It’s no secret that Iron Fist was disappointing for many fans. It wasn’t a terrible show but the slow paced nature of the series, the poorly edited fight sequences, the overabundance of boardroom drama and the overly melodramatic portrayal of Danny Rand left quite a few Marvel fans cold.
At Fix Flick, I usually rewrite movies that disappointed me so this episode is going to be a little different. God knows no one has the time or the will to read my take on the entire 13 episodes. For now, I’ll only be tackling the first three episodes.
Let’s fix Iron Fist.
Episode 1: Snow Gives Way
1. Touched by Fire
The series begins in 2002 as we join a 12 year old Danny Rand on the plane with his parents. Danny is blasting “So Fresh, So Clean” by Outkast on his iPod but his father pulls an earphone out of Danny’s ear. They talk about Danny’s new school and he complains that he has no friends. His father is shocked by this. What about Joy and Ward Meachum? Danny shrugs. The Meachums don’t count. They’re pretty much family. Wendell Rand laughs and clasps his hands on Danny’s shoulders. He says that Danny is different from the other kids but that’s why he’s going to be a great man one day. Danny rolls his eyes and puts his earphones back in.
Suddenly, the plane begins to shake and alarms begin blaring. In the span of a few seconds, all hell breaks loose. Danny is hurled into the ceiling as everything is turned upside down. The cabin splits open and he screams as he sees his mother and father ripped out of the plane. Danny’s head slams into the window and we cut to black.
We follow a young boy in green robes walking through the snow. His caretaker, a balding man in similar robes calls out to him and tells him to stay close. We learn that the boy’s name is Davos. The boy sees something in the distance and begins running towards it.
Davos digs frantically through the snow and uncovers a young blonde boy, bloodied and burnt but still breathing. The boy’s earphones are still in and we can faintly hear “So Fresh, So Clean” still playing on his iPod as we fade to the opening credits.
15 years later, a bearded young man with no shoes walks through the streets of New York, grinning. As he walks, we notice that he keeps fiddling with what appears to be an tattered dark yellow scarf covered with intricate oriental designs that is tied around his arm. He is holding the same ancient iPod and blasting “C.R.E.A.M” by the Wu Tang Clan as he takes in the world around him with child like amazement. This is Danny Rand.
Finally, he comes to Rand Towers. Danny enters the lobby and begins to explore. Fascinated by the technology, Danny accidentally triggers a video which explains the history of Rand Industries. He flinches when he sees his father and Harold Meachum introducing the company and is shocked to hear that Harold also passed away from cancer. The video ends with Ward and Joy Meachum making an inspiring speech about the future of the company. As soon as the video finishes, a guard grabs Danny by the shoulder and he instinctively breaks the guard’s hold before seamlessly transitioning into a casual handshake. The bewildered guard tells Danny to leave. Danny just smiles and nods, happily complimenting the guard on his firm grip.
Before he exits, he takes a look at his father’s picture on the wall one last time and while he is distracted, he bumps into a woman. As Danny scrambles to help her pick up her things, Danny realises that it’s Joy Meachum. Without thinking, he blurts out her name and she seems perplexed, forgetting her files for the moment. Joy asks him if they’ve met before but Danny just runs out of the building.
Joy goes to her office, still dwelling on that strange meeting in the lobby. Ward knocks on her door and they banter briefly before Joy mentions her run in with the homeless man. She tells Ward that the man reminded her of someone but she can’t quite place it. Ward tells her not to dwell on it. They need to focus as the China expansion is looming. Joy muses that Harold had always pushed for a Chinese expansion. She wonders whether he would be proud of them. Ward says he doesn’t care. They need to stop living in their father’s shadow. It’s their time now, not Harold’s.
3. Big Trouble in Chinatown
We return to Danny’s perspective as he finds himself on a street corner in Chinatown. He begins practicing his Tai Chi and a nearby homeless man asks him what the hell he is doing. Danny absent-mindedly replies that he is meditating, searching for the source of negative chi in the city so that he can find the Hand. Danny explains that as the Iron Fist, he was sent by his master to New York to fulfil his destiny and destroy the Hand. The homeless man clearly thinks Danny is insane and asks what an “Iron Fist” is but before Danny can explain, a woman drops a few dollars at Danny’s feet before walking away.
