Marvel’s Iron Fist: Review

Danny Maguire, Head Editor

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Netflix has become a tremendous part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not in streaming the movies, but in creating and releasing television shows. For Marvel TV series, there is actually a split: ABC produces Agents of Shield, which is into its third season. Unfortunately, this show lacks a coherent plot line and is made as an unashamed mass-market appeal, even as viewership drops. However, there are now multiple Netflix Original Series for Marvel, which are much higher quality and provide vastly superior entertainment.

It began a couple years back with Daredevil, a series about a blind lawyer who fights crime inside and outside of the courtroom, with the help of his other heightened physical senses. This show has already run two seasons. Next came Jessica Jones, about a mysterious private investigator with superpowers of her own. Soon after, Luke Cage was released, about a man with impenetrable skin. Most recently, Iron Fist made its debut, about the long-lost but returned heir to a mega-corporation who had spent years of his life learning martial arts in the Far East (no, we’re not talking about Batman). However, he was actually training at a monastery in some sort of heaven, and gained the ability to channel his qi into his fist, giving it the power of solid iron.

The four above heroes all operate in New York City, specifically in the Hell’s Kitchen district. Together they will form a superhero team called The Defenders, which will be the subject of the next Netflix Marvel series. There is no word yet on how they come together or what evil force they will be fighting.

There has always been a strong divide between the opinions of film and TV critics, and the opinions of the general public about Iron Fist. In this case, critics bombarded the show with negative reviews. However, it has been well-received by audiences. I, like many, believe the critics are terribly wrong in this case. In contrast to Iron Fist, critics loved Luke Cage, which came out just a few months before. However, Luke Cage, had an unreasonably positive impression on critics because it focused on the struggle of African-Americans in New York, especially against a white elite. This appeals to today’s critics in the current social circumstances, but I must say I was rather disappointed both in the critics and the show. It was still an acceptable program, but the pacing and character development did not suit the theme, among other issues.

Iron Fist, on the other hand, has been criticized as a “White Savior Narrative”. Besides the fact that this is fundamentally untrue (the main character is indeed white, but he is the one that is helped by everyone else, not the other way around. He makes a best friend and sidekick with an Asian swords-master who regularly saves his life and was rescued from a plane crash and trained by Asian monks. He is essentially incapable on his own), it would not affect the quality of the show. The pacing was finally right, the action was superb, and it all resolved fairly nicely, while leaving new questions unanswered.

Ultimately, it is my opinion that critics have made the past two Netflix series, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, about race, and judged them according to this. However, audiences have shown that they just don’t care.

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