Monday, 20 March 2017
T.V. REVIEW: IRON FIST
Iron Man 2.
13 Episodes. Starring: Finn Jones, Jessica Henwick, Tom Pelphrey, Jessica Stroup, Ramon Rodriguez, Rosario Dawson, Carrie-Anne Moss & David Wenham. Created By: Scott Buck.
K.O.! Fists of fury fly as Marvel's one punch man finally claims his golden ticket a few courses away from the hand of the devils kitchen. All striking for his defence and fight for NYC. It's time. The back four of 'The Defenders' is complete before the eighth wonder of their Summer season plays the Ripley games of 'Alien' legend Sigourney Weaver. Still despite the assembling success of Marvel and Netflix's street-level superhero team-up, critics don't want to hand it to the last Defender. Instead they are throwing jabs at the 'Iron Fist' and Danny Rand is finding it hard to bob and weave. Lucky 'Game Of Thrones' star Finn Jones remembers his training. And that the legend of Marvel's Iron Fist began back in the seventies...no modern day appropriation. Even if critics are calling whitewashing like fellow Marvel Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson's 'Ghost In The Shell' manga anime live action remake. Sure there is definitly some ground for at the very passive racial discrimination. But in defence of these Defenders look what Marvel did with the unbreakable 'Luke Cage', the 'Jessica Jones' P.I. reveal and of course the blind ambition of 'Daredevil' (another martial arts expert like his energetic partner Elektra). But any critic calling this actually compelling set of (unlucky for some) 13 episodes bland don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to Rand's enterprise. And those white boy billionaire Trump comparisons? We won't go as far as to label it fake news. But what about that other billionaire, playboy superhero with a Stark Tower in New York? This glowing 'Iron Fist' pulls no punches even if critics are packing a wallop.
Good job Finn Jones knows Kung-Fu. And how to rock the Justin Timberlake N*Sync days blonde noodle curls. He really is taking it back to the days of 'The Matrix' (even 'Jessica Jones'' Carrie-Anne Moss is back, never one to dodge legal proceedings). Moving like Keanu in bullet time. From the first shot of the iconic 'Game Of Thrones' dark world style, meets martial arts ballet in a Turner painting over the skyline of New York theme, to all the fight scenes straight out of the hand-to-hand consoles of a video game. From hallway hatchets that rachet up the action ante, to unlimited cage fighting and iron link champion boss levels directed by 'The Man With The Iron Fists' himself. None other but the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, straight outta Shaolin. Finn is emotionally engaged as well even if some times he comes across complaining like a spoilt brat with his new toy like he was holding Thanos' infinity gauntlet...hey he is a boy born into being a billionaire after all. More Iron Man than Ip Man, yet this "child touched by fire" sets alight this graphic, comic-book world that's not suitable for bed wetters. In each fighting style named episode, from Chinese New Year carnival chase clashes in Chinatown, to Samurai swords fights in the night rain of Central Park as atmospherically dramatic as the time 'The Wolverine' did this big in the temples of Tokyo, Japan. Baring it's knuckles this Iron Fist clenched by creator Scott Buck has a lot behind it. Espeically in the year that began with one last time for Hugh Jackman's 'Logan' and will soon dominate the seasons from volume two of the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy', to Thor's 'Ragnarok' team-up with the Hulk and Doctor Strange. Not to mention the long-awaited Marvel 'Homecoming' for Spider-Man. And that's just the blockbusting big screen. On the crisp smart-phone level this Defender starts the year of their Avenger like assembling, before Jon Bernthal's Frank Castle brings more binge watching punishment until your skull can't take the heat anymore. And you thought the 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.' had it good, rolling shotgun with the Ghost Rider. Well Netflix's Marvels are igniting too...and it's all in the palm of their hands.
Helping hands come in many 'guises for the Fist however. Especially in the form of a familiar foe from another show (no, no not The Punisher...don't let your gun go off). It's a relief Rosario Dawson's Rachel McAdams rivalling Night Nurse is back to patch and link-up all the Defenders before she joins them again in being the only character to appear in all six series'. Just imagine how the beds in her apartment will look like when her guerilla surgery skills have to tend to all the Defenders all at the same time. She isn't the only heroine helping the cause however. More aid comes from the Jessica's. Henwick and Stroup. Finn Jones' 'Thrones' co-star Jessica Henwick peaks Black Widow's a## kicking and even quivers Chloe Bennett's Quake. The X-Wing pilot from 'Star Wars' really is an awakening force at Kiefer Sutherland 24 years of age, giving a hand to Rand...and some love interest too. You could cut the sexual tension between these warriors spirits with a Katana. '90210' and 'The Following's Jessica Stroup is more of a boardroom brawler mind and the emotional family catalyst of this drama that actually aside from what they say is one of Marvel/Netflix's best, brilliant backstories yet. Alongside her on-screen brother, the instantly recognisable and vocal Tom Pelphrey who now will be so for this. A scene stealing enigmatic favourite who we are with no matter how many times he slips between the dark side and redemeption as many times as his slicked back, GQ suit matching, tailored business cut ends up looking like the hair of Percy Wetmore in 'The Green Mile'. But boy if you thought he was sort of bad in a series of uncivil good versus evil war were you can't make rolling heads or twisted tails of which side you're on, then just wait until you see the sins of the father. As '300' and Oscar nominated movie 'Lion' dad David Wenham is rip-roaring as a beast of a bad man just waiting to be let out of his Gatsby lonely, art deco penthouse cage. Even 'Transformers' and 'The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3' support star Ramon Rodriguez's mysterious character has nothing on the meat and potato straight-forward hands of Welham who ham-fists one hell of death-defying human villain. Smack-dab in the middle of a Norman Osborne like characterization and a dark tower for a business as powerful and absolutely corrupting as Oscorp down the road. All in all these hands rock the critics cradle and anyone who finds this show boring may actually in turn need to wake up to this slap and high kick across the face. Because Marvel's Iron Fist hits you in ways no other Netflix show has concluding this solo legion of a group of avenging outsiders. Trumping any notion that this sky-scraping name is a Donald, Finn Jones' Danny Rand strives to be more than just his name, or the Iron Fist. No matter how many zeroes come after his name or the weight of gold light on his wrist. Perhaps it's not appropriate that this hero that honors martial arts and doesn't take from it is not Asian. But in origin sticking to the roots of character Marvel still pays homage to where martial arts comes from. And coming from within too it balances it all out like Chi, showing that anyone can be learn this art form as long as they pay their due respect. And that respect is measured in dedication without distinction. But remember no matter how strong the Iron Fist is. No student is a master quite like their sensei. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Daredevil', 'Jessica Jones', 'Luke Cage'.