REVIEWs

Iron  Fist👊🔥


When Danny Rand was 10-years old, he survived a mysterious plane crash that claimed the lives of his extremely wealthy parents. Rescued by warrior monks, Danny grew up in the of city of K’un-Lun, where he endured harsh conditions, but also trained to be a fierce warrior. Years later, Danny returns home to New York, where he wants to reconnect with his past and take his rightful place at his family’s company, which is being run by his father’s former business partner. Danny hopes to restore his family legacy by defeating the people who threaten it.

*This review contains spoilers*

Top Ten great things about Iron Fist 


1. Finn Jones

Finn Jones plays Danny Rand, and conveys child-like innocence and naivety that reflects his sheltered upbringing in K’un-Lun,  a frailty that his counterparts (Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil) while honorable and great in their own respects don’t have,  being far from sheltered. It’s a great foil for the impending Defenders team up. 

Danny Rand is an honest person but this character trait gets him into trouble. That coupled with his tantrums and impulsiveness can make him as a character unlikeable but his better side often shines through. 
2. Iron Fist

The Iron Fist ability is unique and incredible when it’s used onscreen and is always the tipping point in any fight. The only real complaint is that it just wasn’t used enough but we’ll put that down to experience and training…and screen writing (maybe budget?). The lack of villan that can trade blows with Danny “fist for fist” 😉 is lacking. This is less about punching and more about how people manipulate him and use him, after all, he is called ‘the immortal weapon ‘ , people weild weapons and throughout the show that’s what we see people attempting to  do-weild him for better or worse. 

The theme of duality isn’t really explored until much later on in the series and for such an interesting and engaging subject matter you’d have expected them to explore this sooner but laying the ground work for Danny’ character is done earlier on, albeit via slow burn that by the time we get to explore it we’re all just a little tired of questions and want to see Iron Fist in action. In many ways Danny is still the boy who ran away from K’un-Lun, this is his coming of age story that matures him in our gritty world as his innocence is stripped, physically and spiritually.  It’s an origin story in every sense of the word.

3. Colleen Wing 

Colleen Wing is by far my favourite character of the series, she’s written fully, has a lot to do and is completely fleshed out in her own right rather than falling into the cliché of damsel maiden in distress/ female character that can kick butt. She’s layered and her  Hand 🤚story arc intertwines with Danny’ and embellishes the plot and Danny as a character, as her secrets unravel. Their romance is pulpable,  the conflict is believeable and is not only part of the story but makes the story better.

 When Davos shows up the show gets even better and embellishes the romance further by creating conflict with Danny being asked to choose between his best friend Davos and K’un-Lun Lun or his lover Colleen Wing unwitting member of The Hand. Colleen Wing is written well and is acted superbly, with a series of impressive fight scenes topped off by a truly tense masterclass duel when she faces Bukuto. 

4.The Hand Mythology

We get and idea of who The Hand are in season 1 of Daredevil , we get a proper introduction and see what they can do in series 2 of Daredevil but here The Hand is masterfully introduced again, we get to see ‘the back of house’, the ‘how ‘ of how does a person decide they want to part of The hand? Here we put the face to the name-The hand are made up of real people. The 6 episode slow burn suddenly pays off, these kids from the dojo are being indoctrinated by a poisonous ninja cabal. 

This does so much to add motive to the fights that take place that is absent in Daredevil. I was happy to watch Daredevil and Elektra beat bad ninjas all day but watching Iron Fist, the fights with The Hand after this revelation become so much more weight-filled and meaningful. This is summed up when Colleen has to battle her own students mirroring a scene a few episodes before when she was training them outside; this time the stakes are high.
5 Bukuto

Bukuto in my humble opinion is the best out of the triumvirate of villains Danny faces in the series. Madam Gao is unecessarily mysterious to the point of iritation. That being said, her all -knowing ancient demeanour is a perfect foil to Danny’ hopeful, childish mindset. 

Harold Meachum went from manipulative puppeteer to annoying, violent zombie. While his character is interesting he doesn’t deserve to be deified to main villain status. 

It comes down to being able to go fist to fist with Danny, blow for blow-physically and emotionally. We actually see Bukuto teach Danny how to use his powers and later on, block them. Bukuto is a brilliant fighter, is Colleen’ sensei and is just as manipulative as Harold Meachum if not more, with so much more leverage too in the person of Colleen Wing. He has enough mystery about him as Madam Gao, but reveals enough of himself to serve the story and his motivations clearly.

