MARVEL’S IRON FIST: WHAT WENT RIGHT, AND WHAT WE CAN DO
It’s amazing to see how the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has built up its interconnected universe on the small screen. Time, chance, coincidence and opportunity all seem to have worked to Marvel’s advantage as they have not only seen success in their most popular titles, but have also seen the return of some of their long-lost titular characters such as Spider-man, Blade, Daredevil and Punisher. Now, it was the worry of so many of us fans that each of these individuals wouldn’t get justice done to their characters, but again, the MC did us proud.
Taking into consideration the fact that the MCU is the first of its kind to weave an interconnected universe in the form of movies and the small screen, it should not therefore, be a cause for alarm when they dare to try something new. I am careful to point this out since there is so much that the MCU is still yet to discover—and building a unique feel, theme and story for every character is not knew to Marvel, let alone its comics. One way to look at it is that, like the comics, Marvel has never shied away from tackling current issues (sorry DC, but Marvel did this better).
Perhaps one of the most daring moves by Marvel under the leadership of its forerunners, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, being one of them, Marvel broke the approach to doing comic-books. Also, on the same note, it could be said that the decision to take certain concepts from DC and flip them was a conscious decision to prove that they could do it better. Though debatable, it’s still a fascinating topic for fans to discuss. So, I’ll leave that to you true believers. If we could then take that understanding to mind, then we could argue-all Marvel fans out there-that we could not have gotten some of the most memorable characters that the world has seen had Marvel (called Atlas then) not dared to create characters who challenged the norm and what defined super-heroes, we wouldn’t have been thrilled to see what’s going on before our very eyes this day and age.
It would not have been thrilling to plead for Sony to let go of Spider-man; or for us fans to plead for Punisher, Daredevil to be brought back; or to even hope for the return of the X-Men and the Fantastic 4 to Marvel from Fox. That is why we fight for them to be brought home, like the father of the Prodigal Son story, only that this time we go after him and try to drag our son home. We LOVE these characters, RELATE to them and acknowledge the UNIQUE attachment we have with them. Think about this for a moment, which discriminated parties in this world cannot see themselves in the X-Men? Which child of colour cannot see himself as Spider-man or as Black Panther, a king? If psychologists are correct, that is the kind of mental stimulation that challenges the imagination and helps a kid realize his potential in such a dark world that probably won’t like him because of such silly things as their skin-color or their gender.
Then in comes a character like the Iron Fist. It’s taken me some time but I feel ready to talk about the new Netflix show of the titular character. You see, it’s crazy to attack Marvel on the account that they should have made the Iron Fist Asian—on that, I agree with Comicbookcast2, Comicsexplained and Nerdsync; there is no need, because Danny Rand isn’t of Asian descent. The second critique is that of its main character played by Finn Jones—in his defence, there was no need to attack him on social media to the point that he quit Twitter. Yes, let’s admit it, depending on whose writing the story, Danny Rand Iron Fist has always been a bit quirky but wise, and at times dead serious. Trying to find the fine line between both iterations is tricky, especially if adapted for the small screen as a live-action feature.
Kevin Tencharoen (I sure hope I spelt that right), some of you might remember that name from the Mortal Kombat live-action series that was created a couple of years back. He was one of the minds behind it. I know some of you will immediately have a light-bulb moment and realize something…Marvel took a risk with the one person well-known for birthing a martial arts-based series some years back. But, given what Marvel had, they risked, yes, they did, Harold Meachum was a more horrible villain than his Earth 616 counterpart; Colleen Wing’s story and relationship was discussed; Davos’ deviousness and 2-Faced nature; Danny’s complicated, action-filled life as the Iron Fist was aptly portrayed as well as his desire to build his father’s company and seek justice for his family as well.
I will agree on one thing, the pacing is slow and they could have done something about that. Behold the blessed place of the critic and fan; the position of evaluator and analyser. We can critique it but we also have to do it in a manner that will see the characters built and brought back in Season 2 better than ever. So, I plead with you, the MCU exists not for Marvel but for us, let’s help them build it better.