Danny runs after her and tries to give the money back. He explains that he doesn’t need the money but she tells him to just keep it. Danny sees that she is pinning fliers for her dojo on the walls and Danny begins pestering her excitedly with question after question about her style. She is taken aback and just gives him a flier, saying that it’ll answer all his questions. Danny looks at the flier and sees that her name is “Colleen Wing”. By the time he looks up, she is already gone. Danny’s stomach grumbles and he looks at the crumpled bills in his hand. Maybe he could use the money after all.
Danny goes to a nearby convenience store and begins grabbing an assortment of junk food off the shelves. However, before he can take them to the counter, a number of tattooed Chinese men walk into the store. They begin harassing the shopkeeper, saying that he is late on his payments again. The shopkeeper begs for an extension but the gangsters say they need to make an example of him. They grab his hand and pin it to the counter. The leader pulls out a hatchet and swings it downwards. The shopkeeper screams.
We see Danny holding the Hatchet Man’s wrist with one hand while still clutching his assortment of snacks with the other. One earphone is still inserted and we can faintly here another 90s classic, “Suck my Kiss” by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers playing. To give Iron Fist’s music a different flavour to Luke Cage, the show’s soundtrack is going to be a love letter to 90s music in general, not just 90s hip hop.
The gangsters release the shopkeeper and all pull out their own hatchets as they surround Danny. He just keeps on smiling and asks the shopkeeper how much his snacks will cost. The Hatchet Men all swing wildly at Danny and he casually evades all of their attacks without dropping his snacks. A customer films the fight on his phone as Danny just dances around the Hatchet Men, gently redirecting their hatchets so that they slash each other. A practiced eye will notice Danny is deftly using Baguazhang, a primarily evasive martial art known for its fluid, circular movements.
Danny guides an errant hatchet strike into the hand of the leader, cutting off three of his fingers. The leader screams and orders a retreat. The Hatchet Men flee the scene and in the silence that follows, Danny carefully places his snacks on the counter. He yawns and fiddles with the yellow scarf on his arm as once again, he asks how much the snacks cost.
Author’s Note: Finn Jones barely had any time to train for the role and the showrunner’s refusal to use the Iron Fist mask meant that frequent cuts were required to hide the use of a stunt double. We’re just going to assume in this version that Finn had ample time to train and prepare. But don’t worry, we’re also going to fix the mask issue too so that a stunt man can handle the more complex sequences.
4. Rattle the Cage
We cut to a warehouse in Chinatown which is hosting an underground cage fighting league. The head of the Triads, an elderly Chinese man known as Mr. Yang watches the fights from the rafters. Two men are battering each other bloody in the cage. The larger of the two knocks his opponent out with a huge headbutt. As they drag the unconscious loser out of the ring, the announcer asks if there are any more challengers. The crowd goes quiet as a lone hooded woman in a traditional Japanese mask steps into the ring. The announcer excitedly declares that after a long hiatus, the Daughter of the Dragon is fighting tonight.
The fight begins and though she is smaller and weaker, the Dragon easily evades her opponent and continuously peppers him with lightning quick strikes. She begins to tire, allowing the larger man to finally pin the Dragon to the ground and batter her repeatedly. However, she catches him in an armbar, forcing him to submit. After the fight, the Dragon goes backstage and removes her mask to reveal that she is Colleen Wing. She collects her winnings and limps home to her dojo.
Later that night, the Hatchet Men who were defeated by Danny approach Mr Yang. They explain that they were attacked by an inhumanly skilled fighter. Yang speculates that the fighter may be Yakuza. Ever since the Devil drove them out of Hell’s Kitchen, they have been trying to take Triad territory. Mr Yang’s assistants shows him footage of the Chinatown fight which has gone viral. Yang is impressed and he says that they may have found someone who can match the Daughter of the Dragon.
