This weekend on 9/30/17 will be Harley Quinn Day (normally Batman Day). But this year, since it has been 25 years since the incarnation of Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS), DC Entertainment marked this Saturday as Harley Quinn Day instead. BTAS was my favorite childhood cartoon growing and I always say they don’t seem to make cartoons like they used to. BTAS had such a mature tone that was ahead of its time and had such good stories with voiceover actor legends, Mark Hamill as The Joker and Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne/Batman (I’m looking forward to meeting them at New York Comic Con on Thursday!) Harley has always been such a fun character yet annoying at times but Mad Love arc was such a great story that offered a complementary character to Joker in the series and the Batman Adventures comics-based on the animated series that lead to DC Comics making Harley part of continuity that lead to her in other comic books outside of the animated comics. Her popularity increased when Rocksteady released the Arkham video games (Arkham Asylum, Arkham City & Arkham Knight). DC Comics has been trying to use this to their advantage by having her own series and incorporating her more into the comics to boost sales but it seems that merchandise makes up for most of it. Her popularity even lead to her in Suicide Squad and I was intrigued when they casted Margot Robie as Harley Quinn in the movie and ended up enjoying her performance in it. I thought she was pretty spot on with Harley’s demeanor in the comics. DC Films are planning to release more spin-offs with, Gotham City Sirens movie which includes Poison Ivy and Catwoman, but I wonder who they’ll cast and hopefully they can get the tone right. I always thought Paul Dini and Bruce Timm conveyed the tone perfectly for BTAS. The other spin-off includes, a Harley and Joker movie which I’m not too confident on and a sequel to Suicide Squad which I feel won’t be better than the last one. More recently, Warner Bros. released Batman & Harley Quinn animated movie which is in the Timm-verse animation style. I thought the movie was okay as it was quirky and brought back the animation style I was used to growing up. Throughout the years there have been different renditions of Harley outfits, which one would you say is your favorite?
Wow! I went in with low expectations, despite the positive reviews by audiences and critics, I still didn’t expect it to be such an enjoyable movie. New Line did a fantastic job with the casting and screenplay. They gave a director with a short list of directed films and let him shine in jumpstarting a horror franchise. Kudos! For those that are fans of Stranger Things, you’ll definitely enjoy ‘IT’ as it starts Finn Wolfhard who plays Mike Wheeler on the show. In addition, they bring in Jaeden Lieberher, who played the kid, Alton in Midnight Special which I thought was a good movie. Wolfhard brings in a lot of the humor throughout the movie which the original ‘IT’ lacked and makes the movie more enjoyable and fun. The cast as a whole had good chemistry and gave the movie a lot of heart and I’m looking forward to see who they cast in the sequel! For those that haven’t read the Collider article yet, the young Loser Club cast provide their ideal adult casting choices for IT: Chapter 2, here. I felt the ‘IT’ reboot really paid homage to the original and the most gruesome scene was probably at the beginning of the film. What really makes this movie a rated-R, is all of the cussing these kids do. Gosh, did I cuss that much when I was that young? Probably. There’s quite a few jump scares throughout the film to keep you awake and Bill Skarsgard didn’t disappoint in filling Tim Curry’s large clowns shoes of playing Pennywise. I felt the movie had the right balance of scariness and humor. Hopefully, they sustain their momentum into the sequel. What did you think of the film? Who would you like to see in Chapter 2?
It’s that time of the year again and I’ll be attending San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) for the second time. But this time, I’ll be going as an attendee rather than a volunteer which frees my schedule up to try and catch exclusives and panels! Because there’s so many things to do at SDCC, it’s difficult or nearly impossible to do everything you want! The veterans know that you’ll have to prioritize between what’s realistic and what you value the most. Also, it’s better to go with an entourage so people can wait in more than one line and you can have shift changes for line duties.
