My Thoughts on Iron Fist

My Thoughts on Iron Fist

Danny Rand, not the best, not the worst.
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My review of Iron Fist will be primarily spoiler free, however I cannot promise everything won’t lead you to conclusions of your own. I will start of by saying, I am a big fan of all things Marvel, and so when Iron Fist came out I had a chance to watch it immediately. I tried to make my own judgements on the show, and shut out the negative reviews. Full Disclosure: I am not familiar with Iron Fist as far as the comics go- so I cannot remark on this shows faithfulness to the source material.

Enter Danny Rand, our Kung Fu master hero. Within the first few minutes of the show, we are introduced to him as he walks around New York city barefoot, and looking much like a homeless art student. The first few fight scenes really leave something to be desired as he is almost too good at fighting, and is usually able to beat just about everyone. In other words, when no one in the series can match his skills in fighting, it becomes mundane as we know he can beat just about anyone without having to tap into his Iron Fist powers. My largest complaint is the pacing and I think I was just spoiled from the amazing fight scenes from Luke Cage, and Daredevil. With the other shows in the Defenders prelude, I could see how each character fit into the team- two super strength metahumans, and two men who learned martial arts from a young age.

The fan service wasn’t really there with this entry as a whole, and frankly, I tried my hardest to like this show- and this isn’t me saying it’s a bad show, it’s just not as strong as other entries in the Marvel Netflix originals. Each show had their own flavor if you will, Danny Rand and Iron Fist leave little to taste, and even less to desire. I would say that the villain(s) in this show really fall short, with Madam Gau reprising her role as the leader of the Hand. These are the Ninjas that tore up Claires (Rosario Dawson) work in Daredevil. Ultimately, Danny meets Coleen Wing, who has the most character development, besides Ward Meachem, and she has no interest in talking with him. As the story progresses, we get a better feel for how Danny became so out of touch with reality when we take a look at the context of this long 15 years of training. Many of the primary complaints critics have had stem from Danny, and how he is not a character that we can relate to. The thing is, this show has ALL the variables to make a great and amazing show, but ultimately falls short of connecting the dots in a meaningful way. For example, with shows like daredevil, it plays around the fact that he is a blind attourney who is as capable as any person who can see. With Jessica Jones we get the sort of private investigator, and it unfolds like a mystery show- and directly ties with Luke Cage, in Luke Cage it plays very much like a gangster movie and deals with various issues, delves into his past, and wraps it up nicely between past and present. Iron Fist, had potential to play out like a Kung Fu film, and could have included that sort of campiness. If you want a good martial arts film, be sure to check out Ip Man! Largely, there was a large opportunity to channel the ways that martial arts films make fights fun. It seemed like all of the fight scenes in Iron Fist were dulled down, and just kind of didn't strengthen Danny Rands character.

A better way to have tied in Danny’s story to the other Defenders would have been to include Elektra as a Villain, or someone other than the Rand Corporation and the Hand. The idea that I like about Daredevil is that it finds a way to hold together all the moving pieces through it’s fluid and dynamic characters. The pacing in Iron Fist also has no structure. One minute we are in a fight scene, and the next we are in a boring dialog about Rands holdings. The show loves to remind you how much money Rand corporation has made. Again, I feel that Iron Fist has the potential to come back a lot stronger for Season 2. Daredevil had the formula that really broke the mold and made the audience relate and empathize with Matt Murdock. Danny Rand has PTSD, and that trauma is what makes him human. As an audience most people can relate as more often than not we have traumatic experiences. Danny struggles throughout the show to come to terms with his trauma, but never really lets it go. He just pushes it within, and tries to ignore it. Growing up in a monastery he was afforded few of the modern mental health commodities that we all take for granted, and the trauma was basically “beaten out of him” and so that kind of makes Danny a loose cannon. He is headstrong and impulsive, but he is a good man. Danny really has all the makings of a character who could have benefited from some solid character development, as aligning his Chi could have been blocked by his emotions. He had issues during parts of the show summoning his inner chi to use the Iron Fist. We also never see Danny in his traditional costume or anything like it(SAD!) he just looks like a homeless person throughout the show. Later in the season we see a previous incarnation of the Iron Fist in a black and white film sporting the traditional garb of the Iron Fist.

Again, I won’t tell you NOT to watch this show, as it is important context for the Defenders series coming to Netflix later this year, but I will tell you, watch it with the things I mentioned earlier in mind, and you will probably get more enjoyment out of it. It falls short in that it has all the workings of a truly amazing show, but makes the audience work too hard to even notice, let alone piece together those subtle tones and messages hidden within.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay free images

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Awkward — Friend Or Foe?

A twenty-year-old's attempt to accept awkwardness.

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Too often I find myself thinking about the word 'awkward' and all its versatile uses. Who decided that certain situations, actions, and interactions are not deemed "normal," but rather labeled an uncomfortable, awkward, or cringy experience that we either laugh about later or feel self-conscious about years later. After we saw Olivia Wilde's new movie "Booksmart" (as a side note I 12 out of 10 recommend this movie), one of my best friends and I looked back and simultaneously laughed and cringed about how awkward our high school freshmen-selves were. How we talked almost exclusively to each other, had uncomfortable conversations with our peers, and how being called on by a teacher to read anything aloud to the class was just about the worst thing we could ever imagine happening. We had a great time freshmen year, and because of our co-dependency that year, I can't imagine a day when she won't be one of my best friends. However, while so many memories from that year are priceless, some I would gladly erase given the opportunity.

We might have laughed at how awkward we were, but it also left us feeling extremely uncomfortable in our skin, terrified of what other people thought of us, and we walked around like cartoon characters with clouds parked over our heads. I think a lot of us feel this way, personifying and vilifying the word "awkward," granting the interpretation of that word the power of a defining label. Therefore, both of us were sufficiently happy when we felt like we finally outgrew our 'awkward' phase, and grew into confident — slightly more confident — college grown-ups. However, although we've mostly outgrown that phase, memories from those years that are hard to remember, but even harder to forget. Bad feelings, impossible to shake, find their roots in those awkward years of high school and refuse to vacate.

The word awkward has a weird power because sometimes it can make someone feel bad about themselves, but at other times it can make someone appear quirky and charming. However, despite how it may feel in a specific moment, "Awkwardness" has always felt like something I've had to strive to overcome. I've always thought I could just grow out of it, and train myself to not be awkward. Today, as a twenty-year-old college student, I sometimes feel like the new and improved me, but other times I still feel like an uncomfortable, tentative fifteen-year-old dying to be comfortable. However, the other when that same freshmen friend and I walked out of the movie theater, laughing about the similarities between the characters of "Booksmart," and how we acted all those years ago, I had a thought. What if there is no outgrowing our scared, "awkward" parts? What if being comfortable and happy comes from accepting that being awkward doesn't have to be a bad thing, and that being awkward may be a small part of my personality. Maybe it's something I don't need to and shouldn't change.

After all, we all can't help being a bit awkward sometimes. In fact, I think awkwardness may be part of what makes life so unexpected and fun. If it wasn't, why would people make a movie about it?

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