Luke Cage > Daredevil > Jessica Jones > Iron Fist
In a perfect world, all seasons of episodic television would be presented in their entirety on subscription services like Netflix. Watching the full season in one night or spread out over several weeks would be the viewer’s choice. The ultimate reward is knowing that even if there is not another season, there was no cancellation in the middle of the story arc. The end might not be satisfying, but if it’s something you really love, the ending is always bittersweet.
Netflix took several Marvel characters and gave them each their own story. First, they gave us Daredevil. Daredevil was violence as art. It was beautiful, but brutal. Next was the psychological assault that was Jessica Jones. The skin crawling discomfort that makes me rank it below Daredevil is the exact reason other people rank it above Daredevil. I watched Daredevil in marathon chunks, but I had to take mental recovery time after each episode of Jessica Jones.
Luke Cage was the next gift from Netflix and it included a soundtrack of perfection. In every scene of Luke Cage, there was one moment that was the frame from a comic book. The characters in Luke Cage were more real and familiar than Daredevil and more likeable than in Jessica Jones. Politicians as the villains that persist was icing on the cupcake of Luke Cage.
What all three series had in common was a comic book aesthetic that made it fun to watch. Iron Fist forgets that it is a comic book. The street festival and a karaoke scene stood out as missed opportunities instead of the use of colors, sounds and camera angles that they should have been. Iron Fist moves so slow that it is episode eight before there is a fight scene that is worthy of praise. We can’t even use Iron Fist as the launching point for an adult conversation about the cultural fetishism in comic book culture and the general population because most people will have stopped watching Iron Fist after the first episode.
Ultimately, Iron Fist is filler to tide us over until The Defenders. It’s fun, but it could and should have been so much more than the series that lowers the bar for The Defenders to be a success.