Iron Fist: Snow Gives Way
March 19, 2017 5:06 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

After being declared dead 15 years earlier, Danny Rand returns to New York. But his welcome is a far cry from what he'd hoped.

"If this is Danny ... If he's still alive, does that mean his parents are still alive? Who else knows he's alive? What does he know? Who has he told? How the Hell did he learn martial arts? Why has he waited this long to show up? Now that he's here, what does he want?"
-- Not-Actually-Dead Harold Meachum asks questions that will not be answered in episode 1.
posted by Jugwine (38 comments total)
 
Iron Fist Background Reading: Why Iron Fist Should Be Asian-American
Here's What's Going Down With Iron Fist's Diversity Controversy

Danny Rand, AKA Iron Fist, AKA the Last of the Netflix Defenders, returns to NY and the company his father co-founded after being presumed dead for 15 years. To prove who he is, he breaks into the house of one his childhood friends and briefly kidnaps another. Naturally, they try to kill him in return. Somehow, this is not quite as exciting as it seems.

The Good: Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing is not buying any of Danny Rand's nonsense. David Wenham's Harold Meachum chews scenery as the only person curious as to what Danny Rand actually wants.

The Bad: The opening action set piece looked either like everyone was trying very hard to hit their marks or that it was filmed in slow motion and then sped up in post-production. Also, the dialog and the pacing.

The Other: RIP Big Al. You were a good plot device, introducing Danny to the Google, but then you had to go.

(Sorry if I'm stepping on anyone's toes by posting this, but I am watching Iron Fist like it was homework and needed an outlet to vent about it. After slogging through the first episode, I'm not sure I'm willing to watch through the rest like it was homework.)
posted by Jugwine at 5:35 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I just started watching this myself - I'm currently on episode 3. I think the action has been slow for the most part in order to establish backstory for those who aren't familiar with the story behind Iron Fist.

To be honest, it has shades of Arrow - young company scion goes missing for years, then suddenly turns up to retake what belongs to him.

I loved seeing David Wenham in this - I remember him as Faramir from Lord of the Rings, and this is about as far from Faramir as you could get. Could he be the Malcolm Merlyn to Danny's Oliver Queen?
posted by Roger Pittman at 6:11 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I've read nothing but terrible reviews like this one (caution: spoilers) and I was really enraged that they blew such an obvious opportunity to modernize with an Asian or Asian American (or biracial) actor... or at least an actor with good martial arts skills. The reviews haven't encouraged me to watch it. Partially because I could just already watch Arrow if I wanted to see Young White Billionaire Now With Mystic Superheroing Skillz.
posted by TwoStride at 6:16 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


I must confess, I never read Iron Fist or Iron Fist and Power Man when I was a kid - I got my kung fu RDA from Shang Chi - Master of Kung Fu, and before I start rambling I must confess that I'd have liked Marvel to hand that over, Fu Manchu and all, to a Hong Kong or Shanghai team to make as a meditation on imperialist chickens coming home to roost. It's always so tempting to talk about the series one has made up in one's own head rather than the one that's bouncing off one's eyes. Or is that just me?

Anyway, I'm up to episode four, and I'm quite liking it, although it's very slow. I realise that everyone else hates it. I don't, but I'm not going out of my way to recommend it to anyone. It suffers quite badly from the fact that it's on at the same time as Legion, which is a bit like comparing a perfectly adequate family saloon with a Lamborghini. In terms of cultural stuff it's inevitably going to be modestly problematic at best, and there's no particular sign that they took any of that into account at all. The previous Netflix series benefitted strongly from being rooted heavily in their neighbourhoods - which were all actually anachronistic and heavily stylised verging on stereotypical - which lent a strong and quite specific flavour to each of them. So this is bland by comparison. They don't have anyone on board who was able to do for the Chinatown setting what Cheo Hodari Coker did for Harlem, so they just ignore the setting altogether. The other thing that previous series had going for them were occasionally fabulous performances - especially in Luke Cage - and the performances here are... fine.

All the other series were done in a pretty straightforward way, but in order to be more than this, the production team needed to think things through a lot more.

