doesn't see danger.  A KID.
Iron fist is much more in the vein of Big, certainly Thirteen going on thirty, maybe something like Crocodile dundee, a fish out of water. An innocent in a dark world.
Danny is silly. He just is. He is a kid. And not a smart Stranger Things kid, he is a real kid, impulsive, easy to fool.
He is a dork, naive.
Superheroes aren't supposed to be like the people admiring them.

Look Iron Fist is no master piece, but it is entertaining, easy to watch, is fast paced, has lightness that other super hero stories lack, Danny is not tortured, even if he lost his parents.
Danny never lived in post 9/11 America. When confronted with the mother who thinks her kid has been poisoned by a Rand Industry factory, he immediately acts with compassion, wants to make things right. Danny never saw Erin Brokovitch, hasn't heard about Flint, or watched Mr Robot. There 's is no cynicism there and people can't deal.
Iron Fist is a nice change of pace, a lot less infuriating then Daredevil can be. As I said I am on episode 7, it can all still go wrong. But for now I am enjoying this one. Coleen Wing is badass, Danny wide-eyed ways bumping against the skepticism of Ward Meachum is funny, seeing Clare is great, and I can't wait for Jessica Jones to meet up Danny. You know her reaction is going to be good.
Long Story short, skip the critics, do not let them sour something sweet.

Ps I watched this on the train, this was THE COMMUTE for this week.

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