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Danny Rand: Heart of a Dragon

Danny may be good at fighting but he's not great at strategy or consistently paying attention to dodgy people. 

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While the show has got things wrong, their interpretation of Danny 'human Golden Retriever' Rand seems pretty much spot on to me. Sweet, naive, optimistic. Dumb as a bag of hair.

When I was trying to describe the character to a friend, I pitched him as 'the unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt of superheroes' and that seems to have translated to the screen well for me. They've added in a smidgeon more angst, which was probably inevitable with trying to make him a little more layered as a lead, but otherwise...yup, that's Danny. I can't wait to see just how disgusted Jessica is going to be with his sunny outlook.

Edited by Blackcanary.
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Is that how he is in the comics? I guess the critics were expected a main character more in line with what we got in JJ, DD, and LC and were disappointed.

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48 minutes ago, JustaPerson said:

Is that how he is in the comics? I guess the critics were expected a main character more in line with what we got in JJ, DD, and LC and were disappointed.

Obviously it's a YMMV situation - i'm sure plenty of people might see him a bit differently - but yes, to me is chilled out to the point of being horizontal, rather too trusting and very...boyish, with an appealing sense of wonder. He's certainly not a brooder in the Matt vein, or somebody who feels the crushing weight of responsibility of his power.

I think that does make him a little problematic as a central protagonist, because it means that you have to invent personal crisises and doubt for him that sit rather at odds with his core personality.

Edited by Blackcanary.
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Oh, come on... you don't have to be broody or emotionally crushed or whatever, to be an interesting character.
He wasn't boring, because he was sunny, he was boring, because there was zero character development, he acted without thinking, he constantly acted as if he is really experienced person, constantly was proven wrong and he repeatedly acted like a complete idiot. Not like a gullible person or naive person or trusting person. More like a person who is really, really not all there. And the weird thing was that people acted more like he is crazy than just somewhat stupid. People, who had EVERY reason to believe that what he says is true, because they have seen weird shit, denied it and acted like he is crazy. Repeatedly.
Characters, who should have acted in control (I am sorry, Colleen is a sensei, which means that she should be used to be in position of power and to lead... was following Danny, without ANY clashes? And that happens repeatedly even after it is clear he has no idea what he is doing? I don't buy that for even a second.)

All in all, his issue was a weak character, no personal development and shoddy script a lot more than being a ray of sunshine.

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On 3/18/2017 at 3:27 AM, wayne67 said:

Danny may be good at fighting but he's not great at strategy or consistently paying attention to dodgy people. 

I wish Finn Jones had done a better job of convincing me of this fact.  The fight scenes in Iron Fist weren't just inferior to Daredevil's because the fight choreography wasn't as good, they were inferior because I was never sold on the idea that Danny is an incredibly masterful martial artist.  The show kept telling me that he was and he kept winning his fights, but Finn Jones never looked completely comfortable with the physical aspects of playing Danny Rand.  It was weird to watch fights where frequently the most convincing fighter was the person who ended up losing.   

Edited by xqueenfrostine.
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So basically the Defenders have a dumb Golden Retriever puppy they have to watch out for? They should probably leave him at home then. 

My issue is they keep telling me Danny's this master martial artist but in every fight he's in they've shown how unprepared he is and how easily manipulated he is. Then he only wins the fight because the other fighter suddenly has to lose. 

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It would have been cool if Danny really was sunny. Would be a nice contrast against the other Defenders. But it was like he spent most of his screen time super upset over one thing or another. Even Matt comes off more calm and collected than he is, which is crazy because isn’t the character of Danny Rand supposed to be all zen and stuff? (Matt’s supposed to be the broody one with crazy anger issues, but even he got to relax and joke around more than Danny.) We see Danny talk a good game about being in control of emotions, but he freaks out all the time!

I guess I was expecting Danny Rand to be a character who takes things in stride and don't get fazed much. That's not what we got.

The level of stupidity and naiveté certainly is a big contrast with the other Defenders, though.

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First let me say that I like this series.

That said, my problem with Danny Rand is that the dude is all over the place.  First he wants to be the Iron Fist, whose job is to guard the gates of K'un L'un.  But apparently he quickly gets bored with that, because as soon as the path opens up, bang he's off to New York City to explore his old identity.  He then decides he wants to run his daddy's company.  Doesn't even bother trying to learn the business because literally within his first 30 seconds of sitting on the board he is making humanitarian decisions and ticking everybody off.  He then loses all interest in the company and runs off battling the Hand for the rest of the series.  

