Cartoons · TV Shows

The Voltron The Legendary Defender Retrospective:Characters, Plotting, and Theming

In my last post, I talked about Voltron The Legendary Defender Season 8.  This post, I wanted to have a bit of a retrospective on the series.  So this post, I’m going to be talking about the show’s writing, plotting, and characters, what they did right, and what they did wrong.

 

The biggest thing I see people say about Voltron:  The Legendary Defender is “missed potential” and I have to say, I agree with that statement.  There were a lot of wonderful character moments, some very good plotting and theming in the beginning of the series, say until about seasons 5 or 6.  But somewhere along the line it just fell off the wagon and I’d like to try and figure out where and why that happened by dissecting the writing and themes of the show in general.

 

Needless to say, spoilers for all of Voltron:  The Legendary Defender are going to be in this post.  With all of that out of the way, let’s get into it.

 

CHARACTERS

 

My favorite part of Voltron had to be the characters.  They just started out so fleshed out, and working so well individually, as well as as a team.  I think both configurations of teams worked, but I will say in later seasons, they found less and less to do with Shiro, and his plots probably fell flat the most.  But in the beginning, all of them had really interesting motivation’s and struggle’s, and it was just a joy to see them deal with them while growing as Team Voltron.

 

When the character work started to fall apart I feel, is when they finished the characters first wave arcs.  Shiro was dealing with PTSD, Pidge was trying to find her family, Keith was struggling to accept himself, and was trying to learn how to work together with his team when he’d rather just stay the lone wolf he started out as.  But when all of these arcs came to completion:  Shiro “dies”, Pidge finds her family, Keith finds his Mother and grows, the characters just started to fall flat.  It wasn’t because they weren’t still interesting, all of their core aspects that made them loveable were still there, but without having an external story for them to deal with individually, they felt like they just became one-dimensional.  We went from each of them having their own hardships, and together coping with them and becoming stronger to deal with the plot happening around them, to just having them all be “Voltron Paladin’s”.  When the writers wanted to focus more on the plot, is when the characters suffered.  Instead of having the characters interact with the plot, the plot happened and propelled them forward.  It was this weird thing, where they weren’t inactive in the plot, but at the same time, the plot stripped away what made the characters, the characters.

 

I’m not one of those people who think in season 8, not having character moments made it less of a season.  I think by that point, they had grown their bond, so we were able to have it take a backseat to the story.  But when throughout the rest of the seasons, there’s this constant battle between focusing on characters, or focusing on plot…I think there’s a major problem tonally.  What I think needed to happen was there needed to be a choice made early on in the shows run.  Were they going to make it primarily a character focused show, where the plot mattered, but took a backseat to developing character relationships and their stories, or was this going to be a space epic, where the plot was the foremost important thing, and the characters were going to not be a big focus.  This got split in every season past season 3 I feel, and the show overall suffered for it.

 

PLOT

 

I think the plotting is the weakest link in the series overall.  In the first two seasons, there was a clear goal:  Destroy Zarcon, take down the Empire.  After that plot was finished, Lotor comes into the story and that’s interesting as well, but where it falls short is the sub plots for characters throughout the series. We have these plots dragged out for seasons on end, only to have them finally revealed, but then concluded within 3 or less episodes of the reveal.  There needed to be time to tell these stories, instead of having a huge windup and resolving it so quickly that you’re not sure why it happened in the first place.  I’ve addressed some of these issues in another article, so if you’d like to hear more of my thoughts on this, head over there.
This goes along with a lack of risk taking with these plots.  It seems like they wanted to go there with some of them, but they just didn’t for some reason or another.  It threw off some strong character beats that could have happened, and not following through with them really just made you feel like, why was this happening then?  In the end a lot of plots just were never resolved, and if that were to happen, then why open them up in the first place.

 

The plot felt rather nonsensical in a lot of points after season 3, as well.  They would try to tell this epic story that would start out making a lot of sense, and being super engaging.  I feel like a lot of times however, they would get carried away with action scenes, and drawing out suspense, that when it was time to resolve the plot, they just had to figure out this really quick resolution that would make little to no sense.  This is especially apparent  at the ends of season 6, and season 8.  They either needed more episodes, or needed to cut out the filler (there were a lot of them that were fun and really goofy, but had absolutely nothing to do with plot) so if they wanted to have some more time explaining the plot more accurately, perhaps filling out some things that would lead up to the season or series finale, the plotting dropping the ball halfway through the ladder seasons perhaps wouldn’t have happened.

 

I think seasons 1 through 4 were done very, very well.  Season 4 was waffling a bit, but it really felt like their vision was lost from season 5 onward.  I enjoyed the characters, and action in those later seasons, but the plot just started to feel like they wanted to lead into something, but weren’t quite sure what.

