Marvel Returns to Netflix for Fourth Defender
By: Lucia Rossi
With “Iron Fist’s” recent March release on Netflix this year, we are finally up to the much-anticipated miniseries, “The Defenders.” However, this was quite an obstacle to overcome since this was the weakest of the four installments.
“Iron Fist” was bound for failure compared to the other Defenders, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage because of the lack of cultural controversy and diversity, among other reasons.
Daredevil is blind (sort of) and represents the disabled community, Jessica Jones is a strong woman, literally and figuratively, who represents women who are taken advantage of by men and have substance abuse issues, Luke Cage represents the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the Harlem culture, but Iron Fist, aka Danny Rand, is a white, Buddhist, martial artist, who is in the 1%.
It may not be as exciting as the others, but people tend to forget that’s just the way he was written to be.
If you like DC’s “Arrow”, then “Iron Fist” is probably fitting for you because their stories are very similar.
When Danny Rand was young, his parents died in a plane crash where he was the only survivor and was then raised by monks for the next 15 years. He then attempts to return to his old life as a billionaire owner of his family’s company, while also wielding the gift of the Iron Fist that he earned from defeating a dragon to protect the monks from the evil organization—The Hand.
Many people believe that there was cultural appropriation with Danny Rand’s character, and according to a source, the creator would have been fine with the change from Caucasian to Asian. People purpose that this is perpetuating an idea of a “white savior,” like Tarzan, but this is how the comics were written and it comes from a different time.
Capitalism is also usually a target for controversy as well, it may not be so cultural this time around, but it is present because Danny Rand doesn’t want to screw working class people for their money and cover-up mistakes made by the company.
Rand is considered bad for business because he cares about people and makes that a priority, much to the dismay of his childhood friends and business partners.
As a fan of the animated series, “Ultimate Spider-Man,” I’ve come to love and understand Danny Rand as the positive, moral, kind, sweet, Buddhist-quoting, hot billionaire and feel that the show, as well as Finn Jones from “Game of Thrones,” did his character justice.
He is torn between his duties as Iron Fist but also his desire for defending his family’s legacy. It would have helped if he had more lines to discuss the depth of his emotions.
He is different from the other Defenders as he is their most valuable asset as a fighter, being bred to kill the Hand but the weakest when it comes to leadership because he doesn’t plan things out.
“Iron Fist” doesn’t have the most thrilling or surprising fight scenes compared to “Daredevil” and “Luke Cage,” the fighting is typical and could have been better but the credit really goes to his opponents.
The best fight scene by far was when Danny fought a warrior of The Hand who had a “drunken” fighting style, using his drinking cup as a weapon.
This scene was taken when they are in “China,” which conveniently had views of the Bayonne Bridge being built behind them.
Only New Yorkers would recognize the scenery, like how The Hand training compound was our own near and dear Snug Harbor.
I think the show improved immensely with the addition of the character Colleen Wing, played by Jessica Henwick. She is an admirable, talented, Asian-American female who is badass, kicks serious butt and makes a great love-interest and fighting partner for Iron Fist.
Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson, also returns but not as a love interest this time. She gets her hands dirty this season with fights and makes references to the other Defenders, but her purpose as the connecting link character is still unclear.
In the end, the show served its purpose and that’s fine. It introduced Danny Rand as Iron Fist, continued and expanded on the storyline of The Hand from Daredevil, and set up for “The Defenders.” That is all. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t awful either.
Critics don’t usually have the same contexts given from the comics as the fans do, which I believe explains the polarity between the critic and fan reviews.
In the meantime, I’m hoping to see Heroes for Hire come to pass at some point and can’t wait to (hopefully) see Finn Jones in the iconic green and yellow costume.