For the bigger panels that are in Hall H, you’ll have to spend the night before outside camping and waiting in the next day line into Hall H. But if you rather go to an autograph signing then you’ll have to get in the everything else line the night before so you can be grouped towards the front of the line into the convention center to head to the Sails Pavilion to grab a lottery ticket. The everything else line is for everyone that’s trying to get into the convention for an item exclusive, lottery ticket for autograph signing and etc. What sucks about the signings’ is that they’re extremely limited (e.g. 100 valid tickets / 500 total tickets) and your chances are up in the air which is better sometimes if you can’t make it all the way to the front of the waiting lines. Also, it’s impossible to watch all of the panels in Hall H and do all of the autograph signings. Because after a panel ends, the signing usually takes place an hour or two after. Unless, the panel is a late panel then the signing can happen before the panel starts or the next day. The biggest panels are normally on Saturday because Warner Bros. and Marvel Studios showcase their upcoming blockbuster movies with sneak peaks, behind-the-scenes, Q&A with the movie cast and etc. For instance, I’d like to see the Warner Bros. panel for Justice League and Blade Runner AND see the Marvel Studios Panel for Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War…. which is possible but if I had wanted to do the autograph signings, I’d have to prioritize which one doesn’t overlap and if I have to get to the Sails Pavilion area at 6:30 A.M. the day of to take a shot of luck on getting a winning lottery ticket.
As for item exclusives, this year, I haven’t been impressed with the exclusives but a couple caught my eye like the Funko Pop! Vinyl MMPR Megazord or the Game of Thrones Mountain figures and the 24th Century Fox Vinyl Blu-Ray sets. I’m looking more forward to seeing some panels since I had to miss a lot of them last year due to volunteering and I’d like to get some sketches from certain comic book artists. Such as, Rob Liefeld who created Deadpool. He usually does a bunch of sketches and randomly places them around public areas in San Diego near the convention center. He’ll post clues on social media (Twitter and Instagram) on how you can get them.
Most of all, since I’m a big fan of Batman, you’ll see my schedule list a lot of Batman-related panels in which I hope I can attend. Last year, I was lucky enough to grab a Bruce Timm sketch of Harley Quinn. This year, I’m hoping to get a Jim Lee sketch of Batman and a Rob Liefeld sketch of Deadpool.
-Get movie vinyls from Fox booth. Would like to get Deadpool + Logan vinyls. Comes w/ Blu-ray, DVD and vinyl soundtrack.
-Lego Minifig line @ 12:30p sails pav. Wait in line to press a button on a tablet to see if you win an exclusive Lego minifigure.
-Jim Lee panel @ 12:45p rm 6DE or rm 2? 1st opportunity for Jim Lee sketch.
-Blade Runner offsite 10a-7p. Free giveaways.
-Batman: Mask of Phantasm panel @ 4:15p rm 6A. Bruce Timm and Kevin Conroy appearance w/ free giveaways.
-Line open @ 6a to Sails Pav. for WB or Marvel autograph signing tickets
-Lego Minifig line @ 12:30p.
-TWD signing @ 1:45p. AMC booth
-The Punisher signing @ 3:30p. Marvel booth
-Game of Thrones signing @ 3:30p. WB booth
-Jim Lee panel @ 4:30p rm6DE. 2nd opportunity to get a Jim Lee sketch.
-Harley Quinn premiere @ 7p ballrm 20. The Batman & Harley Quinn animated movie will be screened w/ free giveaways.
-Hall H next day line camping
-Hall H @ 7:30a.
-WB panel @ Hall H 11:30a. Blade Runner + Justice League footage w/ appearances by the cast.
-Justice League signing @ ??. Schedule still hasn’t been released.
-Marvel Studios panel @ 5:30p. Teaser footage from Black Panther + Avengers: IW.
-Wildstorm signing offsite @ 7:30p.
-Game of Thrones offsite 9a-1p. Free Funko Pop Vinyl figure.
-Bruce Timm panel @ 11a rm 7ab
-Lego Minifig line @ 12:30p Tentatively scheduled based on success on Thu + Fri.
1) Spider-Man’s Avengers Suit!