 

Biting off more than they could chew definitely feels like the theming overall with the plotting in the ladder half of the series, especially in season 8.  They wanted to do something grandiose, but overall just weren’t sure how to finish up the plot, so ending it made it feel rushed, nonsensical, and forced.  If only we had the plotting from the first few seasons throughout, plus the awesome character work…

 

THEMEING

 

And finally, we get to what in my opinion, is the biggest misstep of the series.  The theming of the show completely went out the window at the end.  The entire point of the series was that a group of broken people can come together, become even stronger as a unit, and overcome all obstacle’s.  But halfway through the series, they decided to separate characters.  Keith went off on his own multiple times, and for some seasons he wasn’t even in it for pretty much all of it.  In the end, instead of the entire team working to stop Honerva, Allura is the only person who can, and does.  Pidge goes off to take care of finding her family on her own, and I think Hunk and Lance are the only two who don’t have plots where they just go off on their own and do things if I’m remembering correctly.  This dichotomy  really does the show a disservice, as when the final battle comes for most seasons, they all come together, form Voltron, and save the day.  But sometimes, this just feels so hollow, because they’ve spent entire seasons apart from each other, and doing their own things.  Once again, this wasn’t prevalent in the first four seasons, but definitely was more of a thing in the 2nd half of the series.
Team Voltron is far stronger as an ensemble character piece, and not having that be the central theming throughout the series, and not just in the first half, was not wise for the writers.  I feel like once Shiro stopped being the Black Paladin, they weren’t sure what to do with the team.  I don’t think Allura in the blue lion was a bad move – in fact, I loved that so much – but not having much to do with Shiro at that point, and not sure how to retune the team dynamic when Allura was part of the team and just not a paladin was sort of odd.  Not sure why that was the case, but they just weren’t sure what to do with the theming then and didn’t realize that they could have had Shiro be just as important in the plot outside of the Black Lion, just like Allura was when she wasn’t a paladin of Voltron.

 

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

I feel like this review sounds like I wasn’t a fan of the show, which is so far from the truth.  IT’s just seeing the series finale, and how big of a misstep it was, and how much it’s literally upset every fan I’ve ran across, it just feels like “missed potential” is the perfect word to describe Voltron.  A lot of plots that fell short that had tons of promise, a lot of characters that had lacking development.  A lot of side characters introduced, as if they were meant for more, only to be never addressed again.  Overall, the unwillingness to go with more mature themes of the show that they so obviously were setting up is strange to me – and you can say “But it’s a kids show!” but killing off one of the main characters is something that a kids show wouldn’t do unless it was trying to be more mature, so why not go all the way with said maturity, and take the risks with the plotting that were shouting at us all throughout the series?

 

So what went wrong?  A lot of fans are theorizing that there was corporate interference, and the creative team paid the price for it.  I think that’s very much the case, because it really feels like how they ended the show isn’t what they were going for at all.  But those are all just theories, and we’ll never truly know unless someone in the crew or cast speaks out about it one day.

 

And thus ends my retrospective on Voltron:  The Legendary Defender as a whole.  I loved you Voltron, but you were by no means flawless.  Your ending made an otherwise amazing show just be ok, and I’ll forever feel so disappointed by it.

 

But those thoughts are for the next, and final post in this series:  Voltron:  The Legendary Defender, talking about the ending.  If you want to see my thoughts on the final season, you can head on over to this link.

 

What are your thoughts on the series as a whole?  Would love to hear in the comments!

Cartoons · TV Shows

Voltron: The Legendary Defender Season 8 Review [Spoilers]

It’s over my friends.  After 2 some odd years, Voltron The Legendary Defender is over.  It’s been one heck of a ride, but I won’t say that the ending is something…that I liked, or that I expected.  In fact, the ending made me so furious, that I had to decompress over the weekend after binging it all on Friday.  I went to the reddit for Voltron to talk to other fans, which is something I’ve never done for the show, that’s how upset I was.  But after taking some time, I think I’m ready to talk about this.  I need to talk about this so I can get my feelings out about it, and move on with my life.
I have a lot to say about this season, and the show as a whole.  So I’m going to do a series of 3 posts, this one just talking about season 8, the next one talking about Voltron as a whole, it’s flaws and positives, and the last one…talking about the ending.  In particular, something that happened in the ending.  It’s probably not what everyone is thinking of, but it’s the thing that affected me most and I really need to write a post about that specifically, along the same lines as the 2nd post in this series:  What I think they were going for with that choice, why it wasn’t executed well, that sort of thing.

 

That being said, the first half of this post is going to be spoiler free.  The 2nd half is going to have spoilers, because it’s unavoidable when talking about a series finale.  But I’ll be sure to label spoilers with a big old heading so you can leave if you don’t want to know what happens in the ending.
So with that out of the way, let’s get into my general thoughts of season 8!