 Bukuto should have been the main villain, his motivations aren’t as basic as Madam Gao’ or Harold’. He genuinely has good points, he is a villain you can sympathise with. His cause is noble but his means are corrupt and nothing can hide that despite his emotional intelligence, bluster and charm. He is one of the stand outs of the latter part of the series that makes Iron Fist compelling to watch.

6 Claire Temple

A round character is a character that starts of in the story one way and by the end of the story has undergone some substantial change, they are not the same anymore.

Claire is a round character. It could have been very easy for Marvel Netflix to simply let her serve the purpose of a female Nick Fury;  rounding up the Defenders by helping them out in the same way she always does but her series hopping has had a chartered progression that has allowed her visible growth. We see her more involved, and her experience with Matt, Luke and Jessica comes in handy and she is able to assist Danny the most. It could easily have been boring this time round but she’s a more capable version of herself , exploring more and learning more from the hero too.

7 Ward 

Excuse my French but Ward was a premier dick head. Condescending, pedantic, a bully,  rude, I could go on. But…BUT, you meet his dad Harold and the situations his father puts him in and suddenly Ward is humanised, he’s no angel but you begin to feel sorry for him. His spiralling descent into drugs is all the more sad and it’s depicted vividly by Tom Pelphrey. Ward is another round character I grew to side with and slightly like even if I hated his guts to begin with. He creates conflicts and adds drama.

8. Horror Influence

I’ll keep this short and sweet because I don’t review horror movies but the horror elements in this show must be applauded. Everything from the lighting in Harolds penthouse to the way the staircase /elevator scenes are shot when Joy is going upstairs or when Ward hallucinates. Ward seeing blood coming out of the door and elevator buttons was nicely done. However, the creepiest moment is Harold’ return, it’ all sorts of disgusting and all I could think was “Ward is F@#$ed!”

9. Character Development

The show is accused of slow burning to the point of boredom.  I agree and disagree. I agree it was very slow at points and aggravating because all you really want to see is Danny light it up🔥👊🔥 !!!

I disagree it being redundant, Iron Fist goes the long way around by starting off slow to establish relationships, establish the world, and show us who Danny is. What many people fail to realise is that this series is a story of two halves, it’s back to that theme of duality. 

The first half digs deep into who Danny Rand is, his relationships with people, how he interacts and we get to really see what type of person he is. The latter half is all about The Iron Fist; we get to see him in action using it, talking about it, talking about it, how he came about it, what his title means, where he trained and so on. 

 We get comic book heavy and they do their best to make it translate well on screen without sounding silly. Nothing helps more than a well done montage or flashback. Arrow is a golden example of flashbacks done right and it would have been so so good to see more Iron Fist. This was lacking in the development of the character of Danny Rand the Iron Fist. This is the issue many people are finding hard to reconcile with the series-they got a whole lot of Danny Rand but not nearly enough Iron Fist. For the series to shine it needed to be a perfect balance. All that being said it doesn’t nullify what we did get, it was entertaining to see and I wanted more Iron Fist. I still want more Iron Fist.  Bigger and better! Come on Marvel!

10 Direction

Springboarding from my Iron Fist rant ,the direction in some of the scenes were really good. The martial arts duels were all good, not as crisp or brutal as Dardevil’ but definitely good.

Final Thoughts

Where there is no real threat there is no character investmemt. Danny Rand never looks like he’ll lose, not really and that’s why it’s hard to root for him because it just a run of the mill punch up, there are no stakes. I felt the stakes when Colleen duels with Buduko,  I felt the peril in my stomach and I prayed she survived because I was invested in the character because she’s vulnerable. I held my breathe whenever I thought Claire might be in mortal danger and covered my mouth in shock when Joy got shot.

 Danny’ character became easier to invest in, in the latter part of the series when his loved ones are put in the firing line because they don’t have an Iron Fist, they can die a lot easier than he can. Even the badass Davos got me worried when they were all surrounded by The Hand on the campus.
What am I saying? Iron Fist The series much like it’s titular character often gets in it own way  with some missed opportunities that stop it from being incredible rather than just watchable. 

That being said when you have to follow all the Marvel Netflix series that have gone before it you soon discover its mammoth undertaking. It’s a good addition to the Marvel Netflix family and and solid foundation for the future.