I'm assuming that at some point I'll watch the other episodes. Perhaps the fact that it didn't over-impress in the first four episodes means that it won't fall apart as badly in the last four as these series usually do. Though I wouldn't bet on that. And yet, I can't say I hate it, it bobbles along perfectly smoothly so far. No one seems to be doing anything wrong, especially. I just don't see why it was necessary for the series to be made at all, other than to fill in The Defenders. Do Marvel have any other neighbourhood heroes they could have put in here? Apart from Spiderman, I mean.
posted by Grangousier at 6:29 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


I've also read the terrible reviews and after this episode I'm not sure that I trust these writers with a non-white actor as Danny Rand. White Danny comes off ridiculous spouting off pseudo-asian mysticism. A race-swapped Danny handed this material would be problematic in a different way.

I do think, though, there were glimmers of maybe doing something different with the Iron Fist character. In the elevator scene, there was a hint that maybe he couldn't control his 'power' or that he was suffering some kind of PTSD. That hasn't really paid off, but there are 12 more episodes to explore that if that's the direction they're going. I spent too much time workshopping Iron Fist plots in my head before watching any of these, so I have a lot of feelings but not high expectations.
posted by Jugwine at 6:30 PM on March 19


I binged this because I just wanted to know, so I probably shouldn't talk too much until we hit the finale. (My overall impression: there's some good stuff here, but nowhere near soon enough. The show's pacing is just absurdly terrible.)

Speaking just about S1E1: this is a terrible pilot. I rarely complain about the lack of a superhero origin story, but Danny Rand is the most complicated part of the Defenders crossover. Matt Murdock and Luke Cage are very easy to get a handle on, and Jessica Jones isn't much more complex. In contrast, Danny has a backstory with extradimensional realms, a superpower that they do not explain very well, and a 'missing billionaire scion' thing going on. It's a lot to unpack, and I feel like dropping here in media res was a bad move.

He also needed some better action in the pilot just to get people on board. I know I'm not the only one who was put off by that.

The Good: Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing is not buying any of Danny Rand's nonsense. David Wenham's Harold Meachum chews scenery as the only person curious as to what Danny Rand actually wants.

Agreed. Colleen and Harold are the two major bright spots here, reacting to this situation the way sensible human beings would.

I just don't see why it was necessary for the series to be made at all, other than to fill in The Defenders.

I'll be able to speak to that more later, but I have some notions that are spoilers for later episodes. (Sadly, most of it is not 'because Danny Rand is compelling.')
posted by mordax at 6:38 PM on March 19


I spent most of this episode saying oh come on and just get to it wouldja? I don't mind a slow pace conceptually but this spent all the time doing pretty much nothing.
posted by phearlez at 6:52 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


It does strike me that they're not selling what seems to me to be the most interesting dramatic conflict: that Danny is going round giving sage advice and advanced fighting lessons because he's completely qualified to, and he just comes across as a patronising white guy. But he's not just a WASP kid with mad skillz, he's a child who was turned into a weapon. What he reminds of, oddly, is stories that people like Jack Kornfield or Gil Fronsdal (Buddhist teachers) tell about coming back to the U.S. after years in Thai monasteries and adjusting to things such as having likes and dislikes again.

But, that sort of bleeds into stuff from the next episode and later, I think, so sorry if it's spoilery. I do think that even if they're going to take their time getting round to interesting stuff, they should wink at us early on so we can be sure they're going to do it.
posted by Grangousier at 6:53 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


I was going to ignore the reviews and watch this anyway, but then I saw this.

Nope! Nope. I mean, I know the production talent is all different, but how do you go from this to that?
posted by selfnoise at 7:12 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Dear anybody who is wondering if they should keep watching because you don't think it is that great right now but maybe...

don't waste your time, it doesn't get better and there is very little redeeming value to this show.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:19 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


don't waste your time

Man, if nobody else watches, who am I going to complain about this show with?

On that note: I wonder if we might not be fine just seguing to a full season thread to do the post-mortem in. I don't imagine nearly as many people are actually going to finish this as the earlier, (far better), Netflix MCU shows.
posted by mordax at 7:35 PM on March 19 [3 favorites]


(Also, it's my opinion that it gets better than the pilot, but the high point of Iron Fist is right around the lowest dips any of the other shows suffered. I would only recommend the full watch to completionists.)
posted by mordax at 7:39 PM on March 19


I do like having individual episode threads so that I can go on the Internet within minutes after watching each one in order to register my disgust throughout the world. That said, with previous Marvel Netflix shows we've done two or three episode posts a day & I don't think I'll be able to commit to that pace. I did write up a couple more posts in this same style, but if folks think a full-season thread is more appropriate I won't put them up.
posted by Jugwine at 9:01 PM on March 19


Remember: We did not get a Ms. Marvel TV series- we got this instead. We3 did not get a Black Widow movie- we got Ant Man and Dr. Strange.

