I’m generally speaking a traditionalist when it comes to my book or movie adaptations, but not so much in race or gender. My concern is character. Did the actor you picked to play this character I care about capture the essence of the character? Yes? Great, you may now be rewarded with bags of my money. A great example of this is “The Dark Tower”. If you haven’t read the Dark Tower yet I’m not sure we can be friends. Rectify this by reading at least the first two books. That last link there is to the boxed set, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Anyways, there was a very small number of people who were upset that a black man was cast as Roland — the main character — who is described as white in the book series. Actually, there’s a correction there. He is described as being Clint Eastwood. Not like the vague details that might make up Clint Eastwood, but actually Clint mother f*&#ing Eastwood. They used his image in several artistic renderings including the cover of the final book.
Go ahead. Tell me that’s not the man with no name.
The problem is this movie started filming in 2016, and Clint Eastwood is f*&%ing a hundred. So someone else had to be picked… and quite frankly I don’t know any white actors who bring that same grit and air of “f*$% you” like Clint Eastwood. Idris Elba on the other hand absolutely has that air. He lives and breaths bad-ass. He is Roland Deschain. So this casting choice never really bothered me. The left was of course excited. They love it when characters that were white are given to another ethnicity. Which is fine I guess? Honestly I don’t care as long as a good job of the character is done. For example I was bothered by the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm, not because he was black, but because I didn’t think he fit the character. He’s always come across as too earnest, and that’s not the Human Torch. Of course, the hilarious part of all this was how loudly the left and extreme left cheered at this casting decision, then how silent they became when they realized that applying many of Johnny Storm’s character attributes to a black character just stereo-types the hell out of it. And not good stereo-types either, like all the bad ones. Johnny Storm in the new FF actively chose a life of crime, he was lazy, he was the only one too stupid to realize the government was manipulating him… It’s bad.
But that didn’t stop the crazier portions of the left, especially with comic book movies and/or TV shows… which brings us to Vanity Fair, and the Immortal Iron Fist.
Many on the left were adamant that it absolutely had to be an Asian actor cast as the lead in the Iron First, regardless of the source material making him white. There was the usual outrage and petitions and it was all kind of old hat at this point; Every time a new hero/villain/whatever is revealed and they’re not a minority, the left is outraged… Except Vanity Fair’s outrage is now feeling a little false.
Vanity Fair of course got an advanced copy of the show and “reviewed” it. I put reviewed in quotation marks, not because I disagree with their assertion that the series is bad — though I do disagree with them. The series is quite enjoyable — I’m just not even sure they watched the show. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if they wrote the review before, and then just added some screen shots and called it a day. It opens with…
There’s a sad, puppyish quality to Iron Fist, Netflix’s latest colorless Marvel series…
… which gave me pause almost immediately. While the main character is white to be certain, the primary villains are Asian & Middle Eastern (I’m thinking Turkish?). The two other main protagonists in the form of the Night Nurse and Colleen Wing are Cuban and Japanese respectively. It’s also worth noting that while Rosario Dawson’s character in other iterations of the series served as background and occasional damsel in distress, she actually becomes a warrior in her own right under tutelage of Colleen, not Danny. In fact, in Vanity Fair’s pursuit of false outrage they miss-characterize Colleen Wing.
(There is actually a scene in which Danny says, “Hey, check this out,” and then does some cool nunchuck[sic] moves.) Jessica Henwick plays Colleen Wing, a martial arts instructor who runs a dojo… she does get condescended to by Danny, who has trained in an extra-dimensional dojo, so he knows far more about fighting and the philosophy behind it than Colleen—a paid professional!—ever could.
In the scene they’re talking about, Colleen actually takes Danny — the Iron Fist — to Church on weapons combat. She condescends him for not being very good with the sword because he is not skilled in Bushido unlike Colleen. See Danny is better than Colleen at Kung-Fu because Kung-Fu is Chinese (essentially) the region Danny studied in, and Colleen is Japanese. In their hurry to call Marvel and Iron Fist racist they stereotyped all Asians as being essentially the same. As a primer: Kung-Fu; China. Bushido (way of the Samurai) and Karate; Japanese. So… good job guys.
Of course, ignoring several paragraphs where they make themselves appear racist, they also mess up on key scenes in the movie, almost like they’re not paying attention or didn’t watch the show at all.
Because, you see, Iron Fist is the best kung-fu boy in the world… Having a white guy, played by Game of Thrones veteran Finn Jones, lecture Asian characters about zen and martial arts is . . . not the best look.
Except other than one scene in a Dojo where he acts like a dick to a black kid — not Asian — who is mouthing off, Danny actually discovers that nearly every other minority he comes across knows more about his powers and Kung-Fu than he does. We learn that while Danny has this cool power that he kind of sucks at it compared to every-one else as a 90 lb ancient Chinese woman kicks his white ass.
Regardless of whether or not the show is good or bad, if they brought legitimate concerns to the table I’d as likely leave them alone. You wanna complain about Scarlett Johansson being cast as the lead in Ghost in the Shell when a brilliant actress like Rinko Kikuchi is more fitting with the piece and geography? You have my vote, or at least my silence. But when you make shit up because you want to look like you’re standing up for the marginalized without actually doing so? You can STFU.
Anyways guys, have a good’er.
P.S. As of writing this there has been an edit on the Vanity Fair page. Towards the end of the article they note that they haven’t watched the whole thing, a note that wasn’t there before, and are only 6 episodes in… Of course they mention scenes from episodes after 6 so that in and of itself is interesting… but I digress.