 

GENERAL THOUGHTS

 

The season starts out very well, giving us the resolution to story arcs that were lingering for quite some time.  After the first episode, we start the season with some backstory for a certain character, then go right into the rest of the season having action, some “filler” episodes, and the ultimate ending of the series.  The filler episodes this season were the best of the series, in my opinion:  They got the themes they wanted for the filler across and lightened the mood, but at the same time they propelled the plot forward – which is something that previous filler episodes haven’t done before.  They usually would put the plot at a standstill, then next episode would pick up the plot again.  But seeing filler that leads into plot, and that grows characters was nice, and I wish we had more of that throughout the rest of the series.

 

The character moments are few and far between in this season, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.  The characters bond was pre-established, so we didn’t really need to see them interact as much as in past seasons.  I really enjoyed what we got though (seeing Pidge and Allura acting like sisters in the first episode was one that certainly warmed my heart) and just seeing the culmination of the six main characters relationship was such a treat.  Seeing how Keith, Lance, and Allura grew throughout the series especially was nice.  Like they are completely different characters between the beginning and the ending, and their character arcs were handled well..for the most part.  But we’ll get to that in the spoilers section.

 

The villain of the final season was a major lead up that also was something culminating throughout the entire series, and I really liked it.  Not only was it a personal battle for our Paladin’s, but it also was a matter of saving their universe, and multiple others.  Once again, the villain  was handled excellently…until the ending.  The action was on point, and the stakes just kept on ramping up higher and higher…but then the climax just utterly fell flat, and felt rushed, and like the writers  had expended all of their energy getting to the point of the final battle, only to realize “Crap, how are we supposed to resolve this?”.

 

Of course, the answer is AlluraXMachina!

 

But that, once again, is getting into spoiler territory. So I think at this point, it’s time to talk about it.  The thing that’s going to just make Voltron a great series, instead of the amazing series it could have been…

SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!  TURN BACK IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS!!!!!!

 

OK so.
I loved everything about this season.  Sure, there were certain things that just weren’t answered, like what happened to all of the Shiro clones, and a lot of stories mentioned that just…weren’t addressed or touched on again, like Veronica trying to make friends with Acxa, and that whole ex-Lotor’s General’s crew having that episode was nice but it wasn’t really closure.  That the other General popped up, wanted to kill Keith, and then just decides not to because of a few nice words was choppy writing, and it feels like it was something that the writers wanted to have more time with but couldn’t.  Lance and Allura, though there was lead up throughout the entire series for it, when it actually happened we just got a phew scenes of it, and it didn’t feel like it got as developed as it should have when they actually got together – they just had their relationship go from 0 to 100, and even though I loved they’re fluffy moments, I would have liked to see the actual relationship take time, just as much as them getting together did.

This season was very much Allura’s story, which was…alright?  Once again, it just sort of came out of the blue.  Like the previous seasons had very much a tone of teamwork makes us all stronger, but in season 8 Allura just was the focal point, and as much as I love her it felt like major tonal  whiplash because this isn’t how the show was.  If we had a season format, where every character had their own season to shine and have their arcs, then focusing on Allura would have made more sense.  But as it stands, this was an ensemble piece that just decided to make 1 of the characters become the main one at its climax.

 

Along those lines, like the themes in general got a mish mosh and the tone of the show suffered for it.  Voltron is notorious for the central message that all of the heroes will win, no matter what odds will face them.  Shiro dies?  No worries, AlluraXMachina will bring him back.  Pidge needs to find her family?  No worries, she’ll find them, none of them are dead, or evil, and she’ll find them and put her family back together again.  But for some reason, in the final episode of the final season, they decide to throw all of that out of the window.
OK so this is a huge huge huge spoiler so if you really don’t want to know it, don’t read on.

 

But they set the precedent that no matter what, all six of our main characters will win the day, that none of them will die, get injured, or any of that…
Only to kill Allura in the literal last ten minutes of the show?

This was what ruined the season for me folks.  After everything we had been through, she’ dies.  Granted, she chooses to sacrifice herself to save the universe, and all its realities, but like…there was absolutely no lead up to this what-so-ever.  Allura has always been a selfless character, like it’s in character for her to do so, but I mean from a writing standpoint, there was absolutely no lead up to this.  She absorbs the Entity, which also has no real explanation to whether or not she got rid of it after a certain point (just seemed like a plot device to get some episodes going, if I’m being completely honest) and there just was no in-universe logic to why this had to happen.  I would have been heartbroken if she died regardless, she’s my favorite character, but they don’t explain any of the reasoning properly so it just feels like they needed AlluraXMachina to do her thing once again, but this time decided to kill her?  Allura, who’s suffered the most, sacrificed the most out of all of the characters, is the one who has to die, when Honerva has the exact same power set as her, had absorbed all the energy of the universe, and showed that she was willing to fix her mistakes because of a very quick heel turn because of some memory flashback provided by our favorite Altean.  Like, if there were any lead up to this what-so-ever, if they had dropped some scenes explaining why this had to happen, then it could have been better and seeing that it would be inevitable for Allura to die would have been interesting.  As it stands however, it feels rushed, forced, and an answer to the plothole they wrote their selves into.  How do we fix Honerva destroying all realities?  Altean magic, of course!

