Iron Fist has been receiving mixed reviews ever since its March 2017 debut on Netflix. Marvel’sThe Defenders had a couple of major tasks on its hands. The first challenge was to bring together its four current Netflix superhero characters of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. That goal was easily accomplished within the first two to three episodes of The Defenders. The next obstacle was a bit more difficult. That job was to bring some sort of redeeming factor to the character of Danny Rand, aka the Immortal Iron Fist.
According to Fizziology (a website dedicated to social media research), Iron Fist/Danny Rand had a negative affect on the The Defenders show.
“Daredevil drove the most conversation, making up 20% of the show’s overall buzz. Danny Rand/Iron Fist was the second highest driver of conversation. However, buzz about Iron Fist skewed negative/mixed as viewers said he ruined the show. Some joked about wanting to play a drinking game to get through his parts.” – Fizziology/ComicBook.com
(WARNING: Be advised that this post contains MILD spoilers for The Defenders.)
The Fighting Choreography Improved
Thankfully, the same choreography team that worked on Daredevil also came in to take over The Defenders. You can tell that both Finn Jones and the stunts in general were improved a bit compared to what we saw in Iron Fist. Thankfully, the various directors were insightful enough to use more shadows in the scenes to help give the stunt doubles more time to do their fighting magic on screen.
New Friendships Were Made
Luckily for Danny, his character has a long history with Luke Cage in the comics. The Defenders did a nice job of bringing the two characters together while still allowing them to have some friction. Luke Cage checking Danny Rand on his “white privilege” was probably one of the best highlights of their interactions. This friendship hopefully can lead into Danny Rand’s future development as a character as his solo series moves forward.
Danny Rand Has A New Goal
At the end of The Defenders, Daredevil gave Rand an important job to take on. The hope here is that Danny Rand finally matures and grows as a character. Frankly, his immature and naive mindset is running really thin with audiences. His character did not feel fully developed in the first season of Iron Fist, so there’s a prime opportunity for Marvel to get Danny back on track in his next season.
But wait! There’s Hope!
Before we get too down on Danny Rand, there is still a lot of room to be positive. I laid out three issues where The Defenders improved Iron Fist’s character. Now I’d like to present three ways that Iron Fist Season 2 can do the chi-wielding hero some justice. It would appear that Marvel has been playing the long game with the Iron Fist character and his growth into becoming a superhero. In a past interview with TVGuide.com, Finn Jones said,
“Danny has a long way to go before he earns the title of being a superhero…Eventually throughout the series he kind of claims some kind of identity through his clothes — but we’ve got a couple more seasons to go before we get to that point.”
Well, if fan reactions are any indicator of Iron Fist’s future, then it doesn’t seem as though the show can afford to wait a couple more seasons. Danny Rand needs to just hurry up and become a superhero sooner rather than later. It’s probably one of the most practical ways to help keep fans from jumping ship on Iron Fist. (If they haven’t already.) Now I’d like to present a few areas where Iron Fist season 2 can fully redeem Danny Rand.
Danny Rand Still Needs A Costume
It goes without saying however, that Finn Jones still does not look very believable while fighting on screen. However, this shouldn’t be taken as a direct slight. A lot of actors don’t look like fighters either, but the obvious workaround is simply getting a costume. Danny Rand is long overdue to at the very least have on a mask.
Having a mask/costume clearly works for Daredevil (Charlie Cox). When his character needs to fight, Cox’s stunt double is able to seamlessly get on screen and put on a great performance. That’s what made Daredevil’s hallway fight in season 1 so epic; one continuous shot of action and a stunt double able to roam free. The same could easily apply to Danny Rand/Finn Jones.
The Writing Has to Make Danny Rand Grow
We have to move on Danny’s PTSD. I don’t mean that it should be ignored. I simply mean that we have to show some more depth in the character. We need to see Danny actually grow and change from some of these experiences and his new relationships. The Defenders did Iron Fist no favors by dragging the same exact Danny Rand from his solo premier. Iron Fist Season 2 needs to have a much more mature and wise Danny Rand. That way we can actually put some respect on his name when he tells people that he is the Immortal Iron Fist.
Give Iron Fist More Power!
We got a glimpse of what the past Iron Fist was able to accomplish with their chi in Iron Fist season 1. Now it’s time for Danny Rand to unlock more of these powers. Given the damage control that may need to take place in repairing Danny Rand’s image with fans, I think we need to go beyond just giving him a second glowing fist. That’s right. Light up his fists and feet too. I want to see him KO some henchmen with his baby toe if necessary. (Okay, maybe that’s not necessary, but you know what I mean.)
Whether The Defenders helped Danny Rand or not is now beyond the point. There’s still a case to be made that Danny Rand can totally be the hero we all would’ve hoped for him to become. The only thing is, due to the disappointment thus far, we simply need that hero to appear much sooner than previously planned.
Which of these suggestions do you hope Marvel/Netflix implements to really help Iron Fist in season 2? (Needs a Costume/Mature Danny/More Power/Other) Let us know in the comments!
Emmanuel is a Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He freelances as a writer and video content creator for sites such as MovieTickets.com. Be sure to join the other 33K+ fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]