(First off, this article contains some information about the story line. If you don’t want to know any of it, you should not read it though I try not to spill the beans and try to keep it abstract or cryptic)
Finally I’m done watching all the 13 episodes. Now I didn’t read the ones with spoilers but I ran some research on Iron Fist before I started to watch. So often I saw a lot of reviews dismissing Iron Fist as boring. But actually, I didn’t get bored, not by the long shot! Well, I agree that Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were good but I enjoyed Iron Fist, too. Maybe it’s because I had lowered my criteria but I have been living more than half a century so I know what I like and I don’t care what people think. I like what I like and I don’t let other people’s opinions cloud my judgment, I can like and say that I do whatever I like even if 99 people in the room hate the thing I like and I’m the only guy who likes it. I know everyone has their own tastes and they are different. Sorry but not sorry. If I’m not on the same page with other people, I don’t try to get on their page. Well, sorry about this mambo jumbo. I need to be clear.
Now what’s going on? Well, if I point out the things I don’t like first. Well, I don’t deny everything critics say. Their point is everything, from a story line to characters are too flat. Yes, I admit that. Everyone is sort of weak. Everyone is at odds but conflicts are not too strong. I also admit that after the first couple episodes, they failed to pick up the tempos and the story was lagging a little and sort of boring. But there were those moments in Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, too. Maybe the only show that didn’t have it was Daredevil. I was not able to stop at the cliffhanger at the end of the episode that I stooped in the middle of the episode where things got solved.
But after (I forgot which one but) Harold went ballistic, the things started to accelerate and I liked how they built toward the climax. And those mid episodes, too, were not so bad. They may be just too cryptic and ambiguous. I felt that, too. Well, ambiguity is the trait of the Japanese culture but in a way, I don’t really belong to one culture. When I was 18, I did the homestay in the U.S. I asked my host parents to re-educate me as an American. I asked then not to think of me as a non-American boy and correct me whenever I did something weird in the American perspective. Thank God they did! So I am a man of two cultures and honestly I like it! I basically don’t care what other people think in the first place (though I am so sensitive to it and maybe I learned not to care because I was too sensitive and I subconsciously tried to protect myself) so I am enjoying who I am than am made to suffer from it, I’m saying this because so often I have seen people who have different tastes or different background suffer from it. Well if it involves hazing or bullying, which is so in many cases, it is totally different matter. But if it is not or just mild, maybe occasional smirk or ironical comments, I don’t care. And the intriguing fact is that if you don’t care, people can’t hurt you and if they know they can’t, they will stop doing that.
Anyway, in the middle they were lagging a little. They looked as if they don’t know how to move the story forward but at the same time just learning more about Gao or the Hand is enough quid pro quo for me to spend some hours watching all those episodes in the middle. I like the occasional references to the Japanese bushido philosophy though I disagree many of their interpretations, but for what it’s worth, none of them are off the mark. Some of them are just different from the way I see them. They are not wrong though some of their ways to use swords are not just different but wrong. I am a dreamer and still am dreaming about becoming a writer in English. Maybe that’s why I am writing this. And one of the things I want to write about is Samurais or swords masters I see. Not academic crap. I want to write about real Samurais, the pioneers, who earned their positions in wars, or real sword masters who survived in hell and emerges as champions. Sorry about digression. Watching 13 episodes in 2 days got me thinking a lot, I guess.
So though I agree with some critics in that this is not a flawless, impeccable series but the way I see it, Iron Fist is not so bad as they say it is! If I rank the Defenders series so far, 1. Daredevil 2. Iron Fist / Jessica Jones / Luke Cage. I like Daredevil because it has the intensity the other sries don’t have. The conflicts are intense, each character is described profoundly. As for the other series, maybe because of the villain Kilgrave, Jessica Jone is better by a nose but that’s all I see. I still feel Iron Fist could have been better if they had picked up more tempos in the middle and if they had more intensity at the end but still they were entertaining enough and I don’t regret any minute I spent watching the whole series.
Beside they mentioned Murray’s bagels and Joe’s pizza! These names alone make me smile and make my mouth water! I still remember the taste of them. The biggest problem of the shows of Netflix is there are so much NYC in them that I can’t contain my yearning for it! I got to get back to NYC. I wrote about my first homestay experience but the second biggest impact on my life happened last summer in NYC (I spent 10 months in Vermont and 3 months in Kentucky but 1 and a half months in NYC have more impact on me than those longer stays). I prepared everything by myself. I even found my own studio. The moment my plane arrived in Kennedy Airport, I told myself. “I can die right after this. I will give up five years of my lifetime. I want every cell and since of me to wake up to absorb every single thing I see and hear and sense for that matter here in NYC.” And I think my whole self and soul followed that. My 45 days there are worth 500 or 1000 days. I spent every minute (beside attending classes and doing homework) walking around as many places as possible. I went to Brooklyn to Bronx. I ran with some families visiting Bronx Zoo in the rain for the shelter. I drank and sang with Yankees fans in the cheapest seat of the Yankee stadium. I talked with the tired middle-aged man sitting next to each other on the bench in Central Park, watching an amateur baseball game. I walked around in Union Square. I drank beer with my classmates and danced in Bryant Park. I walked around East Village, drunk with my friends 4 in the morning and ate a slice of dollar pizza (and it was as good as Joe’s. And I loved Six-Point beer served in the bar on the 26th street). I had already visited touristy places in NYC already so I visited other places.
Now back in Review again. Iron Fist is maybe if you see it harshly with “objective professional eyes,” a piece of garbage. But to me, it was quite entertaining though I admit that it was a tad flat in the middle but it was nothing to fuss about. Conversely, now that I am deeply into the Defenders series, there are so many pieces of information imbedded in each episode. I like a cut little Joy and Japanese bushido instigated girl. And I can’t hate Danny Rand. And maybe more importantly, there are so many NYC in it.
So I give 8.0 to this and rank Iron Fist as high as Luke Cage. I really liked it. The word is (or according to some prediction by amateur critics, the Defenders might be released on May 17th. (Am I right? Correct me if I’m wrong). I just can’t wait!
Star Wars fans might say, “May the Force be with you.” I would say, “May the Chi be with you.!