 

This is what I’m going to need an entire post to talk about.  This, it’s execution, how clunky, and unnecessary it is when they spent an entire season bringing Shiro back to life earlier in the series, just isn’t cool.  It makes an otherwise amazing series and season just feel like we didn’t get the ending we were promised from the beginning.

It honestly felt like this wasn’t the ending that they wanted.  It feels like from how the show was going,  That it was going to end with EVERY PALADIN alive, and happy, and that suffering and sacrifice has its rewards for our heroes.  That Allura lost her family, but she has a found family in the paladins and can start anew in spite of all of her life hardships.  This terrible execution of theming, this rushed resolution to the plot, isn’t new to Voltron:  Legendary Defender, but it was excusable when overall the story was enjoyable.  If we had an extra season, I wholeheartedly believe we’d have a plot much like the Shiro clone plot in which the other paladins go to save Allura from a dimension in between realities.

 

The rest of the ending was fine.  I didn’t mind the epilogues itself, but everyone but Allura getting their happy ending leaves such a bad taste in my mouth.  This was an ensemble piece, and in my opinion that means the entire team should have made it out alive.  Teamwork, and supporting each other was a huge theme of the series, so Alura alone sacrificing herself is just a bad way to end the series.  I’ll be talking about this in another article however, so I will leave it at that.

 

If you’re a fan of Voltron:  Legendary Defender, this season is like the others.  Lots of action, good mech battles, decent characters, very choppy writing and poor execution for some key plot points.  This season felt rushed, and I really think that we needed an extra 13 episodes to get the story that the writers wanted to tell.  Allura dying was just there for shock value, and as I said earlier, it really doesn’t feel like what the show was heading towards, but sigh it happened so we have to deal with it.  I shall stick to my headcannon that the Lions fly off to get Allura so her and Lance can live on his farm, and have lots of half Altean, half Earth babies.  Such a bittersweet ending, that sours an otherwise amazing series, and season.

 

And those are my final thoughts on Voltron:  Legendary Defender season 8.  It had such a strong start, so many amazing nods to characters we’ve seen in flashbacks, and in the story.  My favorite interactions hands down were Allura and her Father getting to reunite, and seeing the original paladins help our favorite team in the end.  But fanservice like that doesn’t make up for the plot holes, bad execution, and pointless character death this season was plagued with.

 

And that’s what I’m left with guys.  This is where I’m at.  I went from fiery anger, to “I can’t believe they did this” to dull acceptance, and I guess that’s where I’m at now.  It’s up to you whether or not the ending will ruin the entire series for you, but for me, at this current point in time, it does and I don’t think I’ll be rewatching the show anytime soon, or watching anything else these writers produce.  I can’t bring myself to watch a show I enjoyed so much only to have such a hugely disappointing  ending be thrown at me, so yeah.

 

 

Watch season 8 of Voltron for all of the good in it, and let’s flock to fanfiction if the ending we got isn’t something that we liked.  I know I for one will be doing so.

 

 

And that’s it for my Voltron:  The Legendary Defender season 8 review.  Next post in this series, I’ll be talking about the series as a whole, and trying to dissect what went wrong, and what went right overall with the writing in this series.  Hope you come along for the ride!
Have you watched the series finale yet?  Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!  What parts in the season did you like, and what were deal breakers for you?

TV Shows

Marvel’s The Defenders Series 1 Review [Minor Spoilers]

The long awaited Marvel team up between the four heroes of the Marvel Netflix series has finally been released, and had an eight episode run.  Was it worth all of the hype?  My short answer is, sort of.  There were a lot of flaws in the series, but overall it was enjoyable enough.  It’s major flaws for me were the villain’s weak motivations (I’ll never like The Hand and their big reveal plot in this series was weak sauce) and as expected, Iron Fist.  But before I dive into those aspects of it, let’s talk about the stuff I liked.