This video is spreading fast. Joy goes home after work and as she relaxes on the couch, she scrolls through her laptop. She comes across the video of Danny fighting the Hatchet Men in Chinatown. She realises that this is the same homeless man. The video ends with the homeless man introducing himself to the storekeeper as Danny. Joy begins to grow suspicious and rummages through her cupboards to find an old photo of Danny Rand as a child. She stares at it, frowning.
This unwitting viral sensation is sitting on a Chinatown street corner, deep in meditation with an abundance of junk food heaped upon his lap. Danny flashes back to the crash and then to his training in K’un-Lun before he receives a vision. He sees the source of all the negative chi he senses in Chinatown – an old, rundown building with the sign of the serpent on its door. Danny opens his eyes and asks his homeless friend about this building. He explains that this must be where the Hand are located but the man has no idea where it is. Danny asks for a pen and he pulls out a crumbled piece of paper to draw the symbol. As he unfolds the paper, he pauses and smiles. It’s the flier for Colleen Wing’s dojo.
5. Find Your Footing
The next morning at Rand Tower, Joy and Ward finish a meeting signing off on a series of new Chinese factories. They celebrate their success but are interrupted when Ward’s assistant tells him that the pier deal has fallen through. Ward is clearly frustrated but is evasive when Joy asks him what the pier deal is about. He tells her not to worry as it is a side project that he has been working on that does not concern her. A frustrated Joy returns to her office and watches the Chinatown video again. She begins to read old news articles about the Rand plane crash.
Colleen wakes up and drags her injured body out of bed to teach her first class of the day. Only a few students show up and she is still clearly hurt from last night’s fights but she powers through. After the session, her assistant and oldest student, Darryl, asks whether she fought in the cage again. She doesn’t reply and he scolds her. She wouldn’t have to fight if she charged her students just a little more. She tells him not to worry. She’s not teaching for the money.
She hears a knock on her door and is surprised to find Danny beaming at her when she opens it. Before she can say a word, Danny lets himself in and begins poking and prodding like a precocious child at every inch of her dojo. He begins playing with a sword and Colleen hastily takes it from him. Danny asks if she can show him some of her martial arts and through gritted teeth, she asks if he would like to join a class. They have cheaper rates than any dojo in Chinatown. Danny laughs and shakes his head. He’s had enough training for a while.
Colleen asks where he trained but Danny doesn’t answer and instead shows her his drawing of the serpent symbol. He asks if she knows of a building with this sign on it and is ecstatic when she says that she knows of an old restaurant which had that symbol. It closed down years ago. She tells Danny that she will give him the address if he leaves. Looking as if he’s hit the jackpot, Danny agrees. As she writes the address on her flier, she asks what Danny hopes to find there. He laughs and simply says that he hopes to find his destiny waiting for him.
Danny soon finds the building and begins investigating. He soon realises that he is being watched and leaves the area. His pursuers corner him in an alley and pull out their hatchets. Danny actually seems excited to fight again but the Hatchet Men step aside and Mr Yang himself approaches. Yang offers Danny a generous sum to fight in the cage. Danny refuses at first as he needs to stay focused on his mission. Seeing that he does not care about money, Yang switches gears and tells Danny that this is his chance to test his skill in the cage against the best fighters in the city. He also says that he will tell Danny everything he wants to know about the building with the serpent symbol. After a moment’s contemplation, Danny grins. Where does he sign up?
6. The First Rule of Fight Club
That night, Danny goes to the warehouse to find a huge crowd already inside. The first fight has already begun and we see the Daughter of the Dragon taking on two men at once. Danny is amazed at her skill and ferocity. She takes a beating but is able to knock out both her opponents. Danny applauds and cheers wildly as she limps out of the cage. The announcer notices Danny and approaches him. He’s scheduled to fight next and the announcer asks for a stage name. A minute later, the announcer introduces the crowd to their new attraction – the viral sensation himself, the Iron Fist.
Danny’s opponent lunges as soon as the bell rings but Danny easily parries all of the fighter’s vicious strikes. He seems distracted as he searches the crowd for the Daughter of the Dragon. He sees her heading towards the exit and then knocks out his opponent with one strike to the temple. He grabs the microphone from the announcer before his victory can be announced and he calls out the Daughter of the Dragon. From the rafters, Yang can be seen clapping his hands with glee.
