American pop culture has a long history of influence via martial arts and mysticism. Bruce Lee, The Karate Kid, Street Fighter, anime – all have had an impact on American culture at some point or another. There was something about the mystery and power behind martial arts that drew people in. It was during the 70’s that the martial arts had an especially strong impact on the media we consumed. Many of the most popular movies and tv shows had some sort of relationship with martial arts.
Heavily influenced by Shang-Chi, Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu and a 1940 character by the name of Amazing-Man, Iron Fist smashed his way onto the pages of Marvel Comics in Marvel Premiere #15. Creators Roy Thomas and Gil Kane even got the name from a Kung Fu movie. Iron Fist knew his way around the martial arts and had the ability to channel his chi through his fist (hence the name). After a 10 issue run in Marvel Premiere, Iron Fist moved onto his own solo series and then, over the years, partnered up with various heroes including Luke Cage and Wolverine and even joined super teams such as The Avengers and the Defenders.
Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix is the final chapter in the lead up to the highly anticipated Marvel/Netflix team-up show about the Defenders. Starring Finn Jones (Game of Thrones, Hollyoaks) in the title role, Jessica Henwick (Game of Thrones, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as the tough-as-nails Colleen Wing, and Jessica Stroup (90210, The Following) who is a childhood friend of Jones’ Danny Rand. Also returning is fan favourite, Rosario Dawson, as Claire Temple. In this Netflix take on the Iron Fist story, after 15 years of being presumed dead, Danny Rand returns to New York from the mysterious land of K’un L’un in an attempt to regain the life he once had. After finding that things were far different than he expected, he struggles to find a balance between the way things are and doing the right thing – especially when his friends and family may have changed more than he has.
The show strikes a nice balance in tone between the darker Daredevil and Jessica Jones and the light, at times humourous, Luke Cage shows. With several strong female characters, most of which maintain their own sense of agency, the surrounding cast serves to elevate the show to a higher level than it would have been without them. There is plenty of action, not just with Mr. Iron Fist himself, and even its own take on the iconic Netflix/Marvel hallway fight scene. Finn Jones has the Danny Rand look down and even manages, at times, to capture the confidence (or cockiness) of the comic book character. There are plenty of winks and nods to the greater Marvel universe and, for those from Toronto, there’s even a hometown shout out in the second episode.
As we near the launch of The Defenders later this year, this final piece of the puzzle brings an interesting end to the lead up. Each of the various series has had several differences that will make the amalgamation an interesting challenge. The acting abilities/styles and action sequences have differed somewhat from series to series so I’m looking forward to seeing how it will all come together. Starting March 17th, you can get ready for the Netflix/Marvel team adventure we’ve all been waiting for by watching the 13 episode season one of Marvel’s Iron Fist.
If you like these then Marvel’s Iron Fist might be for you:
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Marvel’s Luke Cage
Kung Fu movies
By Kevin Joseph