I really liked the suit when Tony revealed it towards the end of the film but am glad Peter didn’t jump the gun into being an Avenger. You really get the sense that Peter realizes that he had bitten more than he could chew when fighting against the Vulture. I think many people can relate to this in real life. I’d rather have Sony/Marvel focus more on the “Friendly Neighborhood” type of Spidey with NY-based villains which seems like the approach Marvel is taking which is good.
2) Michelle is MJ! But no not really.
Based on Kevin Feige’s publicized response, it’s that they wanted to put a twist on Mary Jane with Michelle as a potential love interest which I can see them doing. But in respect to Mary Jane, they didn’t use the same name but kind of proven the rumor to be some what true. But it would be weird if they introduce another MJ though. I think most fans weren’t thrilled with Zendaya’s performance and she wasn’t THE MJ we were expecting. I guess we’ll see what happens. I really do miss Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy though. But I never cared for Kirsten Dunst’s portrayal of MJ in Raimi’s films.
3) The Vulture is Liz’s Dad.
The Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner homage was excellently carried out on screen. I didn’t really see this twist coming. But I knew there was going to be some twist coming to where Keaton’s Vulture would discover who Peter was. I think everyone who watched “Homecoming” can agree that Keaton’s portrayal as Vulture has been the best on screen villain we’ve seen in the MCU.
4) Gwyneth Paltrow Appearance.
I figured Gwyneth Paltrow was done with making Marvel movie appearances after watching “Civil War”. I guess I was wrong! She makes a surprise cameo and ends up becoming engaged to Tony, unexpectedly though.
5) Recon Mode or Kill Mode.
The A.I. in Spidey’s suit is a little over kill and makes him too much like Iron Man. But would you really expect anything less from Tony Stark? I’m hoping they really downplay this in the upcoming films as I feel it takes a lot from Spider-Man’s abilities.
6) Vulture Doesn’t Rat on Peter?
Talk about a humble villain… Vulture ends up keeping his mouth shut on Peter’s identity as Spider-Man. I wonder why? Is it to protect his family or does he have an ulterior motive? Maybe, it’s because he respects Peter wanting to do better and envies him still being innocent and untainted from the real world.
7) There’s Two Shockers!?
The part where they introduce both Shockers by Keaton was pretty hilarious. What was once a gimmicky name ended up becoming an actual alias for Bokeem Woodbine’s character, Herman Schultz.
8) Scorpion Appearance.
I felt both Woodbine and Mike Mando’s characters were under utilized but it was expected. I’m hoping the end credits scene is foreshadowing a future Sinister Six movie and if they’re in the same prison as Kingpin (if you follow Daredevil TV series on Netflix), then this may not be too far from the truth. If they take the direction like M. Night Shymalan’s “Split” and keep it villain-centric or even like a Goodfellas-style movie where it’s “bad guy vs. bad guy” then it could turn out to be a good story.
9) No Spidey Sense?
It’s interesting to see Jon Watt’s focusing on a developing Spider-Man rather than a seasoned one or even a Spider-Man who seems to have a very short learning curve and becomes this expert super hero like in other films. Maybe, we’ll get this in “Avengers: Infinity War”?
10) Aunt May Discovers Peter’s Secret.
I felt this was rather sudden! But Marissa Tomei was lovely as a younger Aunt May and her reaction was priceless. We’ll see how she copes with this in the sequel!
1) Seoul Metro transit system. My routine would normally be take the bus to Gyeongbokgung station and take the subway. Typical travel time would be 30-45 min to get you where you need to go to most places but can take an hour or more depending upon distance and waiting on the train. Also, it can take a few minutes to transfer to different lines because you have to walk awhile to get there and then there’s stairs and crowds.
2) Korean traditional style food and teahouse. I ate a lot of good food and tried traditional style dishes about 3 times or so. I still prefer K-BBQ but the tea house at Kyeung in in Insadong was a pleasant experience.
