It’s hard to find someone who gives a shit about Iron Fist. – GQ
First thing’s first: I must profess that I am not a Marvel superhero fan. At least, I’m not one that completely understands the whole Marvel Universe.
Let me explain.
I have never read a comic book. Ever. I don’t even plan to.
Iron Man came out in 2008 and Jon Favreau really got me fired up for these types of movies. I was really impressed! It was a new type of action/entertainment film with an incredibly impressive lead from Robert Downey Jr. Mix sci-fi and a lot of amazing special effects and you’ve got my buy-in. But here’s the thing about that statement: I didn’t know there was going to be a Marvel movie twice a year, for the next 20¹ years, along with network TV shows and now streaming shows. I definitely didn’t understand all of the gasps/cheers from the after-the-credit scenes that have become synonymous with Marvel films. I didn’t “get” the easter eggs throughout. I also thought comic books were supposed to be extremely graphic and violent like Frank Miller’s 2005 “Sin City“, yet this film had a PG-13 rating.
I just didn’t get it.
And yet, for better or worse, I’ve watched all of the films that have come out. I’ve even attempted to watch “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” but couldn’t get into it. For me, it’s that the movies just aren’t very good. They’re the same cookie-cutter action film that Favreau really built with the success of “Iron Man”. I’m not emotionally engaged with any of the characters and my love of explosions has failed to sustain my engagement of a film with a thin plotline.
A great video came out in 2016 that really struck a chord with me. It’s the perfect personification to me on how I feel about these films. They’re so thin, emotionless, a complete lack of connection. I mean, could you see “The Avengers” winning an Oscar for Best Picture?
Off the top of your head, could you sing the theme from Star Wars? How about James Bond? Or Harry Potter? But here’s the kicker: can you sing any theme from a Marvel film? Despite 13 films and 10 billion dollars at the box office, the Marvel Cinematic Universe lacks a distinctive musical identity or approach. So let’s try to answer the question: what is missing from Marvel music?
And yet, I keep watching. I think that I’m watching to be part of the social conversation. You see, I like to have input on the conversation when friends are talking about a film they’ve seen. Which is why I started watching the Netflix Marvel shows.
Now, “Daredevil” I was a little bit excited for because this was the first time a Marvel show or film had been produced with an MA-rating. Remember, I always thought they were supposed to have been filmed with an R-rating to begin with, so could this finally get me fired up again? Well, sort of. Daredevil was really cool. The fight scenes were really quite brutal and felt realistic. The villain, Wilson Fisk, was believable and effective. I daresay that Netflix + Marvel had won me over.
At this point, I began looking forward to the forthcoming “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage” series. They didn’t deliver with as much excitement as “Daredevil” for me, but they were still entertaining enough to watch.
Now, we have “Iron Fist“.
I don’t know anything about this story – remember, I don’t read the comics. But I was concerned from the initial trailer on what this series was going to be like. Why was there dubstep? Why isn’t he wearing any shoes? Why does this feel like a campy “Batman” knockoff of a guy returning to his company? Why do I have so many questions? More importantly, why do I get the feeling that this is going to be really, really dumb? Clearly: I was not excited.
But, I watched it anyway. And was it ever terrible.
The acting was bad. The script was horrible and felt totally drawn out (most of the Netflix Marvel series could be condensed a few episodes in my opinion). There was no real villain. There was no actual progression. Everything felt really disjointed. It was just plain, bad. I also couldn’t get over Farmir ahem David Wenham’s portrayal of Harold Meachum. It was just confusing.
This was supposed to be martial arts extravaganza, was it not? I mean, at least that’s what the trailer portrayed. But it was marginal at best. Throughout the series, I couldn’t help but think of Every Frame a Painting‘s analysis of why Jackie Chan is such an effective filmmaker.
Some filmmakers can do action. Others can do comedy. But for 40 years, the master of combining them has been Jackie Chan.
Everything that “Daredevil” got right with the fight scenes, the martial arts focused “Iron Fist” got wrong. I’m not sure how it happened, but it was really brutal to watch. It was actually really boring.
I couldn’t say it any better than a quote from GQ, “Netflix’s Marvel shows are starting to wear out their welcome.” This will definitely be the last Marvel show I watch from Netflix or any other network. With shows as incredible as “Billions” or “Westworld“, there is absolutely no reason to watch anything just for the social conversation anymore. It’s time to pick and choose what I really value as entertainment and for better or worse, Marvel is the first to get cut.
¹ This may seem like an exaggeration, but the way things are going, can you say there will be any slowdown? Yeah, I didn’t think so.