Iron Fist, Marvel TV's next offering on Netflix, is getting destroyed in early reviews from critics.
No, that's not a mistake. A Marvel property that is technically part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting absolutely putrid reviews on Rotten Tomatoes:
That was at ZERO percent for awhile, 10 reviews in before getting its first positive review from an obvious source:
One shouldn't be surprised that the self-proclaimed "Church of the Lord and Savior Kevin Feige" also known as Collider would be the first to give Iron Fist a fresh review, but even they were critical of the new Marvel Netflix show, which led to some incredulous reactions from angry Marvel fans:
If you're unaware of the racial controversy surrounding Iron Fist, it started last year when Finn Jones from Game of Thrones fame was cast as the title character Danny Rand, prompting outrage from social media and other social justice warriors aimed directly at Marvel for "whitewashing" an Asian character.
What makes the controversy intriguing is that Danny Rand wasn't exactly written as Asian in the comics, at least not any of the ones that I have seen or are aware of in the Marvel collection. I'm not an Iron Fist fan, nor do I have anything against him but I don't have much prior knowledge of the character at all. So to me, it looks like people are upset that the opportunity to make the character Asian, which may not have been as available in 1974 but is completely accessible in 2017 was not exercised, with Marvel electing to keep Rand Caucasian.
Naturally, angry Marvel fans are proclaiming the bad reviews for Iron Fist to be a smear job from the critics who are angry that Rand is still a Caucasian character, but while that is certainly part of the issue the critics are having it doesn't explain the complaints that the show is "boring, stale, unoriginal and underwhelming." Despite the fans wanting to point purely to the racial controversy as to why this show is getting skewered in early reviews, it seems to have many more issues than that on first glance.
It will be another week before we the consumer can get our first crack at the show, on St. Patrick's Day no less but these unfavorable critical reviews have created a great swell of irony for comic book movie and TV fans right now. Suddenly, even briefly the tables have turned and instead of DC Extended Universe fans crying conspiracy and claiming the critics unfair, it's now Marvel fans who are doing it here as this is really the first time an MCU property has gotten critically panned at all. As you might guess, the schadenfreude by DCEU fans has been delicious:
Now, I have two thoughts on all of this as a Marvel fan that prefers DC. First of all, I'm not jumping for joy that Iron Fist is getting panned because I like the Marvel Netflix shows and I completely intend to watch this one when it comes out. True to my form and opinions, I don't really care what Rotten Tomatoes has to say when it comes to watching a movie or TV show so I will be judging it myself when it comes out and I hope that I like it because I don't want to waste 13 hours on a bad show. All of that being said, I completely get the DC fans that are bit gleeful about the bad reviews in the wake of all of the critical panning and torture that they have endured in the past year about the DCEU. It's nice to see the shoe on the other foot for once and implies a degree of fairness, as silly as that might sound. To be clear though, Rotten Tomatoes means as little here with Iron Fist as it does with anything else. It is STILL the responsibility of the fan to watch the show themselves and form an opinion on it.
And that's my second point on all of this: I WILL watch this show and give it a fair shake despite the controversy surrounding it, because at the end of the day I DON'T want it to fail. I don't want any comic book property adaptation to fail whatsoever. Just because I have a preference for DCEU and DC Comics in general doesn't mean that I wish failure on any of the other franchises, and when it comes to the "whitewashing" controversy with Iron Fist, I see both sides of the equation. I understand the decision to keep the character white for accuracy, but I also understand the anger over him not being made at least Asian-American, given the nature of his character and story.
Ultimately though, when I watch Iron Fist next week I will judge it on a lot more than the fact that the lead is white and not Asian. I'll be looking to see how well Finn Jones plays the role, how the show operates with regard to action, pacing and plot, and how it stacks up against its predecessors in Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. If Jones and company delivers on this in a way that I enjoy, then it won't matter if he is white or not. If they don't and any of the issues could have been solved by that particular change in my opinion, then it might come up in a review but we will soon see about that.
For now, it's important to remind everyone once again to make up their own minds about Iron Fist when it comes out on March 17......which is the same thing that many fans were telling people about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25 almost a full year ago when it was immediately saddled with putrid reviews before it even released.
The irony is just a tad delicious, I can't lie.