Hey guys, I’m back! I just watched The Punisher and to my great surprise, I absolutely loved it. (I was mainly expecting lots of shooting and death, and I was only watching it because it's Marvel Netflix and I am a completionist. But holy crap is it amazing.) I loved it so much that I’ve been marathoning all of Marvel Netflix all over again just so that I can rewatch it with better context. Which means I have another chance to review the ones I didn’t. So here we go. Iron Fist.
“Snow Gives Way”
Written by Scott Buck
Directed by John Dahl
A cute, wide-eyed, curly-haired, beardy twenty-five-year-old in raggedy clothes struggles to persuade his childhood friends Joy and Ward Meachum that he is, in fact, Danny Rand, long lost heir to the multi-billion dollar corporation they now run. He’s spent the last fifteen years somewhere in the far east, training in kung-fu. While forced to stay in Central Park because nobody believes who he is, he encounters a pretty young dojo sensei, Colleen Wing. He wants to come work for her as a kung-fu teacher, but he still looks like a hobo, so she blows him off. He continues to be rebuffed by everyone, though Colleen starts believing him about his kung-fu skills when she watches him handily best the armed guards Ward sent after him (and we get a few other hints of those skills throughout the episode). A few times throughout the episode, Danny kind of blurs into flashbacks about his parents’ deaths. Ward gets an ominous call and heads to an art deco building. It turns out Harold Meachum is still alive, not thirteen years dead of cancer as previously established, and he’s hiding out in the penthouse of this building. Ward is the only one who knows he’s alive, not counting his personal assistant. He is extremely shady and pretty controlling of Ward. Danny’s crazy hobo friend in Central Park ODs on something, which is sad. Danny sneaks into the Rand building again for a third attempt to win Joy over. The conversation seems to go well, except that she drugged his tea, so he passes out. He wakes up in a mental institution, strapped to a bed and getting drugged again.
Not a bad start to the series. Lots of mysterious elements in play (not least of which is Danny), and the main character is wide-eyed and adorable (at least, he is to me) so you want him to succeed and you’re frustrated on his behalf when he doesn’t. However, that the focus on corporate billionaire stuff is already taking up more screentime than the kung-fu stuff is discouraging. I care very little about corporate billionaire stuff and would like to see more kung-fu and street fights and stuff. But hey, if the two halves can be woven together in some way, it could still be an improvement on the extreme compartmentalization of the Punisher arc and the Hand arc in Daredevil S2.
Things I Liked
Things I Didn’t
Okay, let’s deal with a certain elephant. The casting of Danny Rand. I do not think it was a terrible decision to keep this character a blond white dude like he is in the comics. I think a bigger obstacle to Danny being an interesting and compelling character than the race of the actor playing him is that he is a billionaire via inheritance AND the most special kung-fu master ever. It’s a bit much. What’s left to root for, once he gets what’s rightfully his? How will his problems feel relatable or realistic? Or is this just meant to be shallow escapism, because we wish that we could be billionaire kung-fu masters too? Nothing else in Marvel Netflix is shallow escapism, so if that’s the case, that’s lame. (Still, I wouldn’t have been sad if they had re-imagined him as Asian-American, which probably would have gone over much better with a significant part of the audience.) Anyway, Danny is plainly a Gryffindor, which rounds out the Defenders as having one from each house. Yay! (Matt is Ravenclaw, Jessica is Slytherin, Luke is Hufflepuff, in case you forgot where I put them or I forgot to say where I put them already.)
So far, I already don’t like Ward Meachum. He looks like a man prematurely aged from being extremely stressed all the time, which makes sense given that he’s his secretly-alive-and-very-demanding father’s errand boy. And he was a total tool when he, Danny, and Joy were all kids.
Bit ambivalent about Joy. She’s certainly more compassionate and open to possibilities than Ward, but she was also the one who drugged Danny so he could be sent to a loony bin. Rude.
Not much to know about Colleen yet, but I like her dojo and her smile is really adorable.
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.