3) Partied in Hongdae til 6am. I made new random friends. Theres so much nightlife but Thursday Party, Cocky Pub, Club FF and Mike’s Cabin were foreigner friendly and tons of fun. You just need an ID or passport. I always used my US passport card.
4) Korean war museum (Free). You need a good 3-4 hours because it’s very comprehensive. I got to learn a lot about not only the Korean War but prior to that as well.
5) Train to Busan. The KTX which takes you from Seoul Station to Busan Station takes 2 hrs; 45 min and makes like 4 stops along the way. Costs like W54,000 one way. I recommend the Yongungsa Temple (Free) and the BUTI bus tour W15,000.
6) About over a year ago, I met a Korean waitress at a restaurant in DC. I talked with her for a bit and thought she was really cool so I got her contact info. Fast forward to my time in Korea, I end up going out for someone’s going away dinner and connected with a Korean girl there who is coincidentally the best friend of the Korean waitress I met in DC over a year ago. She moved back to Korea and I ended up reuniting with her again in Seoul! Reminds you that it’s a small world!
7) I went to two Korean music festivals: Greenplugged Seoul Festival in Nanji Han River Park and the Seoul Jazz Festival in Olympic Park. I got to see my favorite Hip-Hop and R&B artists such as Jay Park, Dean, Crush, Zion.T and Zico.
8) Inwangsan Mountain. I went hiking on the mountain a few days while in Seoul and it gives you a great scenic view of Seoul from the top. Don’t forget your camera!
9) Shopping in Seoul. You goto Insadong for art and antique souvenirs such as name stamps and handmade bags while you goto Dongdaemun for expensive and cheap fashionable clothes. Sellers in Dongdaemun malls can be more aggressive in getting you to buy their stuff. Itaewon has pretty cheap leather stores and a lambskin jacket can run you $250.
10) Met Talk To Me in Korean’s host and founder, Hyunwoo. I’ve spent many hours listening to their podcasts, watching their Youtube videos and studying from their lessons. With this, I was able to practice my Korean with local people. Although, I still struggle with listening comprehension and pronouncing certain things, it was nice exposure and only motivates me more to become fluent.
Hey people! I’m back from my three week trip in Korea where I spent it mostly in Seoul and a few days in Busan. It was my first time since I was born in ’85 when I was “sold and exported” aka adopted from my motherland (I kid, but not really). There’s a lot of places to see like museums, mountains, palaces, bookstores and markets. I’m so jealous at how efficient and clean the Seoul Metro system is. The DC metro has nothing on it. There’s so many good food options, mostly Korean food and it’s cheaper than back home and it’s a lot more better tasting and customer service is better.
It was a great experience to finally be closer to my roots and see how the culture is nowadays. I must say it’s a great feeling being part of the majority crowd for once. I don’t think most people know how that feels to be on both ends of the spectrum. But I got to meet a lot of interesting people throughout my time in Seoul but the most appealing to me was the opportunity to talk to fellow Korean adoptees from all over the world such as the Netherlands, France, New York, Colorado and Minnesota to name a few.
It was such a relief to be able to talk to other adopted people you can relate to and that understand where you are coming from. I believe this is a rarity back home in the DMV. Amongst some of the adoptees, we’ve had interesting discussions on the progress of their birth family searches, revealed how unique each of story is and talked about how challenging the process for birth family searches can be for most people. In addition, I got to see the perspective of many Korean adoptees living in Korea and how difficult it may be to adapt from not being fluent in the language and adjusting to the economy and the culture. It’s so intriguing to see how different each of us were raised but how some things are so similar to develop us as individuals to a certain point where we’re socially aware of who we are and of our surroundings.
Based on conversations with many people that live in Korea, the country still seems to be very prejudice, classist and sexist society. We had agreed that this is mostly due to the older generation’s way of thinking. Korean Americans (or gyopos, as I’ve learned while there) and adoptees are still slightly looked down upon but it has become more open than what it has been because of the millennial generation being more prevalent nowadays.