I like the idea of making him the sunny, positive one in the Defenders.  Sort of like Shazam/Capt. Marvel in the Justice League.  It isn't too late.  Quit with all these scenes of him agonizing over some problem, or his parents death, with him holding his head with flashes of yellow light making him look like a nutball.  Let him actually be zen like he claims to be.  

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The Golden Retriever comparisons are pretty spot-on.

When I saw the title of this thread, my first thought was "Heart of a Puppy."

Danny Rand is an idiot.

And the casting for Danny was ALL wrong.   I don't mean they should have gotten an Asian actor either, just a good actor.    

Edited by millennium.
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16 hours ago, millennium said:

And the casting for Danny was ALL wrong.   I don't mean they should have gotten an Asian actor either, just a good actor.    

Somewhere along the lines someone decided they should have gotten an Asian actor to play Danny.  I'm not sure why, Iron Fist was white in the comics.  It would be like getting an Asian actor to play Richard Chamberlain's part in Shogun.  The outsider bit was part of the point.  I agree it wouldn't have made much difference though.  I have no problem with Finn, other than they could have gotten someone a little more skilled at martial arts to begin with.

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On 4/7/2017 at 10:33 AM, rmontro said:

Somewhere along the lines someone decided they should have gotten an Asian actor to play Danny.  I'm not sure why, Iron Fist was white in the comics.  It would be like getting an Asian actor to play Richard Chamberlain's part in Shogun.  The outsider bit was part of the point.

I don't want to get too much into the #AAIronFist thing, but part of the reasoning behind the campaign to cast an Asian American as Danny was because feeling like an outsider is something that resonates with a lot of Asian Americans.  A, say, Chinese-American Danny, despite being born and raised in America, would've been no stranger to "But where are you REALLY from?" and "Go back to China!" comments.  Then, traveling to China, where he's been told is where he actually belongs, he's still an outsider - the foreigner, the American, not really one of them (I know K'un L'un isn't China, but the entrance to it opens in China and Danny learned to speak Mandarin there, so I imagine the cultures are at least somewhat similar.)  Being considered "too Asian for America, too American for Asia" would have increased Danny's feelings of being an outsider, not erased them.  (Having seen the show, though, I'm pretty sure they would've needed different writers to explore an issue like that with any richness.)

Back to Danny as he is on the show, he never really feels quite cohesive for me.  I feel like the "tell" and the "show" is at odds quite a bit - i.e., we're TOLD he has total control over his emotions but we're SHOWN him almost constantly melting down, (ditto with his fight skills.)  And I don't mind a sunnier, optimistic protagonist, especially in thinking of him mixing with the other Defenders (although less naive would be nice,) but I don't really see consistency on that front, either.  For every cheerfully-oblivious moment, there's another of him intoning fortune-cookie wisdom in this deadly serious way.  Add to that that not even he can keep track of what he wants - he wants to be the Iron Fist, he wants to guard the gate, forget guarding the gate, he wants to get his family's company back, he wants to run the company, who has time for running a company, he wants to destroy the Hand, he doesn't want to just do what K'un L'un trained him for, he wants to get revenge for his parents, he wants to help people, he wants to go back to K'un L'un.  I get that this uncertainty is a part of the story for season 1, but for me, it feels less like a consistent throughline of Danny figuring out what he wants/who he is and more of the writers making him wildly vacillate from one thing to the next as their scattered attention allows.  Whatever my feelings about Danny's casting, the writing here certainly did Finn Jones no favors, and that would've hampered whoever they cast as Danny.

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5 hours ago, angora said:

Back to Danny as he is on the show, he never really feels quite cohesive for me.  I feel like the "tell" and the "show" is at odds quite a bit - i.e., we're TOLD he has total control over his emotions but we're SHOWN him almost constantly melting down, (ditto with his fight skills.)  And I don't mind a sunnier, optimistic protagonist, especially in thinking of him mixing with the other Defenders (although less naive would be nice,) but I don't really see consistency on that front, either.  For every cheerfully-oblivious moment, there's another of him intoning fortune-cookie wisdom in this deadly serious way.  Add to that that not even he can keep track of what he wants - he wants to be the Iron Fist, he wants to guard the gate, forget guarding the gate, he wants to get his family's company back, he wants to run the company, who has time for running a company, he wants to destroy the Hand, he doesn't want to just do what K'un L'un trained him for, he wants to get revenge for his parents, he wants to help people, he wants to go back to K'un L'un.  I get that this uncertainty is a part of the story for season 1, but for me, it feels less like a consistent throughline of Danny figuring out what he wants/who he is and more of the writers making him wildly vacillate from one thing to the next as their scattered attention allows.  Whatever my feelings about Danny's casting, the writing here certainly did Finn Jones no favors, and that would've hampered whoever they cast as Danny.

