Double-Feature Review: Iron Fist, Power Rangers

I just finished Iron Fist and I saw Power Rangers last week, and OH BOY do I have lots of problems with both!

Iron Fist (2017)

When I say that I powered through and finished Iron Fist, I mean it. I POWERED through it. In fact, there were times when I wanted to stop watching it altogether, but I held out hope that it would redeem itself, but it didn’t. The show fails to make us care about the characters or where they are from. There is no weight to their actions because we just don’t care or otherwise don’t know enough to care. We don’t care if Danny gets his business back. We don’t care that he abandoned this place K’un-Lun (that we never get to see). Nothing in this show holds our interest. The fight scenes certainly don’t. For a show with a martial artist as the protagonist, the fight scenes are lacking and don’t even compare to those in Daredevil (a show that features a blind man that hears real good as its hero). The main character is more like a petulant child than a hero, throwing numerous tantrums and being fooled by literally everyone around him, but you feel no sympathy for him. Danny is appropriately called a weapon, because he really has no will or ideas of his own. And speaking of the Iron Fist, Danny hardly EVER uses his power. It’s like Luke Cage without being bulletproof or Daredevil without his superhuman senses. We are not watching this show to watch a rich white boy squabble to earn back his business or carry on a romance with a two-dimensional bechdel test subject. We are watching this show to see Iron Fist use the FREAKING IRON FIST!! There have been much better shows and movies and stories that have dealt with the alienated or otherwise presumably dead heir returning to claim his multi-billion-dollar business (Season 1 of Arrow, Batman Begins, etc.). This subject matter has been dealt with before and Iron Fist desperately needed something to make itself unique and set itself apart from those stories, but it just didn’t. I wonder at times if the acting is just truly that terrible or if the lines the actors were given are so poorly written that they just can’t be delivered in a meaningful way. Speaking of bad writing, am I just supposed to believe that when a billionaire that died of cancer 13 years ago returns to run his old business with an army of armed thugs to protect his office that no one bats an eye?  Again, the writing shows no consequences of anyone’s actions and even if it did, we wouldn’t care.

Iron Fist is, without a doubt, the worst of Netflix’s Marvel shows. The characters are uninteresting, the writing is blasé, the music actually hurts my ears, the fight scenes fail to deliver the crunch this show needed, and we hardly ever get to see the hero use his power that sets him apart from every other martial artist in this world (and the show would have us believe that they are legion). One line of the show actually sums up all of it quite well, “Without that Iron Fist, you’re just a screwed-up little boy.” And who wants to watch a show about that? 

I give Iron Fist a grade of…

Power Rangers (2017)

I could tell Power Rangers was going to be cheesy just from the trailers. I jokingly called it “The Breakfast Club Rangers” every time I talked about it, and I wasn’t too far off. My wife and I were literally laughing out loud during the movie, which I don’t think the other audience members appreciated (sparse as they may have been). As the movie starts, we see the first Power Rangers, the team led by Zordon, millions of years ago and we see that the Yellow Ranger is decidedly alien. She has a strange face, weird head shape, elongated arms; she’s not human. Then we see Zordon and it’s just Bryan Cranston with blue facepaint. The same with Rita Repulsa, she has Klingon-esque forehead ridges that gradually disappear the more gold she eats. (Which is so perfect, isn’t it?  A female villain who is obsessed with jewelry? But we’ll talk more about the movie’s two-dimensional antagonist in a little bit.) The characters (heroes and otherwise) of this movie are just thrown at us and we never really are given a reason to care about them or what their motivations are, especially the Red and Pink Rangers. What does Jason want? The approval of his father? What does Kimberly want? Shorter hair? And I was more than a little concerned that these high schoolers were so accepting of the idea that they had to kill Rita. And they flat-out said it, “We have to kill Rita!” I was, like, “Whoah. Should we just be throwing the k-word around in this super hero film?” The entire movie was just an advertisement for Krispy Kreme (which worked in that regard, because my wife and I really wanted to go eat at Krispy Kreme afterwards). There is a moment in the climax of the movie where Rita literally sits down inside the Krispy Kreme to eat a perfectly menu-display-plate of donuts. To which I exclaimed”Oh, COME. ON!” in the theater.  As for Rita, the two bits of character development we get on her is that she used to be the Green Ranger and Zordon describing her as “pure evil.” -slow clap- Move over, Loki and Darth Vader! We got a new top tier villain rising through the ranks! Rita is weird and disgusting and oddly sexual for an adaptation of a kid’s TV show. Also, her powers (and the powers of the rest of the Power Rangers) are poorly explained. If she used to be the Green Ranger, why does she have these powers that no other Rangers have? Can the other Rangers create rock homunculi? Do they have similar cravings for precious metals? (Also, how stupid is Rita that she goes around taking gold rings and necklaces from people in the town when she could just go a few yards north of the town to the FREAKING GOLD MINE that the town is famous for?!) Power Rangers has one of the most iconic theme songs ever. As I type this, I can think of Pokemon and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as being more well-known and sing-along-worthy. SO, WHY ARE THE CREATORS SO HESITANT TO PLAY THE DAMN SONG?! The audience is given a snipit, a teeny morsel, of the song when the Power Rangers are riding their Zords out to fight Goldmember and Rita Repulsor Rays and that’s it. THAT’S IT?!? They missed a golden opportunity to play the song during the climatic moment when the Megazord rises from the flames to kick Goldemember’s butt, deciding to go instead for Kanye’s “Power”, and then missed a perfect moment again in the credits when they chose to play Snaps’ “I’ve Got The Power.” These complete whiffs on perfect musical moments hurt me down in my bones. They really did. Not everything in Power Rangers was bad though. I LOVED Tommy, the Blue Ranger. How fitting that my favorite Ranger as a kid is again my favorite Ranger as an adult? Tommy is established as a kid on the autistic scale and I think that is so powerful to have a hero with a social and mental disability. It reminds me of a review I read when Guardians of the Galaxy came out about an autistic child telling his mom how much he related to Drax because “he doesn’t get stuff, just like me!” I applaud the creators for giving children with autism a hero to relate to and look up to.

Power Rangers was oh-so-cheesy. Its lines fell flat and the characters were laughable. That being said, the fight scenes were still better than Iron Fist and the Blue Ranger really makes the movie for me. If nothing else, Power Rangers is entertaining (if for all the wrong reasons).

I give Power Rangers a grade of…

Sorry about the language earlier, but those musical misnomers just… CHAPPED MY KHAKIS!! Have you seen Iron Fist and Power Rangers yet? I wouldn’t recommend that you go out of your way to do so, if you haven’t. Maybe Power Rangers, if you’re looking for a good laugh or a chance to MST3K a movie with some friends. Talk to me in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Keep it nerdy, y’all!

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