But anyways, here’s the Top 10 Things I Learned in Korea:
1) Seoul Metro. The subway is cleaner and more efficient than the Washington, DC metro. You can well informed displays of what the current stop is and what the next one is in, English, Korean and Chinese. Also, they give you a status of where the next train is, if it’s nearby, how long ’til the next one and pretty funny safety drawings on what you shouldn’t be doing. Inside of each subway station, there are convenient stores, shops and restrooms inside! You can buy that new Samsung phone case while also picking up a coffee while you transfer.
2) Meet Ups. People use metro stops and their exits as reference points for meeting up. But keep in mind the exits because there are multiple ones that can take take time to walk to each one as each exit takes you to different directions on the road.
3) Curfew. Although bars and clubs stay open anywhere between 3a-10a the metro always closes around 12a even on the weekends, therefore you’ll have to know how to ask a taxi driver to take you home because they run all night. But you can also wait til 5a for the metro to open or take a rest at a jimjilbang which is a Korean spa and sauna.
4) Plenty of 24/7 Convenience Stores. Korea has 7 Elevens, CVS and GS25. The CVS is called CU because the V is difficult to pronounce in Korean. Inside these stores, you’ll find a decent selection of beer and liquor but a wider selection of types of instant noodles. Also, you can find snacks to include: Pringles, shrimp chips, kimbap, spam-infused food.
5) Western Food with Korean Flair. Most Western-style restaurants that serve American food will often add a Korean-style taste which is either some type of sweet sauce or added sugar. For instance, bulgogi burgers and bulgogi pizza can taste pretty sweet. Even the chicken quesadilla I ordered had some sweet and savory sauce on it. Surprisingly, the guacamole tasted fresh and legit!
6) Safety. Koreans perception of safety and danger is different from the US. When walking around Seoul and Busan, I noticed it being real safe at night. You’ll see women walk by themselves quite often. I’ve rarely seen homeless people (maybe 2 or 3) and seen like two fights amongst locals and foreigners but this is typical anywhere you go out late at night in a party scene. I talked to a few local women and they say its really safe however rape has occurred from time to time based on what they read and see in the news. But more commonly is sexual harassment in the workplace. People seem to think metro cities in the US are more dangerous, which is probably true. I was asked if I had owned a gun which is a strange question.
7) Cider vs. Sprite. The Korean version of Sprite, Chilseng Cider (칠성사이다) tastes wayyy better than Sprite, because it uses natural sugar. You can’t find Sprite in as many places at restaurants and convenience stores but they do serve Sprite on Korean Air though.
8) Name Stamps. Koreans still use name stamps, called dojang (도장) when signing official documents. You can find shops all over Insadong that can customize engrave your stamp with wood or stone. Costs anywhere between W30,000-W150,000 won. You can get cool designs with dragons and flowers and get to pick your stamp made of wood and choose amongst ten or so different types of stones. I ended up getting a wooden one with a dragon design and had my Korean name done.
9) Yellow Dust Ain’t No Joke. If you have sensitive lungs or get sick easily, be prepared! The quality of air can change dramatically through out the day because of the Yellow dust and pollution from China and Korean. I would definitely consider on buying a mask that’s KR95 or N95 rated and above. These are the white looking ones. Don’t buy the black ones unless you wear it over the white masks. The black masks are simply used for fashion purposes and does nothing to protect you from the pollution. You might start noticing the air change when you’re out and about during the day when it’s warm. You might smell something like chemicals or have trouble breathing and have an itch in the back of your throat. I recommend downloading the AirVisual app and keeping a mask on your person when going out. Masks can cost about W1500-W3000.
10) Dating Scene. Last but not least, a few number of Koreans use the online dating apps, Coffee Meets Bagel and Tinder in Korea. This is mostly to meet other foreigners. There are some Korean dating apps strictly for locals as well but I never got to around using them because they’re probably only in Korean. But I had gotten way more matches on CMB within 3 weeks than I had ever received through my three years living in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area. However, most Koreans seem to still do blind dating, called sogaeting (소개팅) but a lot of Koreans don’t seem to like it. Some Koreans are cautious on online dating and therefore don’t use it because they don’t know the person and some are open because it’s common amongst foreigners and they’ve tried it before. When meeting Korean people in-person, it may or may not be difficult. It really depends upon the dynamic and if you and the other person are sociable (or speak enough Korean). Many of the foreigner-friendly clubs and bars are open so you can do the bump and grind and talk but still remember your manners and don’t act like an idiot!
The countdown has begun! I am 3 weeks away until I’ll be stepping foot in Seoul, South Korea, the city of birth, the home away from home, my motherland. I haven’t been back for over 30 years since I was born! That’s a loooong time I know! The reason…well… there are multiple reasons why I haven’t been back:
1) Because my parents are cheap and never wanted to pay for my plane ticket. A roundtrip plane ticket from Baltimore/Washington, D.C. is about $1,200 USD each. Ok, I can’t put all the blame on them but I was broke for awhile too so there…
2) The second reason is because I wanted to brush up on my Korean language skills because before I planned to goto Korea my language skills were horrible. For about two years now, I’ve been taking Korean Language classes through a language institute and at the Korean Embassy as well as studying through different resources such as Talk To Me In Korean (TTMIK), How To Study in Korean, YouTube, Hello Talk, language exchange sites and etc. It’s tough when you’re not immersed into the culture.
Here in D.C., you don’t have many Korean folk. When I say D.C., I mean D.C. proper…in the city. It’s mostly interns from China and Korea. There’s some out in Rockville, MD and the most would be around Annandale, VA since it’s known as Korean Town because of many Korean businesses residing out there but it’s not metro accessible and I don’t have a car anymore so naw….that’s not going to work. Plus those Koreans I engage with, we end up talking in English anyway. It’s not like Spanish where you have an abundant amount of Latinos everywhere and were born speaking it in there families. It’s funny how it’s not quite the same for Asian people. But anyway…
3) The third reason is because I wanted to save up some paid time off to be able to stay in Korea for awhile. I was shooting for 4 weeks but ended up settling for 3 weeks but I think that’s a decent amount to start with to see if I like it and to interact with the people there and become immersed into the culture.
It’d be interesting to see how I’ll fit in since I do, obviously, look Korean but I’m not Korean, I’m a Korean-American who was born in Seoul but raised in American culture. Also, it’d be cool to see a change for once where I’m not a part of the minority as I’ll be part of the majority! If you ever intend to visit Korea, I highly recommend studying the Korean language, 한글 and the nuances that’s part of the culture. It’s very different from American culture and those outside of the Asian countries.
There’s one book by Seoulistic and TTMIK called, “Survival Korean”. I highly recommend it as it gives you just about everything you need to know to navigate Seoul when at a restaurant, cafe, taxi cab, subway, bus, shopping mall, hair salon, hospital, browsing the web and etc. It also gives you a crash course on how to read and pronounce! I kind of wish I bought this a long time ago because it took like a month to get here and I’ve only been reading for about a week now. A lot of words that I’ve learned are sometimes hard to remember when you don’t attribute to something can be used on a repeated basis. But the book applies grammar and conjugations to everyday language. It has a lot of useful information although I was a disappointed with the dating section as it was only two pages. Like, really guys?
A second book I recommend is the Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook & Dictionary since it can fit in a back pocket or purse which makes it easy for traveling unlike the Survival Korean book. It has at least two more pages on dating but there’s even more content squeezed into this smaller book! One thing that bothers me though in the book is when they include the word “dongshin” (동신) which means “you” in English but Koreans don’t use this often. You’ll hear it when someone is angry and is cussing at someone or in a K-Pop love song to express their love but that’s about it. In Korean culture, you address someone by their name or title.