But I don't think any of these were unintentional, and what you sa above is exactly what the writers were going for. Danny and Davos are the only ones who say they are in control of their emotions and they are patently not. They underlined with Claire saying it wasn't healthy too. Danny wanted to be in control of his emotions - that's why he challenged to become the Iron Fist, but he was nowhere there. He was a stunted lost boy who really doesn't know what he is doing. He didn't have a good reason for being the Iron Fist 0 he said it himself - to was supposed to fill an emptiness that it didn't. I don't think danny's origin story is finished at all. And I think even at the end, he is supposed to be impulsive, emotional and getting a little bitter about having his trust constantly abused. That man is not self aware at all. 

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4 hours ago, angora said:

I don't want to get too much into the #AAIronFist thing, but part of the reasoning behind the campaign to cast an Asian American as Danny was because feeling like an outsider is something that resonates with a lot of Asian Americans.  A, say, Chinese-American Danny, despite being born and raised in America, would've been no stranger to "But where are you REALLY from?" and "Go back to China!" comments.  Then, traveling to China, where he's been told is where he actually belongs, he's still an outsider - the foreigner, the American, not really one of them (I know K'un L'un isn't China, but the entrance to it opens in China and Danny learned to speak Mandarin there, so I imagine the cultures are at least somewhat similar.)  Being considered "too Asian for America, too American for Asia" would have increased Danny's feelings of being an outsider, not erased them.  (Having seen the show, though, I'm pretty sure they would've needed different writers to explore an issue like that with any richness.)

 

I am just going to say this first, I understand the need for diversity but changing Danny's race isn't going to solve the way he was written or the way he fought. In my opinion, that won't have solved the problems with the character that so many here are saying about Danny. 

That being said, the idea of Danny was that you have someone from a very particular world, one where he not only belonged to but also was born into, and by age 10 he lost it. He instead was rescued and raised in K'un Lung, in a place where he didn't belong but instead tried to fit in. He was also very emotionally stunted (for the show) and when he returned to "his world' he found out that he didn't belong to that world either and that world also has moved on from him but he didn't. 

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22 hours ago, angora said:

I don't want to get too much into the #AAIronFist thing, but part of the reasoning behind the campaign to cast an Asian American as Danny was because feeling like an outsider is something that resonates with a lot of Asian Americans.  A, say, Chinese-American Danny, despite being born and raised in America, would've been no stranger to "But where are you REALLY from?" and "Go back to China!" comments.  Then, traveling to China, where he's been told is where he actually belongs, he's still an outsider 

Yeah, I mean they could have cast an Asian American and it would have been fine with me.  But the character in the comic books is white, and they chose not to change it.  It seems silly that people are now getting angry because they didn't change the race of the character.  Still, I can see that some people thought that there was an opportunity here that wasn't taken.

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I quite like the naturally sunny, do-gooder disposition of Danny. I find angst incredibly tedious, I found Jessica Jones too angsty (albeit with good reason) to be likeable, and I found Luke Cage too relentlessly serious too be likeable. This character has a bit of lightness and positivity about him, which is a good thing in my opinion. In fact, I started to like the character less as the series proceeded and he became increasingly serious. It was a mistake to strip away the happy nonchalance they gave him at the start of the series.

As usual with these Netflix series, the inconsistency of the heroes powers bothers me beyond belief. One scene they are defeating fifty enemies with ease, and the next they are getting thrown around by one, or knocked out by a tazer. I find it incredibly distracting.   

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I don't mind the character of Danny.  I like his cheerful disposition and his ability to see the good in people.  I guess we are stuck with Finn Jones, but I'm wondering what it was about him that led them to cast him in the first place.  I think he's serviceable in this role, but I kind of hate his look in this show.  He's slight and scrawny.  Since he's a martial arts expert, I don't think he needs to be a musclehead, but at least he could have some muscle on him.  Daredevil fights hand to hand as well, and he's nowhere near as scrawny as Finn Jones.  It's just not believable that someone who trains as much as Danny could look like he has almost no muscle.

I also can't stand the mop of hair, especially that bad blonde frosting or whatever it is they are doing to it.  I get that Danny is blonde in the comics, but very few real-life humans have the comic book platinum blonde hair that comic book males often do.  There is a huge disconnect between the proportion of men who have that comic book platinum blonde hair in comics vs. real life (see Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Havok, Aquaman, Thor, Human Torch, Green Arrow, Hank Pym, Longshot, Cannonball, Angel, Quasar, to name a few).  Oliver Queen on "Arrow" isn't blonde, why did they feel the need to try and pass Danny off as blonde?  The bad blonde dye job mop reminds me of Justin Timberlake's awful Brillo pad hair from the early NSTINK days.  They should have let Finn Jones keep his natural hair colour.

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I was dreading this character way before the show came out and the reviews. I thought I would hate him from what I read about him. And I was confused by the casting of Loras. But I really enjoyed the acting and the character. The failures for me came with some of the writing and martial arts. I think not buying him as a fighter is hard hurdle to overcome. 

I do think Finn did do a good job with the coming of age story and I actually like Danny. Can't wait to see him in Defenders. I really got the whole repressed trauma arrested development thing. 

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Can I just say that in the space of the first few episodes, I've heard the words "Danny Rand" so often and so quickly run together that they now form a single, essentially meaningless word in my ear, "DannyRand"? There are scenes from which it seems all I remember is "DannyRand. DannyRand? DannyRand!" People don't actually talk this way, and it's not helping me to take your main character seriously, show.

In conclusion, "DannyRand."
 

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On 4/7/2017 at 10:33 AM, rmontro said:

Somewhere along the lines someone decided they should have gotten an Asian actor to play Danny.  I'm not sure why, Iron Fist was white in the comics.  It would be like getting an Asian actor to play Richard Chamberlain's part in Shogun.  The outsider bit was part of the point.  I agree it wouldn't have made much difference though.  I have no problem with Finn, other than they could have gotten someone a little more skilled at martial arts to begin with.

1) The "outsider" nature of Danny Rand doesn't matter, because the show didn't do shit about showing Danny as an outsider in Kun Lun.

2) Making Danny feel like an outsider in Kun Lun does not require him to be white.  Nonwhite people are not born with some kind of ancestral memory of their cultural heritage, and an Asian American Danny would be just as much of an outsider as a white Danny.  More, even.  Trust me, being judged for knowing nothing about the culture or even language of one's ancestors is absolutely a thing.

3) Danny's whiteness is a legacy of his racist origins in 70s Orientalism, where Asian culture was cool and awesome only if told from a white perspective.  It's not something that is all that inherent to his broader character, and doesn't necessarily need to be preserved in adaptation in the Year of our Lord 2017.

4) Granted, an Asian American Danny wouldn't have helped the fact that the writing was shit and the characterization all over the place.  Maybe an Asian American actor could have helped things by being less awful than Finn Jones.

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2 hours ago, Mars477 said:

3) Danny's whiteness is a legacy of his racist origins in 70s Orientalism, where Asian culture was cool and awesome only if told from a white perspective.

I don't think that statement is necessarily true.  Marvel also had their Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu comic out at the time, and he was an Asian character.

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On 7/2/2017 at 6:06 PM, Mars477 said:

1) The "outsider" nature of Danny Rand doesn't matter, because the show didn't do shit about showing Danny as an outsider in Kun Lun.

2) Making Danny feel like an outsider in Kun Lun does not require him to be white.  Nonwhite people are not born with some kind of ancestral memory of their cultural heritage, and an Asian American Danny would be just as much of an outsider as a white Danny.  More, even.  Trust me, being judged for knowing nothing about the culture or even language of one's ancestors is absolutely a thing.

3) Danny's whiteness is a legacy of his racist origins in 70s Orientalism, where Asian culture was cool and awesome only if told from a white perspective.  It's not something that is all that inherent to his broader character, and doesn't necessarily need to be preserved in adaptation in the Year of our Lord 2017.

4) Granted, an Asian American Danny wouldn't have helped the fact that the writing was shit and the characterization all over the place.  Maybe an Asian American actor could have helped things by being less awful than Finn Jones.

