Unlike his critically acclaimed peers Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Luke Cage, Iron Fist was panned by critics. That's not to say Danny Rand has been a total disaster; if viewing figures and Rotten Tomatoes approval ratings are worth their salt, fans approve. But whichever way you look at it, the chi-summoning billionaire is regarded as a weak link in the sturdy chain of Netflix's MCU superheroes.
It's far from time to give up on Rand, though. Iron Fist has been renewed for a second season, with a new showrunner, new scriptwriters and Daredevil's fight choreographers thrown into the mix to help improvements. If that's not enough reason to feel hopeful, actor Finn Jones has revealed the extreme lengths of physical training he is undertaking to make sure the next season delivers.
Talking at the German Comic Con in Berlin, Jones explained that he is currently undergoing a "hardcore regiment" which includes workouts five days per week. As well as a perfecting a mixture of martial arts, including Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Jeet Kune Do, there is a "great deal of emphasis and focus" on getting Jones in fighting shape for when filming begins at the end of the year. That's a far cry from the 15 minutes he was given to prepare for fight sequences in Season 1.
Controlling Mind, Body And Soul
There's also another, less conventional skill Jones is learning in order to deliver his best possible performance. In the show, on top of mystical powers and billions of dollars in the bank, Rand is a Buddhist monk. Utilizing one of the key tools of the Eastern religion, Jones has turned to method acting by performing daily meditation, a practice he highly recommends to improve overall wellbeing:
"I try to meditate twice a day, but usually just once for 15-20 minutes, I can't tell you how dramatically it's improved my relationship to my mind and to my life, it's wonderful. You can get overwhelmed by stress and pressure but if you take 15 minutes a day to sit with yourself and sit with your mind, it has huge benefits."
Coming across focused and determined while talking to fans at the event, you'd be forgiven for having raised expectations for #IronFist's return. One particular flaw was the show's fight scenes, but Netflix is clearly determined not to make the same mistake twice; on top of learning the skills of marital arts, Jones has been meticulously practicing fight choreography, something he says is much different from learning the moves themselves:
"Stunt choreography and fighting is very different. You have to learn how to not hit the guy, and you learn it in steps, so it’s a bit like learning a dance. But you have to perfect it. So you need to know how to fight, so you can pull it off, but then you need to know how to pull it back for choreography with the stunt guy."
Is Iron Fist Misunderstood?
In response to the backlash Rand has received in comparison to the rest of the #Defenders, Jones explained that he feels his character has been "misunderstood." Rand doesn't necessarily have archetypical superhero traits, which Jones feels is the reason for some of the fallout:
"I think they want Iron Fist to be this successful, powerful, perfect hero. And to be honest, that’s not interesting nor is it real or relevant. And Danny is different because unlike other heroes Danny doesn’t even know what a superhero is at the beginning of Iron Fist. So he’s very vulnerable, and that’s one of the great things about his character, this vulnerability."
There's a sense that Jones, and the rest of those involved in producing the #Netflix show, feel like they have a point to prove. Clearly, Jones is aware of the general consensus. When one fan asked him if he'd pick Danny out of all the Defenders, he joked: "No. I'd pick someone from DC." With a little luck and a lot of practice, this time next year, the need for jovial self-deprecation may be over.
Did you enjoy Iron Fist? What improvements would you make for Season 2?