 

The first three episodes were really well done.  We got a glimpse of each character on their own, with each of their scenes being styled after their individual shows.  You definitely got the film noire detective vibe from all of Jessica Jones’ solo scenes, the Harlem street drama vibe from Luke Cage, the dark, gritty, realist vibe from Daredevil, and the….crappy kung-fu movie vibe from Danny Rand’s scenes.  All of them flowed seamlessly together, and each individual scene stood on its own with its tone, while at the same time not feeling disjointed.  I have to say, I’m really impressed with the writing in this series.  They did a good job tying in continuity from both the MCU and the Netflix series universes.  One thing I thought that was both a pro and a con, was that The Defenders left off directly after every series end.  I’m not sure about when the series continue on their own, but I can imagine someone seeing Luke out of prison in the beginning of Luke Cage season 2 and being like “What?” if they didn’t watch The Defenders.  At the end of the series we got a lot of major character development for everyone, and whether they’ll carry that over to their series’ we’ll just have to wait and see.  Having what happened to Misty at the end however…I get they wanted to get her closer to her comic book counterpart, but I would have preferred that happen in Luke Cage as well.  All in all, the writing was good other than those little snags forced onto the plot by the limitations of “This is a Marvel show, this has to happen and this has to happen”.

 

The characters were amazing.  Jessica, Luke, and Matt have such great chemistry together.  Danny was less annoying than when he was in Iron Fist, but still his whiny, white privilege billionaire self got on my nerves (it was really nice to see Luke knock him down a few pegs).  My favorite relationship was definitely Matt and Jessica’s, I loved them in every scene they were in and you could tell that they had a great friendship blossoming between them.  Same with Danny and Matt, near the end they had a nice comradery.
They were trying really hard to give Luke and Danny scenes together (For an eventual Heroes for Hire series, I’m guessing) and like I said Danny wasn’t as bad in this but…even the awesome that is Luke couldn’t make him bearable.  I still wish they made Danny more like his animated series and comic book counterparts, because this angry rebel teen thing they’re doing here is just sooooo annoying.  But once again, seeing Danny continually  used as a punching bag for most characters was nice.  The Defenders all were MVP’s in their own right, it truly felt like a team up where everyone was equal, had strengths and weaknesses to build off of, and were able to work together as a team.  Unlike The Avengers, where it was a ton of A personalities coming together in spite of their differences, The Defenders are a bunch of broken, flawed people coming together, to form one, whole, powerful unit, and it’s really nice to see the diversity in not only their abilities, but their races, disabilities and the like.  Just really, really well done ensemble cast here, the best part of the series for me was watching them work as a unit.

 

The supporting cast is every supporting character from their respective series, and seeing them play off of each other, and off of others not from their series was awesome.  It really felt like this was a connected city, and that anyone could run into anyone.  Everyone’s chemistry was great, and seeing them setting up things for other shows or spin offs was nice (like Misty and Colleen talking to each other).

 

Weakest part about the characters, was The Hand.  I realize this is probably an unpopular opinion, but they are the most boring Marvel crime syndicate in the MCU!  I don’t freaking care about a bunch of ninjas running around in the shadows, and finding out their motivations in this I was just like “Seriously?  That’s it?  You were more intimidating without any motivations”.  Even interesting characters beforehand, like Madame Gao take such a hit when you find out she was peddling drugs and running an underground organization because “I don’t want to die ever eternal life is great”.  Ugh, so cliché, so lame, and all of them just wound up being one note over powered big bads at the end of the series.

 

The plot was alright.  After episode 4 more or less the series became a giant action set piece.  A lot of flimsy motivations for characters just to move the plot forward, and a lot of things that happened that were supposed to be shocking but we know won’t last because all of these series’ have another season in the works, so the “suspense” for me was DOA.  They revolved it all around The Immortal Iron Fist having to do something, and I feel like they did that because they wanted Danny to be important enough for people to want to keep track of, because the other three are far more interesting and dynamic than him.  The way they got everyone to join together was a bit clunky, but I get they only had eight episodes and wanted to move things along.  Overall, plot was the weakest point for me, and this was definitely an ensemble character piece more than anything because if you poke too hard at the logic of everything happening plot wise you’ll find holes like you wouldn’t believe.
So is The Defenders worth watching?  I think so.  If you like good action scenes, good characters, and all of these Netflix series, it’s worth watching to see  a fun super hero team up for the entirety  of the Marvel New York Universe.  I’m half expecting Spider-Man or Tony Stark to pop up eventually with how much The Defenders seemed like it was tying into the MCU as a whole, but we’ll see.  The show was labeled “series 1” instead of “Season 1” on Netflix, so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more of these mini series down the road.

 

Not all I have to say on this show, so be on the lookout for a few shorter posts on it!  I had a lot more I wanted to say in this review, but while writing it I realized this already was getting a bit long so will just piece out the rest into other posts.

Did you watch The Defenders?  How did you like it.

