Was that a brutal title? I’m not sorry and I’ll never try to pretend I am.
Obviously, as always, this is NOT SPOILER FREE.
Not that you should care – I don’t want you to watch this anyway.
In fact, YOU shouldn’t want you to watch this either. Please, save yourself.
Alright, alright Morgan, stop being coy – tell us why you hated it enough to warrant expending extra energy to name and shame this Pretender Defender!
Ok well firstly, I think it’s obvious enough to say that I wasn’t going to enjoy this straight off the bat, based on the fact that although this isn’t technically a whitewashing of a character, it’s certainly still a narrative that appropriates culture in the highest degree
Let me paint you a picture here:
High flying family gets killed over the Himalayas, the son survives and is raised by monks and trained in kung fu to become the protector of their sacred and spiritual town. This kid is a natural at Chinese martial arts, and harnesses his chi to capture the powers and title of the “Iron Fist”, a kung fu superhero.
But of course! Duh! This kid is also white, blonde haired, blue eyed – oh, and did I forget to mention the heir of a multi-billion-dollar company in New York?
Yeah, not exactly the whitest storyline there until you get to that end bit.
But is my issue with Danny Gland himself? No. My issue actually is the fact that Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage etc are not part of the Defenders in the comic books. They were largely given this position in the MNU (is Marvel Netflix Universe a thing? It’s a thing now) because they were UNDERDOGS. And not in the sense that they’ve had their multi-billion dollar business usurped from them while they were training with monks in a magical land (aw, so tuff for Danny L ), but because they were marginalised. Their start in society was tough, and it built them to understand the struggles of the every day New Yorker, to the point where they know who needs help and in what way. They’re our 21st century Defenders, here to understand socio-political issues.
So why the fuck did they choose Danny Bland as their next Defender?
Let me make this clear. I am not taking issue with the fact that they chose a white male superhero as their next in the line-up.
I understand Hollywood. They know who they want to pander to and that’s fine.
But why not pick a DIFFERENT white male superhero? One that isn’t appropriating Chinese culture, and being an ignorant, annoying billionaire with questionable shoe choices? It’s not like there’s any shortage.
OR alternatively – if you want Chinese culture, why not cast a Chinese superhero? Or even subvert the Iron B-list narrative and cast a Chinese Danny Flan? I mean if we can pull a million reasons out of our ass to cast white people in POC roles, then why can’t it work the other way?
I’m kidding. I know why.
OK so I hated Danny Ampersand/Iron Cyst from the get go – but Morgan? Why can’t you just look past that and into the eyes of a well-made, well-written, visual masterpiece?
Ham-handed cultural appropriation aside, this show actually, objectively, fucking sucked.
It was painfully slow paced, with things only actually happening in like, episode 7.
There was a shoehorned, forced love story which was, ultimately, completely unnecessary to the storyline.
It seemed to paint a picture of women as cardboard sex or affirmation-bots with little to no personal storylines. In fact, every character was pretty much a cardboard cut out.
Nothing seemed to really happen – ever.
The show couldn’t decide what it was actually about, clunkily moving from dull corporate squabbling, to forced fighting with nameless Chinese villains that was still, somehow, constantly interrupted by people demanding Danny return to the corporate squabbling.
But worst of all? This show had no idea who its own bad guy was.
First it’s Ward. Then it’s Gao! No wait – it’s definitely Ward. Oops, sorry, it’s actually Harold! Kidding! It’s this sudden newcomer, who only lasts a couple of episodes, Bakuto! SIKE! It’s still Gao! KIDDING AGAIN! It’s actually Davos and Joy! Bitch you thought!!!
This show had no solid narrative, and was constantly fighting with itself to decide what it actually was about.
The narratives always seemed to last an episode and a half before Danny had moved on to a different one, to the point where there failed to be any over-arching plot other than how hard it was for Danny to be both a woefully underqualified billionaire, and an even less qualified superhero (who never seemed to really ever save anyone?)
I mean, in the final two episodes Danny is actually just fighting the fucking DEA???????
Listen, this show was a mess. It was a nightmare. And it was damn slow doing it.
I swear the only interesting character was Claire Temple – and she was well-established and written many Defenders ago, so I KNOW Rosario Dawson wasn’t about to
let anyone screw with that. Oh, and Jeri was great too, but again, she was already established in her awesomeness by far more proficient writers.
So yeah, I guess you could say I hated this show.
I know this blog post wasn’t quite an analysis so much as it was just a hateful rant, but again, I’m not gonna pretend I’m sorry.
Maybe I can be the consistent adversary Danny Disneyland so desperately needs.
Believe me, it’d be my pleasure.