This was an enjoyable kung fu outing, with good performances and great character development and while I won’t be watching the first couple of episodes again, I’ll certainly be watching the latter.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

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REVIEWs

Daredevil- Netflix Season 2


It’s really hard to one up yourself when you’re that good and Daredevil really is THAT GOOD. So you can imagine the trepidation and challenge felt by the Daredevil team needing to recreate the success. 

What has become important for Marvel Netflix shows are exultation of story. You come for the story and stay for the super powers. Yes, you’ve read that before but it’s true! 

Pacing in this series versus last series is clever and incremental, conjoining two story arcs; The Punisher’ and Elektra’. This had more chance of failing than succeeding as is usually the way with more characters but they achieve what they were going for, seamless interconnectivity. 

The Punisher ‘ story is so weighty with emotional drama, and so well acted by John Bernthal it’s not hard to see why The Punisher is getting his own series on Netflix too. Seriously though who cried? 😭:(😭

Elodie Yung gets to give us an Elektra we deserve, weaved into Daredevil’ story with ease and adding fun and even more danger and excitement.

The show succeeds in going bigger and better whilst still being anchored to a consistent tone, which isn’t always smoothly done well with growing stories. The jump from mundane to spectacular can be too sudden and come across as disbelieveable within the confines of that fictional universe but here it’s all earned. Perhaps the street level nature of the show helps in constantly grounding the material in relatability on some level but it works.

As always with these shows a serious argument can be made for condensing 13 episodes into a perfect 10 but The Defenders will have 8 episodes for its first season and I can only assume they’re going for potency over longevity.
All in all, this is a series return so good it casts a shadow on its first outing with some really heavy emotional scenes and some truly adrenaline pumping action, all of it rewatchable, which is what you want out of your Netflix shows. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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REVIEWs

Jessica Jones-Netflix Season 1


Strong females characters are a lot easier to point out in action films and other genres today. It’s no coincidence, popularity has grown ever since Sigourney Weaver in Alien 👽 . From Angelina Jolie in Salt to Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games, women are finally getting the strong female characters they’ve been craving but what do we even mean by strong ? Ronda Rousey recently starred in the third installment of Sylvester Stallone’ popular throwback action trilogy, The Expendables and while she gets her moments to shine it pales in comparison when propped next to Emily Blunt in Live/Die /Repeat (if you haven’t seen LiveDieRepeat yet beg, borrow or steal it, it’s a thrill ride!). The difference?  Emily Blunts character is layered with intrigue,  mystery, given her own important motivations and hopes.

Jessica Jones is one of four Defenders, Street level Avengers if you will. She’s the only girl in the group amidst some very cool guys; Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist 👊 (Iron Fist air on Netflix on the 17th if March 2017) so she needed to be truly special rather than a token.

Jessica Jones’ is a success because her villain is so despicable, her allies so few,  her human flaws and challeneges so relatably real, it’s hard to not watch how she will triumph. You come for the drama and stay for the super powers.

My only gripe isn’t with Jessica, it’s with the pacing. This could easily have been 8. It’s a criticism that’s been lobbied at all of Marvel’ Netflix helpings but it shows here the most as suspense can sometimes grows cold. That being said another brilliant feather in Marvels hat 🎩 of tricks as they pull yet another one out the bag 💼.

The only thing better than watching this is watching her in Defenders when it finally arrives. I cannot wait!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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REVIEWs

Daredevil-Netflix season 1


Why you should watch Daredevil Season 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- Ben Affleck and Co were hard done by in an interpretation of an iconic Marvel Staple. The problem? Tone. 

Matthew Cox is given everything to succeed, an impeccable script, great costume design and the time which  📺 TV’ small screen allows to tell a coherent, thrilling story with a great action packed crescendo. The solution? Again the answer is tone.

This adaptation is faithful to the comics without becoming simply Ridiculous; it’s grounded in so much reality I’m daring to say it’s darker than The Dark Knight… Pun intended! 😂 

Without giving away high points I’ll some say it’s bloody…and no it’s not Quentin Tarantino bloody. It’s well balanced and humorous too.

This iteration of Daredevil benefits from a series format allowing for  much needed back story to fill us in on blanks, explain status quo,  affording us the time to really root for hero and understand villain.

All this is achieved with some class too, offering up some comic book panel-to-screen moments, whilst consistently balancing art with choreographed action. It never descends into dance move territory or tilting the otherwise into unbelievable fist fights. It’s all about balance and it’s struck perfectly here.

