by ETHAN PETERSON
creator Scott Buck
Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is a small man who does not wear shoes. He lives at the edge of Central Park where men cruise for other men, and drug addicts can occasionally find the private time to shoot up. One such fellow Danny Rand meets offers a sandwich he has fished out of the trash of a local deli, and Danny Rand eats it, with reservations. Later, he finds his salami benefactor deceased by way of a drug overdose. He leaves the body where it lays.
The three men and one woman who form the defenders have an intense love of New York. What do they like about it, exactly? Compared to the massive sprawl of Los Angeles that serves as the home of the people who produce these weird love letters to the Big Apple, Manhattan is only a reflection. Crime proliferates. Meals are had in massive, open-air restaurants totally unlike anything found in New York. Asians of unspecified origin dominate the local criminal milieu; they employ children in their drug distribution networks and plot something indeterminate for a place that can never be their home.
Rand is the presumed deceased heir to a massive company, suggestive of the actual RAND Corporation, which is engaged in the sort of research that it is better not to openly acknowledge. This sort of scientific research has deep impact across sociological and technological fields, merging them together amorphously while never stepping into the public eye. Despite having zero experience running any kind of business, Danny Rand returns from fifteen years living in a monastery in Heaven and hires a lawyer right away.
We know this attorney Jeri Hogarth (Carrie Anne-Moss) from Iron Fist‘s sister series Jessica Jones, where she is a well known piece of shit. Oddly, she is Danny Rand’s guardian angel. Even though every other person in Danny Rand’s life refuses to believe that he is who he says, she is convinced in thirty seconds. She tells him that he needs to lay low while they negotiate with the previous heirs to the Rand fortune, Ward (Tom Pelphrey) and Joy (Jessica Stroup).
Danny Rand’s only friend is Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), although she is repulsed by his general odor and lack of footwear. As soon as he can, he defeats her in a martial arts battle, because without establishing his physical superiority, a man can never be friendly with a woman. In her free time, Wing runs a dojo where she educated the local youth in hand-to-hand combat. For some reason this is more important to their lives than, I don’t know, studying.
Danny’s father’s best friend Harold (David Wenham) is secretly running Rand Co. from a magnificent penthouse apartment. “Hire someone talented and pay them twice what they’re worth,” Harold explains to his son. “They’ll always be loyal.” Iron Fist is full of these Hollywood bon-mots. Whereas Luke Cage was a tribute to Harlem and Jessica Jones was more about downtown, Iron Fist is all about New York as Hollywood. Sensing this basic displacement, critics have savaged Iron Fist.
Why do so many people hate Iron Fist? At first I wasn’t really sure, since nothing about it is particularly worse or better than anything else on Netflix. After entering into deep meditation, I concluded it is more a general fatigue of watching so many shows with a similar theme. Each of these people has only Rosario Dawson, portraying herself, to turn to in their time of need. They all fight against the exact same foe with the exception of Krysten Ritter, who battled against David Tennant because he committed the sinister crime of telling her what to do. At some point these Marvel shows start to become a lot more trouble than they are generally worth. Personally, I love a man who does not feel the need to wear shoes.
Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording.