If you know me, you know I’m a fan of superheros. So I was thrilled when Netflix produced a series of TV shows on Marvel’s Defenders – Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist.
Iron Fist was last, and I had so thoroughly enjoyed the first seasons of the other three that I couldn’t wait. Danny Rand is my favorite of the four characters, and the Iron Fist is a martial artist. Like that’s his whole power set. And since the action was so good in Daredevil, I was hyped through the roof.
And then Iron Fist released. And it was… very bad.
You’d think the worst thing would be that the main actor didn’t know martial arts. He wore a hoodie in every action sequence so he could put the hood up and they could use a stunt double who actually knew how to fight.
But the worst worst was what they did to his character. In the show, Danny Rand is an idiot. He’s naive to the point of implausibility. Other characters betray him over and over, then apologize, and he forgives them. He’s Charlie Brown, trying over and over to kick that football.
What made me sad about the way the show depicted Iron Fist is how different he is in the comics. Danny Rand in the comics is one of the kindest, most positive and optimistic characters in the Marvel Universe. But he’s not gullible. He’s not an idiot.
We’re not going to talk any more about Iron Fist today, but I wanted to begin here because I think so often we miss this subtle distinction between being kind and being a doormat. Iron Fist in the comics is kind. Iron Fist in the show is a doormat.
Too often, this is the picture we have of Christians – that we’re supposed to be doormats. We hear “love your neighbor” as “let people treat you however they want.”
Living that way – as a doormat – is nice, not kind. And Niceness isn’t a fruit of the Spirit. Kindness is.