TV Shows

Iron Fist Episodes 11, 12, and 13 and Final Thoughts

Instead of breaking this down into the different episodes, I’m just going to talk about how I felt about the last three episodes as a whole because honestly they all blur together in my head with what an interesting mess it was.  In the end, we got two big boss showdowns, that both lacked impact, because of the lack of focus in the show.  I enjoyed Colleen’s fights, and her story arc (though I started to wonder why the cage fight plot just was dropped) but adding Danny’s child hood friend to the plot as an “antagonist” and having Joy just suddenly turn evil legit at the very end of the show (why would she want Danny dead?  Everything that happened to her family was Harold’s fault) was really poor plotting.  Ward’s plot mid-way through the series was interesting, but then let’s forget all about him for three episodes and throw in Danny’s man pain so he can come to terms with whatever he was going through.  Was it coming to terms with his parents death?  Coming to terms with what it meant to be both Danny Rand and the Iron Fist?  Figuring out how to live in New York?  All of those and more?  We rush the fight in episode 12 so we can throw Harold in as a phoned in antagonist in episode 13 and it just was all so clunky.  But hey, we got some classic action movie camp by having Danny and Harold’s show down be on a rooftop so…woo?
The “cliffhanger” at the end was so stupid.  Like was it supposed to interest me in the next season?  Because Danny just abandoned Ward and Joy after ruining their company.  I thought Colleen and Danny’s tender moments at the end were nice, and how their relationship resolved was great.
Claire shows up again, yay!  I thought it was super cute that she had one of Luke’s bullet-incrusted shirts at her place.  Ugh can those two get together already please!

 

Overall, this series was problematic.  Not bad, but just…it was being pulled in so many directions.  Trying to be some large scale character drama, corporate drama, a Marvel show, and an action kung-fu show.  Every time they mentioned something Marvel related like “The incident” (what happened in the Avengers) and Luke, and Daredevil, I just was like oh right this is in the same universe because Iron Fist feels like it’s just 100 percent devoid of anything that makes the Marvel Netflix shows, and the movies great.  It wanted to be dark and gritty, and that made it lack substance.  Every character but Danny was interesting, and when Danny is the main character you have to see in every episode, the show just drags.  Fin Jones is an amazing actor, I had never seen him before this and loved his portrayal  of Danny but the scripts he had to work with were just so lameeee.

 

 

I will say in this shows defense, there are a lot of things I’ve seen people criticize that just aren’t true.  I saw a review that said Colleen just leaves the show after her big plot reveal, but that plot resolves gradually through the second half of the series, and was the stronger story in the show.  I also saw a review saying Ward helping Danny in the end was out of the blue, but it wasn’t:  it was subtle, but it was obvious he was going to do it because of everything he had been through with Harold.  The only thing I agree with is the whole Joy plot not making sense.  She has every right to be disillusioned, but to the point of wanting to murder Danny?  She was  a bland unnecessary character, but there were no signs she would ever resort to something like that.

 

The villains  of this show, other than Madame Gao, are boring.  Probably because the screen time between about four major villains  is prone to make them all have paper thin motives.  They all started interesting, but just spiraled into rawr rawr I’m a badguy time to smaaash to get what’s mine and it got so old so quick.  I will say the plot twist at the end with who really killed Danny’s parents was interesting, didn’t see that coming.

 

 

My final thoughts on this series:  Like the characters in the show looking for their identity, so did Marvel’s Iron Fist.  Bouncing from so many genres in the process of 13 episodes, with mish mashed character development, storytelling, and bad pacing didn’t make this a bad watch, but rather a disappointing one.  I don’t think you need to watch this, even if you’re going to watch The Defenders:  it literally contributes nothing to the ongoing plot of the MCNYU other than introducing Danny and Colleen, and Ward and Joy to the fold.  Daredevil season 2 handled The Hand far better than this show did, and in all honesty I don’t see Danny adding anything of note to The Defenders team with this dark, emo, brooding  version of himself.  The whole fun of his relationship with Luke is that he’s the cheery optimistic one, how could you mess this up show!

 

If you want to get into the Marvel Netflix series, watch Daredevil season 1 or Jessica Jones first.  Then Luke Cage, then just skip this one and wait for the Defenders lol.  But no, in all seriousness:  this show is decent enough to watch.  Just don’t expect much from it.  I call it a popcorn watch because you’re not really going to care one way or another how things turn out story-wise and it’s just entertaining to have on when you have nothing to do (or when you can’t sleep, like when I’ve been watching it XD).

 

I’m glad I blogged about watching this show, because I wouldn’t have watched it otherwise and enjoyed doing so.  I’ll definitely be doing this for more shows in the future, had loads of fun writing down my thoughts after watching each set of episodes!

 

Did you watch Iron Fist?  Let me know what you thought in the comments!

TV Shows

Iron Fist Episodes 8, 9, and 10 Thoughts

Episode 8:

This series of three episodes were all an ongoing storyline so I decided to watch them all in one go.  And, once again, my main complaint about the show is so obvious.  It doesn’t know what type of show it wants to be.  A Corporate drama or a super hero show.  They go to China cuz of course they do and have some really boring fight scenes (seriously, the fight choreography  in the show is so clunky and the worst in any Marvel property imo) and we capture Madame Gao for a bit only to have her start messing with the characters in the next episode.  But hey, Claire is still here for now so at least that’s something.  I stand by Claire and Colleen having their own show, their chemistry on screen is just so great. And love their scenes together.
Other than that, literally nothing new.  Ward and Joy have family drama, Danny acts like a child who wants to smash things, and Claire and Colleen still remain awesome.