I hate giving out 5 stars but Marvel are consistent entertainment and never sacrifice substance for spectacle;there’s enough here for the thinking viewer too. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🏆🏆🏆

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REVIEWs

Luke Cage- Netflix Season 1


Why you should watch…

LUKE CAGE is a beautiful amalgam of African-American history, culture and hopes. His story is set against the back drop of Harlem where a battle for its soul rages between those who would make it a paradise for crime and those who want to elevate it into socio-economic prestige. 

Watching this play out is enthralling even if it isn’t perfect, it’s modern blacksploitation elements work with a good cast helped magnanimously by a soundtrack that proves soundtracks can be characters in their own right. The lyrical content is so fitting at times and others so poetic it’s practically theatre.

A story about a bullet proof black man in America would always be a little bit on the nose but it’s importance and timing given the racial tension at the moment cannot be overstated. It’s one bit ode, part bit elegy, several bits theatre and every bit action. It also has an earned romantic through line that accentuates the plot. Several interesting strong female characters to choose from, and a well developed villain make this outing better than good.

All in all this is a historic outing that has raises the bar for future outings.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐🏆🏆🏆

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REVIEWs

Keeping Up With The Jones 


An ordinary suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher) finds it’s not easy keeping up with the Joneses (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot) – their impossibly gorgeous and ultra-sophisticated new neighbors – especially when they discover that Mr. and Mrs. “Jones” are covert operatives.


This film is less about spies than you actually quite imagine. The themes gently look at honesty, communication and care within relationships. Mr Jones reveals that all isn’t well in paradise and it’s an eye opening pause in the movie which reminds that in the information age, anything can be presented as anything and we must not take a surface presentation as indepth truth and use that to measure against our own lives when there is plenty to adore and admire in our own lives.

The Jones are the impossibly over accomplished 👫 couple with a seemingly perfect relationship. They have engrossing hobbies  to be jealous of and even their clothes fit better on their unnecessarily gorgeous persons.

However all that glitters isn’t gold and The Gaffney’ soon begin to realise that there is more to the Joneses that meets the surface and not all of it good. Karren Gaffney leads the charge,  snooping, to great comic effect.

Jeff Gaffney, the HR employee at MBI, connects with Mr Jones and begins to discover  more once Mrs Gaffney does more investigation which leads to them breaking into the Joneses house.

The hilarity is plenty in the film with lots of fun to be had. Enjoying this for what it is, is how to enjoy the movie. Perhaps the cast could have been put in more situations to draw more humour considering the strength if the cast but that’s ultimately down to the script- There’s only so much improv and adlibing you can do.

⭐⭐⭐

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REVIEWs

Whiplash


MOVIES I SHOULD HAVE WATCHED AGES AGO…

Andrew Neiman is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher, an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability – and his sanity.

 Whiplash is written and directed by Damien Chazzelle,  who for all ranking and record keeping is my favorite writer and director for the time being.
Why? His balance of style and substance is so well mastered that the well crafted direction keeps you focusing on the story, embellishing it at every turn.

Watching Miles Teller dissappear down the 🐰 rabbit hole in pursuit of genius if even remotely possible is interesting to watch. JK Simmons is the pressure that forces diamonds out of Miles Teller’ character, or rather motivates him to.

Watching the two ping pong back and forth as the stakes raised and boundaries are crossed is some really watchable cinema. The type you can rewatchable again just to recapture a moment or witness a truly awesome scene. 

The film is comprised of scenes like this slotted alongside each other with some very steady pacing. The synopsis says Teller’ charter’ pursuit begins to change him. While true I would have liked to see more of that in the relationship department. Melissa Benoit isn’t savagely underused but the film I believe was going for potency as the only relationship that really has any gravity to our protagonist is that he shares with his mentor, for better or worse.

Here lies the heart off the film; is he truly better of for being mentored by this teacher to end all teachers-is there a prodigy arising from the ashes of the young man he used to be? or is he simply to naive to see that his abusive musical 🎶  mentor is not fit to teach? Or interestingly still, perhaps it’s both. 🤔🤔🤔

By the end of the film you’ll be asking the same questions or answering them definitively.  One thing is certain; this is great cinema with a simple but captivating story set to the tune of some foot tapping  jazz🎺 . 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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