I wanted to spread some love out to some Asian-American actors and I was introduced to Lewis Tan by a friend who read an article on Marvel screening him for the lead role in Iron Fist. I was like, “Hmm, that’s interesting.” I didn’t know that and I’m sure plenty of people didn’t know. But I wonder if it was because he was skilled in martial arts and was good in acting or was it because that Marvel actually considered the impact of having an Asian-American on the show? Lets cover some of the facts right now. We know that Asian-Americans are underrepresented in Hollywood and are usually typecast into martial artists, nerds, gangster and villains of sorts. Iron Fist was created in the early 1970’s and was published presumably because of the Kung Fu boom that occurred. Other characters like Shang Chi who is another Kung Fu hero for Marvel was introduced around the same time. During those times, we didn’t have any players in the comic business and damn sure didn’t have any in Hollywood. Everything was really new for Asian-Americans making a break into the culture. To this day, Bruce Lee has held the golden standard of what some Asian-American actors aspire to be. Not to say that Asian-Americans aspire to be martial arts but it is a big part of our culture. And nowadays, people aren’t aware of Asian-Americans being out of touch with their culture. Quite interestingly, you have many non-Asian ethnicities involved into learning and immersing themselves into Asian culture than many other Asian-Americans nowadays. I can speak this because I’ve experienced it all of my life.
Meet Lewis Tan, an Asian-American actor with looks, martial arts skills and some acting talent. When watching Iron Fist, episode 8 had stood out with Tan facing off against Finn Jones because of the fight choreography with drunken boxing. Tan plays the villain, Zhou Cheng and he did a great job for the little screen time he had. Many say he stole the show that episode and I’d have to agree. What is quite ironic is the line that Tan says, “I thought the Iron Fist was a great warrior. You fight a like child throwing a tantrum.” That pretty much sums Iron Fist season 1. In discussing the series with friends, one of them had mentioned that Danny Rand was meant to lack maturity, worldliness and people skills. This is no wonder why I didn’t like his character because I don’t like these type of people. Instead if they went another route with what’s mentioned in the interview with Lewis Tan and Vulture on Iron Fist, it’d make the story much more refreshing.
Marvel Iron Fist is finally out on Netflix for your binge watching pleasure. I didn’t have much to do over the weekend so I was able to finish all thirteen episodes. I like to keep an open mind when watching a TV show or movie despite reading reviews from critics and fans. Therefore, I didn’t go in with the mindset of being dissatisfied with Finn Jones because of his lackluster performance on Game of Thrones or being disappointed with Marvel not casting an Asian-American. I gave the show a chance because of Marvel’s track record has been pretty stellar in catering to general audiences with The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy as well as mature ones with Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
First and foremost, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple has been the real cohesiveness to bringing all of the shows together as she has starred in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) Netflix series and she has been my favorite and consistent character thus far. Her willingness to help others has always gotten her in a pickle with having to help people with issues which turn out to be superheroes in the end. Dawson’s presence in Iron Fist brings her experience to the fight against the Hand and some wisdom to the Kung Fu warrior but young and naïve, Danny Rand destined to be the Iron fist who is played by Finn Jones. The screenplay could have been handled a lot better. Many of the things from the comics did not translate well in verbatim for live action TV in the present time. The story needed the slow pull in the beginning to introduce the characters and story but it never got better. There were a couple “ah ha” moments when you learned more about the Hand from Madame Gau and Bakuto. But each episode kind of left me in a medium to low state as I just thought how they tried gunning for the Hand and Madame Gau was not very convincing. In addition, although you see a different faction of the Hand you don’t see their full strength like you do in Daredevil. I don’t know if it is due to budgetary constraints but I could definitely feel it being of less quality. As for casting, Finn Jones had some highlighted moments with his action scenes and his coping with post traumatic stress. But much of the dialogue was very cheesy and many moments were just not believable. Each time Jones would come out saying that, “I’m the Iron Fist” I just couldn’t help but to laugh. It does not translate well from the comic pages. I definitely agree with the critics stating he was miscast. Yeah, I would’ve liked it more if they found a talented Asian-American actor but even not, they could’ve found someone better. If they relied on Jones to handle the series on his own it would perform a lot worse. But because they had a solid supporting cast with Tom Pelphrey, Jessica Henwick, Jessica Stroup and David Wenham the show held up. To tell you the truth, I would’ve enjoyed seeing Tom Pelphrey try to pull off being the Iron Fist rather than Finn Jones. I think Pelphrey is a talented actor and his character development on screen is believable. Stroup was a grounded and likeable character by being business woman trying to run a company while coping with her undying past if you will. They didn’t linger much on her character outside of the interaction with her family and Danny which was good because it probably would’ve have not added much to the story. Veteran actor, Wenham delivers nothing short of amazing. You name it, movies like 300 and Lord of the Rings he has a solid supporting actor record. I think this time he just goes all out with evilness and it’s scary to watch him because of his temper-tantric violent actions. Now, for Jessica Henwick she has her high notes in the beginning with some cool fight scenes. But once they get into her being the romantic love interest, her character becomes quite dull. I feel they could’ve polished her development better in the end especially since she was involved in a big twist in the series and I liked her character a lot in the beginning.