Colleen turns back to the cage and we can see she is contemplating Danny’s challenge. She shrugs and then makes her way back to the cage to the deafening roar of the crowd. She enters the cage and faces Danny who just grins and waves. She is surprised as she recognises him from the other day. She tells him that she won’t hold back and Danny laughs happily. He tightens the scarf on his arm and then bows to her as the bell rings.
However, before they can touch, the lights go out. The scene descends into chaos as seven Yakuza armed with swords crash the party and attack the Triad. The crowd scatters and Mr Yang is able to escape but his Hatchet Men are slaughtered despite heavily outnumbering the katana wielding intruders. Amidst the chaos, Colleen fights against one swordsman but as she is unarmed, she is quickly overwhelmed. She is knocked to the ground, sending her mask flying off. Her attacker raises his katana to finish her off but Danny sends the man flying with a whirling kick. He helps Colleen to her feet and laughs as he recognises her from the dojo. It’s a small world.
They join forces and are able to hold off the swordsmen while the crowd evacuates. However, the two quickly begin to be overwhelmed as Danny doesn’t seem to be taking the fight seriously. He’s careless and sloppy which allows one swordsman to slash him from behind. Danny falls to his knees and is only saved by Colleen, who takes his attacker’s katana. She tells Danny to run while she holds off the Yakuza.
She begins wreaking havoc with her blade, but despite her skill, the numbers are too much and she is slashed in the leg and arm. However, she is able to injure one of her opponents and her slash exposes his chest. As the man falls, Danny sees the symbol of the Hand tattooed across his skin. Danny realises that he has finally found his sworn enemies. Despite his injuries, he smiles.
This is what he was made for.
The swordsmen surround Colleen who is barely able to stand but she holds her ground. They prepare to execute her but Danny doesn’t give them the chance. His fist begins to glow before he slams it into the floor.
A huge shockwave ripples across the entire warehouse. The swordsmen are all sent flying and even the cage collapses on itself. Colleen is knocked out and the swordsmen are all scattered across the warehouse, buried by debris. They begin to slowly get to their feet, groggy and disoriented.
Danny walks slowly towards them. He pulls the yellow cloth from his arm and ties it around his head. We realise that it’s not a scarf.
It’s a mask.
The swordsmen warily surround Dany who just stands there, watching them. He carefully inserts his earphones and presses play on his iPod. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana blares out loud and proud as Danny settles into a Wing Chun stance. He smirks and motions for the swordsmen to bring it.
The swordsmen all charge and we see Danny fight seriously for the very first time. It’s a sight to behold as he descends upon them like the host of God. He seems to be everywhere at once, striking with blinding speed from every angle.
Danny is a blur, a one man army and despite being completely surrounded, he is untouchable. One by one, the swordsmen are engulfed by a whirlwind of fists.
In a matter of minutes, there is only one swordsman left standing. He slowly backs away as Danny advances, grinning like a mad man. Terrified, the swordsman snarls and asks what the hell Danny is. Danny just laughs wildly as his fist begins to glow once more. He’s the Iron Fist. He strikes the final swordsman in the chest, sending him flying across the warehouse to smash into the far wall.
However, Danny sways unsteadily on his feet as his injuries and exhaustion finally begin to take their toll. He collapses just as Colleen wakes up. She is bewildered at the wreckage around her but gets to her feet as she hears the sirens in the distance. Colleen picks Danny up and carries him to safety just as the police arrive on the scene.
7. The Hand That Feeds
We cut to another man in a penthouse watching the video of Danny’s fight in Chinatown on his laptop. This sharply dressed Japanese gentlemen studies the video intently as one of the swordsmen from earlier bows to him, addressing him as Master Kirigi. The swordsman says that the man in the yellow mask was unstoppable. They could barely touch him. Kirigi says nothing.
He takes the man’s katana and then uses it to cut him clean in half.
He snaps the sword in two with his bare hands and discards it on the man’s corpse. Kirigi calls an unknown number and addresses whomever is on the other side as master. Kirigi tells his master that he may have found their next champion.