Iron Fist and Writing

Netflix has been pounding out a slate of series gearing up for their Defenders finale. The first was Daredevil which simply rocked the house. It was so good, I watched it again. Second season as well. Next was Jessica Jones. I didn’t do a highlight on that as I was on my hiatus but I want to let it be known here that the writing on that was, in a word, horrid. Worst of them all. Next was Luke Cage. I was excited about that but after watching the series found it to be sub-par at best. Last on the list before the defenders series comes about is Iron Fist. After watching the trailer at first, I had my reservations but once I saw the new trailer, my interest was piqued.

Iron Fist debuted this past Saturday and I and the wife have watched all 13 episodes (well, at least I did). And…wow. This was just…not so good. At all.

It first comes down to the casting. Finn Jones as Iron Fist…yeah. Just not happening. His body type wasn’t right. It didn’t look like he prepared for the part much. For someone who had been in a monastery training all day every day for 15 years, he looks a tad emaciated. Add to that the fact that is hair is curly instead of straight like the comics Danny Rand and it just added to the awkwardness of trying to accept the guy as Danny Rand. I never bought it for the whole 13 episodes.

Next was the plot. The whole series, Danny is on a quest for two things: the answer to who killed his parents and who he is supposed to be as Iron Fist. Everyone is trying to tell him who he is to be and the mystery of his parents killers jumps from here to there. But really, if you’re paying attention, it comes as no surprise who killed his parents. It’s obvious really so when the big reveal comes, it’s just an , “Eh” response because it was given away too much early in the series.

That brings me to something that I personally have learned in my writing: don’t give away too much of the main course, otherwise people won’t want to continue eating. The plot has got to be structured in a way where you give just enough that holds the reader’s interest but not so much where it becomes optional whether they want to continue on with the story. In watching this series, I skipped a couple days because I had pretty much figured out what was going on and, lo and behold, it’s exactly what I thought. That, my friend, is a death knell for a writer’s work—predictability. Take the time to give those small clues but make it small, not glaring. Iron Fist began to just be a rehash of what we knew was going to go down and many times the writing went in circles to try to stretch it out to thirteen episodes when it could have been done in seven.

Add to this the cry of “Don’t kill! You never kill!” from the bleeding heart liberal of the series, Rosario Dawson. She was like that to a degree in Daredevil but it was particularly strong and whiny in this one. While she’s decrying killing she is at the same time criticizing the justice system that she is telling Iron Fist to use. That’s not so bad if her attitude in the portrayal didn’t emanate this tone of arrogance and hypocrisy. The writers tried to use her as a voice of reason and instead she ends up being some annoying, politically correct know-it-all that you want to throw your hand up at and scream, “Get out my face with that nonsense!”

But what really did it for me was the final episode. Good googly moogly…you want to talk about anti-climatic.

The first thing that was just lame was the fact (SPOILER ALERT) that the hero had to be saved by a supporting character. Good grief. That is the worst kind of writing. For it to happen in the middle of the story is one thing. You can accept it then because your hero is still growing. But never, ever have the main character have someone else pull them out of the fire at their moment of truth, the apex of the story. That is awful writing. Awful. To see examples of this, look at films Iron Man 3—which is where I first talk about this faux pas—and Unbreakable with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

Add to that that the ending leaves you just sitting there going, “Really? Are you kidding me? That’s it?” One of the worst endings out of all the series. Even Jessica Jones had a better ending and I hated that series.

The writing in Iron Fist was just bad. The plus is that the profanity went down in this series compared to the others but the plot was anemic and I’m being nice. Bad writing, bad dialogue, weak plot construction (though the plot thesis is sound). Out of all four series, this comes in third with Luke Cage second (I’ll review him later. I have seen it) and Jessica Jones last (*sigh* Wait for the post on this one as well). Doesn’t make me want to jump up and down to see the Defenders. We can only wait and see if they learn from their mistakes.

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