I think the gloss is rapidly wearing off the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
posted by happyroach at 9:33 PM on March 19 [5 favorites]


Yeah, nthing everyone noting that Arrow got here firstest and better. And it's not just long-lost presumed-dead scion-of-industry returns out of the blue having spent years learning fighting skills - there's the corporate shenanigans, the familial distrust and deception and betrayal, the surprise "also not dead" characters, the part where the hero has not reached his full power because of his man pain survivor's guilt.

I actually would have preferred less origin story, not least because this whole series is basically origin story, and not only is it getting tiring, but the other 3 Netflix MCU series were actually (IMO) all the stronger for intentionally avoiding as much origin story as they could. The Iron Fist back story might be complicated, but we're‚Äč barely getting any of that while still having to sit through a (very) slow process of creating an origin story of the Iron Fist in modern NYC.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:27 PM on March 19


Remember: We did not get a Ms. Marvel TV series- we got this instead.

This makes me so sad.... I WANT A KAMALA KHAN SERIES !!!
posted by Pendragon at 1:49 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Remember: We did not get a Ms. Marvel TV series- we got a big screen Captain Marvel movie starring an Oscar winner and five Netflix series about the Defenders including this instead. We did not get a Black Widow movie- we got appearances by Black Widow in five plus movies and a solo movie within five years plus Ant Man and Dr. Strange.

Please, a little perspective. As a kid, I had Ant Man comics. I had Dr. Strange comics. I had Power Man and Iron Fist comics. I had Defenders comics. I did not have Black Widow comics, but I did have Avengers comics with Black Widow in them. Two seasons of Agent Carter? The kid in me is amazed and happy with it all. Sure, it could be better, and there are some big, easily avoided mis-steps. But seriously... having lived through live-action Marvel TV in the 80s, this is glorious.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:12 AM on March 20


we got a big screen Captain Marvel movie

A movie they still have to shoot and which got pushed back for an Ant-Man sequel. And a solo Black Widow movie within five years ? I wouldn't bet on it.

But enough of this derail, I binged the whole series so I will wait until the season finale post.
posted by Pendragon at 5:24 AM on March 20



I was going to ignore the reviews and watch this anyway, but then I saw this.

Nope! Nope. I mean, I know the production talent is all different, but how do you go from this yt to that?


I noticed they were cutting the fight scenes a lot and it was annoying.

One fight I did like in a later episode, no spoilers. A drunken master fight!
posted by KaizenSoze at 7:54 AM on March 20


From all the negative buzz I was expecting something pretty poor. This was, okay. I like parts of it, but my biggest issue is that I think Danny is an annoying character.

We'll see how it goes.
posted by Fence at 11:55 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I watched the first four eps with my wife, and it's got a certain slow paced charm, and I don't hate the lead, but man they could have compressed the first three eps into two or even one and improved it vastly. It seems to be picking up, though implausible low-budget business shenanigans will never not be dull.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:58 PM on March 20


Oh and Colleen Wing is great, as is Trinity. Apparently shadows lady (you'll know when you get there) is also good fun.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:59 PM on March 20


Danny, a white anglophone, speaks in Mandarin, unprompted, to the first asian woman he meets. Then comes to her place of work after she asks him not to, and doesn't leave when she asks him to.
posted by zippy at 4:56 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


It's disappointing because there is a lot of fun potential in updating the hokey old 70's Marvel kung fu stuff.

The better recipe would be to combine two characters and make Shang Chi: Iron Fist, give it to a team that will actually respect the elements of different cultures the original source material appropriated poorly (Luke Cage was great at this!), and throw in a massive helping of how cool this stuff seemed when you were a kid, some damn enthusiasm and fun. Nobody caaaares about the corporate intrigue and tiresome Meachum family drama, and the Hand are incredibly boring outside of Gao (who gets less compelling the more is revealed about her). Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy could be silly because the movies just owned the silliness, Iron Fist could totally pull the same trick. Less moaning about the Hand, more punching Razor-Fist.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:27 PM on March 20


Like what if this were made by Asian creators who set out to keep the fun of Big Trouble in Little China while reappropriating the cringy tropes, that would be so cool and this show would have been a perfect vehicle for that.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:36 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I watched a YouTube video by some nerd who was talking about this, and he made an excellent point: by now, after four series, with this being the fifth, Netflix should be on point with their Marvel superhero shows. But Luke Cage set up the nosedive after the excellent Jessica Jones and Punisher bits from Daredevil, and Iron Fist is the fireball of broken corpses and fail. "The Hand" is mad boring. Defenders is going to be pants.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:48 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That Vox review is better written than this show.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:55 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


