Opinion: What Iron Fist and The Defenders Need to Do

By Quentin Basnaw

Eagerly awaiting Iron Fist? Me too. Marvel’s Netflix series have cemented themselves as quality entertainment, bringing the characters of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage to the small screen. Millions have watched and enjoyed these shows, enjoying the darker, more mature corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They offer us more than two hours to get to know the lives of the characters, and how they relate to everything transpiring throughout the universe. With that said, I want to discuss three things the next two shows in the lineup, Iron Fist and The Defenders, need to do to continuously expand the universe in the right direction, now that the Netflix Marvel shows have been established.

1. Set an Appropriate Tone and Stick With It.

Each of the Marvel Netflix shows thus far have dealt with adult themes and a distinct tone. Daredevil was about justice and vigilantism while being set in a darker, grittier version of the Marvel Universe. Jessica Jones continued the grittier world while feeling like a detective noir thriller. Luke Cage struck a tone, albeit not quite consistently, between drama and good old fashioned superhero fun, dealing with the issues and consequences of gang violence.

I have no idea what Iron Fist will tackle. Iron Fist, as a character, has a magic fist and punches things hard, hence the name. I’m intrigued at the small bits of info I’ve heard about the show, but I do not know how they will pull off a character such as Iron Fist by giving him some underlying message or by having him tackle issues not addressed by the other shows. As long as Marvel gives him an appropriate tone, Iron Fist should succeed.

2. Keep the References Coming

Marvel is known for creating blockbuster hits. Each of these blockbuster hits has a myriad of Easter eggs for fans to find and cheer over. After a while these Easter eggs can become quite tedious, especially when characters talk about other characters but never give them a call to come help them during their solo movies. That being said, what I appreciated about Luke Cage was that it uses Easter eggs to enhance pivotal plot moments.

For example, once Mariah is trying to turn the citizens of Harlem against Luke Cage, she mentions our usual culprits for destruction (the Avengers), but then says, “Now we got a girl saying she was mind controlled to kill her controller?” For those who don’t know, she’s  referencing the season 1 finale of Jessica Jones. This works much better for the moment the Easter egg is dropped: the people are all hating on super powered people, and Mariah uses a much more relatable event for the citizens to be angry about.

The second Easter egg from Luke Cage adds impact to the plot and rewards viewers for watching the other Netflix shows. The situation: bullets that can pierce Luke Cage’s unbreakable skin are about to be put into the hands of ordinary cops. Two characters are arguing about the consequences of this. They agree that these bullets would eventually end up in the hands of unsavory people. One of the characters actuates this point by saying, “If Frank Castle can kill forty men with regular bullets, do you have any idea what he could do with these weapons?” This is a reference to the events of Daredevil Season 2.

Again, this feels like the show is rewarding the audience. Assumedly, viewers have watched all of the other series and now, when the plot of the current series goes in a certain direction, the characters acknowledge the past events to help guide their decisions in the present. This is the kind of storytelling I feel is missing from the mainstream movies in this universe. They usually don’t reward people for watching the previous movies because they are designed to be watched by anyone. Iron Fist needs to keep in references that advance the plot or help characters come to decisions.

3. The Defenders Needs to Feel like a Culmination

Much like Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with Iron Man and culminated in the Avengers, the Netflix Marvel shows have reached a point where they are about to culminate in a awesome team-up of very different characters. What happens when the righteous Daredevil, the sarcastic, off-putting demeanor of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage’s cheesy quips and Iron Fist’s. . . iron fists come together? Only time will tell, but it needs to feel like a culmination. I don’t want the show to be about the characters crossing paths, then becoming a team for the last episode. I want them becoming a team early on and having to adjust throughout the show. Therefore, we can get right to the awesome character dynamics and action the show is sure to deliver on. Please don’t let the show waste our time! Get the characters together early, and have them be together throughout.

In all, those are my only hopes for the next two shows. None of the Netflix shows have disappointed me to the point of triggering any anger in me, but there have been noticeable dips in a quality here and there. As long as the next two shows deliver on the three things I’m asking for, they have the possibility to be better than all the shows we’ve gotten thus far. Now that I’ve said all that, bring on Iron Fist!