On 7/2/2017 at 9:06 PM, rmontro said:

I don't think that statement is necessarily true.  Marvel also had their Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu comic out at the time, and he was an Asian character.

 

Iron Fist was clearly inspired by the television show Kung Fu, starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine a half White half Chinese orphan who is raised in a Shaolin Monastery after his parents are killed. Even though Carradine was in yellowface, I had forgotten that Caine was half Chinese. Caine was also shown to be preternaturally more talented at Kung Fu. He's better than the Asian students and learns all of the Kung Fu styles the monks teach. After mastering martial arts and defending his blind master from the emperor's guards, Caine flees China to escape the emperor and search for his half-brother, Danny, in the American old west. The show premiered in 1971, 3 years before the first issue of Iron Fist.

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu was launched in 1973 so barely before Iron Fist. In 1972, Marvel attempted to secure the rights to adapt the television show, Kung Fu, into a comic. Kung Fu was owned by Time Warner, which owned DC Comics. Marvel couldn't secure the rights to it. Instead, Marvel acquired the rights to Dr. Fu Manchu and reverse engineered Shang Chi from it. A year later, Marvel launches Iron Fist.

Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1972. Prior to that, state miscegenation laws would have depicted interracial romances. Even after that, interracial romances were fairly rarely depicted in pop culture. The Comic Code Authority was still in existence in the 70s; although, both Marvel and DC would start ignoring them into the late 70s and 80s. The Comic Code Authority had their own weird restrictions on things that could or couldn't be depicted in comics. All of this is to say, that there are many reasons that Danny Rand was originally white, but no real reason that he continues to be modern media.

As @ANGORA said, sometimes as a second generation immigrant sometimes it can feel like you don't belong in either world. I would have liked it if Danny was Asian American or especially biracial white and Asian because the show seems to be implying that 

Spoiler

Danny's mom is a member of The Hand.

There is a decent amount of data suggesting that biracial white and Asian individuals are more likely to have only white social groups. Danny grew up very privileged. It might have been interesting if Kun Lun had been his first opportunity to socialize with Asian people and him still having to deal with that not Asian enough issues once he returns to New York.

The thing I found really perplexing about the show is how poorly the writers understood corporate governance. You don't need to be super knowledgeable to know that Danny appeared to be a majority shareholder in Rand Enterprises who may have been entitled to a seat on the board of directors. Board members are required to oversee and review the operations of the corporation, including the work and decisions of the CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, and anyone else that I've missed. Being on the board doesn't entitle Danny or any of the board members to unilaterally make decisions. Nearly every corporation has bylaws about how to silence a problem board member. The Meachums didn't need to scheme to oust Danny. They could have voted him off. They could have voted to substitute his attorney for him. There were many things they could have done. They could have reminded Danny that he'd been in a monastery for 15 years and had a 5th  or 6the grade education. Ward was so busy stupidly scheming that had he bothered to give Danny a place to stay and a way to get acclimated to present day New York, Danny wouldn't have bothered getting into trouble at Rand Enterprises because Danny is dumb.

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Danny feels a lot easier to take seriously this season. I think they overdid it on the whole "Danny is a kid in a man's body" the first season.

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I felt some sympathy for the actor this season. The Danny Rand character really got sidelined with losing the fist and injuries. But sidelining the character really improved the season (along with reducing the number of episodes).
When Danny was forcing offering the fist to Colleen, it really seemed like Danny was taking the backseat in his own show .. but then again, it is a show called Iron Fist - - not Danny Rand as Iron Fist.
Having the show revolve around the legend and concept of the Iron Fist works much better. We get to change the focus to the Wing/Knight team-up and the messy Meachum family dynamics.

I blame the writing and directing (and probably casting). The actor was great in Game of Thrones.
It reminds me how someone like Nicholas Cage can get nominated for an Oscar when working with the right team ... but usually ends up getting nominated for Razzies, otherwise. Same with Halle Barry, Michael Fassbender (and many more).

Edited by shrewd.buddha.
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1 hour ago, shrewd.buddha said:

but then again, it is a show called Iron Fist - - not Danny Rand as Iron Fist.
Having the show revolve around the legend and concept of the Iron Fist works much better. We get to change to focus to the Wing/Knight team-up and the messy Meachum family dynamics.

Great point. I liked Colleen better as the Iron Fist in the 2 seconds we saw her, tbh! And I loved Danny and Ward at the end. Looking forward to S3.

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