The frustrating thing about all of the stuff with The Hand is that I bet you won't really need all of the setup they've wasted time on in Daredevil and Iron Fist to figure out their whole deal in The Defenders. They're not like super complicated. Magic ninjas who bring people back from the dead and are buying up real estate and taking over gang operations for something in NYC, you could set that up in throwaway lines in a handful of Daredevil episodes. There's so much other stuff we could have had in all of the screen time The Hand got! We could have had the way better Fraction/Brubaker Immortal Iron Fist story with some minimal setup to get new viewers settled in with all the time this season spent on The Hand and the Meachums.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:06 PM on March 20


Danny, a white anglophone, speaks in Mandarin, unprompted, to the first asian woman he meets. Then comes to her place of work after she asks him not to, and doesn't leave when she asks him to.

He also demands to speak to Wing's Master despite having just seen Wing teaching a class, manplains martial arts protocol to her despite, again, having just seen her teach a class, tells the Kendo master that she should teach kung fu instead, and demands a job without demonstrating any qualifications.

So much entitlement.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:04 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


we got a big screen Captain Marvel movie starring an Oscar winner

WHEN.

We did not get a Black Widow movie- we got appearances by Black Widow in five plus movies and a solo movie within five years

WHEN.

Fuck. It's not even on the schedule.

And seriously, one woman-fronted film out of 21? That is seriously fucking weaksauce. The MCU is fundamentally, seriously, sexist.

But is because of fans like you, the ones who will want away the sexism and misogyny just so you can have your white male supers, that they're able to get away with this shit.
posted by happyroach at 10:21 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


While waiting for Marvel to come around, may I recommend The Expanse for your TV needs? Plenty of strong PoC women leaders.
posted by zippy at 11:09 AM on March 21




Reverse Iron Fist

Take my money!
posted by zippy at 12:06 PM on March 21


Made a full season post here .
posted by P.o.B. at 12:35 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


But is because of fans like you, the ones who will want away the sexism and misogyny just so you can have your white male supers, that they're able to get away with this shit.

Oh please, stuff your idiocy. I'd be more than happy to watch a Black Widow movie, a Captain Marvel movie, a She-Hulk or Spider-Woman movie (Jessica Drew, Julia Carpenter, or the Gwen Stacy version). I don't care. I'm happy with it all. I enjoyed the Elektra movie, and I have it on DVD. I saw Supergirl in the theatre, and I'm excited for the new Wonder Woman flick. I thought the F4 casting of Michael B. Jordan was inspired, and I defended it here (until the movie came out, because there's no defense of that movie). I was bothered by DoFP putting Wolverine in the Kitty Pride role, and the slow decline of the X-Men movies from Jean-Storm-Rogue-Kitty down to basically Mystique.

So tell me how exactly I'm letting "them" get away with this? If I go to the movies or watch the shows they are making, somehow that's enabling their sexism and misogyny. If I don't go to the movies or watch their shows, they stop making them. I'm not in Hollywood; I don't work for Marvel Comics or Marvel Studios. All I can do is show them that I want more.

There's a limit to the number of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America stories they can make. They must branch out into other characters. And they want to keep this gravy train going. What are they going to do? They're going to dig into secondary characters, and they're going to get creative. A Patsy Walker Hellcat movie. Valkyrie. Black Cat would be awesome. Young Avengers with Kate Bishop and Cassie Lang. And there's a lot of newer stuff created after I stopped collecting comics.

I know it sucks to say, be patient. I don't want to wait either. But having lived through the Nicholas Hammond Spider-Man TV show and Lea Thompson's singing in Howard The Duck, all I can say is you may think things are bad now, but you have no idea. I'm both happy with the quality we're getting now, and excited for the diversity I know is to follow.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:56 PM on March 21


Just finished this episode. This guy seems like a creeper and not at all zen.

So much entitlement.

Right? Like how many times does she have to straight up tell him to leave? Are we supposed to be watching this and not at all squirming? I'm guessing so, because he's the protagonist, but really?
posted by ODiV at 6:02 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


So tell me how exactly I'm letting "them" get away with this?

For a start, you could stop makng excuses for their sexism. Just as a start.
posted by happyroach at 9:10 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Snide reply to a pull quote. I appreciate the dialogue; I think we've both learned from this.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:56 AM on March 22


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