Lastly, the finale was very disappointing. Scott Buck is notoriously known for writing Dexter and many fans were disappointed with its ending and I can say that I was disappointed with the Iron Fist ending too. The fight choreography wasn’t on the “oh shit” tip like in Daredevil but there were a couple fight scenes that were cool like the cage fights, hallway fight and rumble brawl but it definitely was a predictable ending. They could’ve also casted someone better for Davos as he was just an annoying character and especially since he’s destined to be Danny’s arch nemesis, Steel Serpent he didn’t feel like a threat. In summary, I enjoyed quite a few episodes like 4 and 5 but Iron Fist felt like the weakest link of the MCU/Netflix series and I’m weary on the chemistry with the rest of the Defenders. But if they’re going for the young naïve kid that knows martial arts then I guess they casted right. But the character was never really popular outside of cult readers and many of the stories were not that interesting unless they were with Power Man a.k.a. Luke Cage. I think Marvel could’ve done a better job in telling a more compelling story and updated the lore of the Iron Fist much better for contemporary audiences.
I was so thrilled to find out one of my new favorite shows, “Into the Badlands” is premiering its season two on AMC on March 19th! I think it’s one of the best fight choreography done on television but don’t expect Emmy winning acting performances which is okay to me. Earlier today, a friend had shared this article from VICE about Daniel Wu, taking on the lead role in the show and discussing Asian stereotypes and breaking down barriers for Asian-American actors in Hollywood.
The title reads that “The Martial Arts Show That Is Destroying Asian Stereotypes on Screen”. Now, the title is heavy with the “destroying” part and I do think it’s slightly misleading but it isn’t too far from the truth. Now, most Americans will think, “Well, the show is a Kung Fu show, how is it destroying stereotypes?”. Though, you are completely right, only Asian-Americans who have been through the struggle of racism or those people that have researched the issue or aware through friends about Asian stereotypes and emasculation will know what this article is talking about. But even then, if you know how to read and have the ability to read between the lines, you should figure it out.
This show is breaking down barriers in Hollywood by casting an Asian-American as the lead role because there’s really not many at all on television in the U.S. Now, if you mention shows like “Fresh Off The Boat”, I’m going to have a talk with you, because you totally miss the point. The show, “Into the Badlands” introduces interracial dating on-screen between an Asian male and Black female which hasn’t been popularized on TV before. I think Dustin Nguyen did get some short screen time with a girl on 21 Jump Street back in the late 80’s. Not only this, Daniel Wu is not a one-dimension character without depth as he plays an anti-hero who was an assassin looking for redemption and the path to enlightenment. This is great progress for Asian-American actors! I am looking forward to watching ten episodes this time and not having to be stuck with six episodes last season! Hopefully, they exceed my expectations and blow the audiences away with some cool fight scenes and in learning more about the post-apocalyptic universe.