 

Episode 9:

I loved Madame Gao in this episode.  She was great, and her calling Danny a child throughout this series of episodes was just so great because she’s 100 percent right.  I don’t know what possessed whoever wrote this show to write Danny like this, but I’ve seen Iron Fist in other Marvel media and he’s just way better in those.  Is he still a bit bland?  Yes, but he’s not some brooding, emotastic, poor imitation of Batman in those so at least I can get behind him there.  In this, he has temper tantrums, is narrow minded, and just soooo bland.  And why doesn’t he know more about how his powers work as the Iron Fist?  You’d think the monks in the monastery would let him know something as important as he can heal people with his powers.

 

I also found it amusing that in the last episode he had every opportunity to kill Madame Gao with his powers, but instead he just punches the wall.  Like wth Danny come on!

 

Harold is back, which I knew he would be!  I wasn’t expecting him to go crazy, but I’m honestly not surprised.  Him starting to manipulate Joy is interesting, but at the same time Joy becoming a random heel turn villain  is so out of the blue and seems pointless at this point (at least that’s where it seems like it’s heading).

 

This episode honestly made me want the show to be over soon.  No real development for anyone, not even Ward, and it seems like Claire is out of the picture from this point on.  I hope her and Colleen remain bros though, I can’t live without Claireen having a spin off of some kind!

 

Episode 10:

OK, so I really wasn’t expecting this plot twist.  I mean, I was expecting it because I ran across a spoiler saying it would happen, but there was absolutely no lead up to it other than Madame Gao mentioning Colleen has a secret to hide from Danny.  I’d think Danny would be a liiiittle more reasonable and listen, because I thought Colleen brought up some good points!  Was she wrong, yeah totally, but at least listen to someone you trusted Danny, hear her out!

 

Danny’s childhood friend popping up wasn’t expected either, along with him having a non-Chinese accent!  Really weird casting choice there.  Another uninspired fight scene, with Joy going more dark side in her scenes, and Ward nowhere to be seen at all.  Can this show be over already?  When the bad guys are making way more sense than the main character, I really think the writing needs to be checked.  Right now, I’m hoping The Hand wins against Danny because of his incompetence.  Let Daredevil actually be the one to defeat them please.

 

I’m a little worried THAT the Hand is going to be the big bad in The Defenders series.  I’m all for Madame Gao coming back, but this series has really made me dislike them even more than Daredevil season 2 did.  They just make the narrative lack focus to me, and it’s  a lot funner to see our heroes face off against something a bit less broad.  Though I guess at this point, The Hand really is just an over blown drug dealer.

 

 

Only 3 episodes left, I can do this!  Here’s hoping the last three episodes are a lot better than these past three!

TV Shows

Iron Fist Episodes 6 and 7 Thoughts

Episode 6:

There’s my cheesey kung fu movie goodness!  This episode was full of campy tropes:  from flashing back to Sensei to get backstory, to a random warriors gauntlet, full of ridiculous dialogue, this episode was just loads of fun to watch.  Was it ridiculous?  Most definitely.  But it was lots of fun to watch because of it, so no complaints.  We’re starting to touch back upon the identity  discovery theme this show seems to like to sprinkle throughout which only half works for Danny, but nice to see it popping back.
ward steals the show once again, as his story arc starts it’s slow descent into chaos.  I feel so badly for him, I know that feeling of being helpless and utterly trapped in your situation, and he sells it so well.  My heart breaks for him, it’s so difficult to watch him have this nervous breakdown and Joy’s “help” seems like it’s more her wanting to save face.  Seems like she’s a lot more like Harold than one would initially believe, hmmm?

 

Colleen and Claire have their own mini adventure and I want to see them have a spin off because they’re great together.  Claire saying “Sweet Christmas” was a really cute nod to Luke Cage, and especially made me squeee because I ship Claire and Luke so hard (sorry Jessica Jones, but Luke and Claire is OTP).

 

Danny, why did you come back to reclaim a company if you’re going to not care about it and run it to the ground?  Are you really that selfish, or just that clueless.  His business savvy is infuriating, and I take back what I said about Joy and Ward being jerks because now Danny is the jerk who is ruining this company for what is seemingly the lolz.  Like he’s so detached from reality it’s not even fun to watch.  It’s better to see super heroes have to function in the real world, but he just dismisses it all to do whatever and it’s one of the things that really detracts from the show.

 

 

This show continues to have the same issue I mentioned a few episode’s back, not knowing what type of show it wants to be.  But at the same time, it’s fairly enjoyable.  However, it’s still suffering with it’s multiple plot threads, and lack of focus with character motivations.  But at least we got a good ninja deathmatch out of this episode!

