Finn Jones is not having the best of time at the moment.
It’s understandable – having fought hard to win the role of Danny Rand in the upcoming Marvel Netflix show Iron Fist, the British actor was hit with a wave of controversy, as members of the public accused Marvel of missing an excellent opportunity to cast an Asian actor to breathe more diversity into the MCU.
Jones took this very personally, trying desperately to explain on Twitter why his casting isn’t inherently racist, but to no avail. The vast majority of his opponents were unconvinced, and Jones even quit Twitter briefly after one particularly heated exchange.
Now, the initial reviews for Iron Fist’s first six episodes are coming in, and it seems that a racially stagnant lead casting is the least of this show’s worries. Critics are calling this the first major misstep for Marvel’s Netflix shows, and many are suggesting that fans simply skip the show before delving into The Defenders when it eventually arrives.
By this point, Jones is pretty experienced at being a one-man defensive army, attempting to take on hordes of detractors as he justifies the creative decisions that other people have made on Iron Fist.
Unfortunately for him, though, Jones’ attempts to discredit all of Iron Fist’s critics go down about as well as you’d imagine.
According to Jones himself, in an interview with Metro:
“What I will say is these shows are not made for critics, they are first and foremost made for the fans. I also think some of the reviews we saw were seeing the show through a very specific lens, and I think when the fans of the Marvel Netflix world and fans of the comic books view the show through the lens of just wanting to enjoy a superhero show, then they will really enjoy what they see. I think it’s a fantastic show which is really fun and I think it stands up there with the other Defenders’ shows without a doubt.”
As a rule, if someone involved with a movie or TV show claims that their story is not for critics, that’s a bad sign. A really, really bad sign.
Amy Adams once used the same expression to define Batman v Superman, and we all know how well that went.
This is an expression which is often used by those trying to defend a piece of fiction which isn’t very enjoyable. It has connotations stretching back decades, as successive directors and actors have attempted to combat universal distaste for their work.
The idea is that it doesn’t matter if critics don’t like a movie or television show, because it’s aimed at fans, rather than haters.
The problem is, if something doesn’t resonate with a wide audience, it’s unlikely to wow even the diehard fans. What’s more, this attitude feels, if anything, a little patronizing, as actors like Finn Jones claim that fans will love a series no matter what, simply because it has the Marvel logo on it, without raising any questions as to the overall quality of the piece.
Now, Finn Jones should probably have learned to keep his mouth shut a long time ago, so maybe it’s not fair to take his desperation as a sign of poor quality.
But if you weren’t convinced by the critical panning that Iron Fist is currently enduring, bear in mind that according to its lead actor, the only way to actually get something fun from the show is by watching “through the lens of just wanting to enjoy a superhero show”.
In other words, if you’re willing to ignore all its faults and you’ve already decided you’ll love it because it has a superhero in it, then Iron Fist is for you.
If you demand quality storytelling from your TV shows, though, even Finn Jones doesn’t think you’re going to have a great time with Iron Fist.