 

Episode 7:

I guess the show runners figured people would be saying “Doesn’t Colleen run a dojo still?” because we see she’s still running classes.  I thought it was funny because the episode before I had that very question.  It seems like The Hand is gearing up to do something, or the show is trying to work it’s way towards it’s climax in some way because a lot of plots seem like they’re coming to a head.  For the life of me, I can’t really bring myself to care about any of them because the  writing is still paper thin.  Why does Danny want to stop The Hand?  Does he care because they’re doing  bad things, or because he’s Iron Fist.  Any time he may possibly get some depth he starts spouting proverbs and haiku and he really needs to get his act together.
Ward goes crazy in this episode ugh.  I don’t want to spoil anything else because you really need to watch his arc unfurl, but it’s fantastic and the most moving thing on this show.  His final break down in the end of this episode was just so heart breaking, can’t wait to see what happens next for him!
Wasn’t expecting that plot twist to happen at Rand industries with Joy either, I really want to see how she’ll react to what happened.  Have a feeling she’s going to go dark side on us but…honestly, the actress couldn’t sell that for me.  Joy is still a bland character for me, but I’m interested to see how she’ll react to what’s happening at Rand Industries.

 

Halfway through the show now, and seems like we’re getting some where plot wise.  Not saying I’m excited to see  what’s coming for anyone other than Ward, but will be interested to finish this up and cross my fingers that Danny won’t drag down The Defenders when it happens!

TV Shows

Iron Fist Episodes 4 and 5 Thoughts

Episode 4:

Ok, so I was right!  It only took til episode 4 to get all this mess taken care of, and for Danny to get his company back…only to instantly start screwing everything up.  Seriously, Danny, how stupid are you?

 

Ward gets infinitely more interesting than Danny in this episode, as his character arc begins.  Why we needed a 3 and a half episode span of setup, I don’t know, but at least the show is finally getting interesting.  I really loved Ward and Joy’s tender moment in this episode, and how they’ve started to slowly accept Danny back into their lives.  The scene at the beginning with Danny and Harold was good too, but of course we know Harold is up to no good~
I liked seeing Ward warn Danny too, and Harold being stone cold later in the episode.  Earlier in the episode I was asking myself if Harold really loved his kids, and I think he does in his own warped way after what he did to the person who punched Joy.  I also love how specific the fight choreography  has to get to get thugs to attack Danny’s hand so we can see how awesome (not) the power of the Iron Fist truly is!

 

Fun little name drops in this episode, by mentioning Daredevil.  Another one I almost missed, the news reporter name dropping Karen!

 

All in all, a good episode.  I feel like the show is finally beginning to begin here.
Episode 5:

Ward is so good in this one ugh.  Like when Danny gave him the packet of drugs I just was like “Don’t take the drugs, don’t take the drugs!” every time he eyed it throughout the episode.  That final scene with him and Joy broke my heart, he’s quickly becoming my favorite character.  I love how he tries to rebel against Harold also (that flipping off the cameras scene was so funny), just classic and really makes the character unique.

 

Aaand there’s Claire Temple!  What a waste of your Claire Temple!  I’ll admit, I loved that we got the sense that her and Coleen were total bros already, and I’m wondering how long Claire has been taking self-defense lessons.  I’m guessing for a few months, but not sure when the end of Luke Cage and this line up timeline-wise.  Throw in a really forced injury to a character, and we have one of her famous impromptu  “surgeries” and her classic call to action speech.  I love Rosario Dawson so any reason to have Claire in an episode doesn’t bother me but still utilize your reoccurring character a bit better ok.
Looks like Coleen and Danny are in this together, with some forced romantic chemistry!  I’m anxiously waiting for this to hit the fan hard, doesn’t seem like it’ll end well~
These two episodes got me a lot more engaged in the show honestly.  After the whole court drama in the first three, it was nice to just have some campy semi-over the top action sequences, interesting character development for Ward, and a big bad to face.  Fingers crossed Madame Gao and Danny face off later in the show, I’d love to see that given how much of a presence  she has in this series in particular.

 

Entertaining quote from episode 5:

Lackey:  He punched through the truck with his hand.

Madame Gao:  His hand, do you mean…his fist?

Dun dun duuuun those are the same thing I mean I get what you’re trying to do but that line is just silly and not at all suspenseful.

Any time Harold takes a pill the audio description says it’s green liquid and now I am just so curious:  Is it booz?  Hi-C?  Fruit juice?  The world may never know~

I’m also curious to know if the pills he’s taking are The Hand related, like are they what is keeping him alive?

 

That’s all I got for these episodes.  I’m happy the show is embracing it’s campy 80s action flick roots and am hoping for a lot more camp in the future!