Danny Rand, also known as the Iron Fist of K’un-Lun, was a reliably badass Marvel hero for decades in the comics, before his poorly received Netflix series turned him into something of a laughing stock among the MCU’s stable of well-regarded street-level heroes.
Despite the bad reviews and word-of-mouth, however, Danny Rand still manages to pull off a number of cool moments, in addition to all of the crazy feats of kung-fu he’s executed through his years of adventures in the comics.
The Danny presented in Iron Fist is troubled and confused, his judgement clouded by his past and present pulling him in different directions. Judging by the trailers for The Defenders, however, Danny is only getting started, with a huge number of the coolest-looking moments belonging to Iron Fist as he settles into his role.
In order to prepare for The Defenders and its apparent attempt to rehabilitate Danny Rand in the eyes of the public, this list will highlight some of Danny Rand’s most awesome moments. The focus will be on moments from Netflix’s Iron Fist, with some of his major accomplishments from the comic books thrown in for good measure.
Here are 15 Times Iron Fist Actually Did Something Awesome.
15. Blocked a bullet with his fist
When your name is Iron Fist, that carries with it certain expectations – specifically that your fist will at some point turn into iron. While that is not literally true for Danny, he is able to focus his chi into his fist in such a way that it may as well be iron, striking foes and objects with incredible force, and providing his fist with a particular hardness and durability.
What would be the point of a fist like iron if you didn’t use it to stop some bullets? Danny does this a couple of times in the series, because well… if you could block bullets with your fist, why wouldn’t you do that all the time?
14. Dated Misty Knight
Misty Knight is mostly known to fans of the Netflix shows as the no-nonsense cop that teams up with Luke Cage in Netflix’s Luke Cage series, but in the comics her history with both Danny and Luke goes way back. She and Danny have been seriously involved on more than one occasion, even living together and at one point conceiving a child.
While it’s hard to imagine the Netflix versions of Danny and Misty hitting it off, especially considering that Danny seems pretty smitten with Colleen Wing, it may not be so far fetched after all. At Comic-Con this year, it was announced that Misty Knight would be joining the cast of Iron Fist full-time for season 2.
13. Triple-kicked a guy
A lot of attention is paid to Iron Fist’s, um, fists, which makes sense given his name. However, as a master of the martial arts, the guy can also throw kicks with the best of them. He shows off his fancy footwork on a number of occasions, but the coolest moment may be from the first episode, when he triple-kicks a guy off of a wall, in both the chest and the face.
It has yet to be seen if Danny can channel his chi into other parts of his body besides his fist, but hopefully if he ever loses his hands in some kind of terrible accident, he can change his name to Iron Foot, and just go around kicking fools instead of punching them.
12. Apologized for his company’s negligence
After returning to Rand Industries, Danny’s point-of-view and philosophy immediately comes into conflict with the cut-throat corporate atmosphere fostered by his childhood friends, Ward and Joy.
When a woman approaches Danny with the suggestion that a Rand chemical plant has been poisoning the citizens of her town, his immediate impulse is to apologize, which sends Ward and Joy into a tailspin, because it implies guilt on the company’s part.
It says a lot about who Danny is as a person that this sort of corporate concern doesn’t even occur to him. He sees a woman in pain and blaming his company, and his first impulse is to do the decent thing and apologize. While it puts the company in hot water, Danny doesn’t care.
11. Fought against (and alongside) the other Immortal Weapons
The Iron Fist’s role is to protect the mystical city of K’un-Lun as their Immortal Weapon, but in Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker’s run on The Immortal Iron Fist, Danny discovers that there are six other ancient cities as well, and each of them has their own Immortal Weapon, with names like Dog Brother #1, Fat Cobra, Prince of Orphans, and Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter.
One of the immortal weapons, Bride of Nine Spiders, actually appeared in the television show, but she wasn’t nearly as cool as her comic book counter-part.
After initially battling in a tournament to determine which of the cities can open a portal to Earth, Danny and the Immoral weapons eventually uncover a conspiracy and team up in order to protect the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven.
10. Healed Colleen with magic chi powers
While Danny has extensive martial arts training, it becomes clear over the course of the show that his training as the Iron Fist has been woefully incomplete. When Colleen Wing is succumbing to poison, her mentor Bakuto has to be the one to show Danny that his chi is capable not only of hardening his fist into a deadly weapon, but also of healing people.
This seems like something that would be pretty important to know about your own superpowers, and even though he was unaware at first, Danny seems to be slowly gaining a better and better understanding of how to harness and control his chi for various effects.
9. Beat Madame Gao’s super-cool drunken boxing guard
Much has been made of the fact that Lewis Tan, who plays Madame Gao’s drunk bodyguard in one episode, was nearly cast as Danny Rand, but if that had happened we wouldn’t have gotten to witness his delightful turn as this drunken boxing expert.
Danny writes Zhou Cheng off as a useless drunk at first, but it quickly becomes apparent that this bodyguard is the most dangerous enemy Danny has faced to this point.
Lewis Tan’s martial arts skills are on full display during this fight, with an casual athleticism that seems to stump Danny at first. However, he is eventually able to overpower his drunken opponent by channeling his emotions, and almost beats him to death.
8. Put his foot down about shady business dealings
Danny’s conflicts with his business partners Joy and Ward don’t begin and end with his apology to the people suing their company. After finding his way back into the company, Danny promises to take things slow, and not immediately barge in, waving his 51% stake in the company around, but it’s a promise that he almost immediately breaks.
When Danny finds out that the company is hiking up the prices of a valuable medication to make a profit, he insists that they instead sell it at cost, because it’s the right thing to do. Again, this causes conflict within the company, but does wonders for Danny’s public image, casting him as a CEO with a conscience.
7. Pretended to be Daredevil
Daredevil’s secret identity is one of the worst kept secrets in comic books, and every time that Matt Murdoch manages to find a way to convince the world that he’s not Daredevil, it seems like somebody manages to spill the beans again.
A few years back, around the time of Marvel’s Civil War event, Matt was so desperate to convince people that he wasn’t Daredevil that Danny Rand actually strapped on the horns for a time.
While his power-set is undeniably different from that of the Man Without Fear, if his fist isn’t glowing, it’s pretty impossible for villains to tell the difference.
6. Figured out how to order take-out
Early on in Iron Fist, Danny orders take-out for him and Colleen, but his idea of take-out turns out to be the rich, out-of-touch person’s idea of take-out; as men in suits bring in a table, candles, and an exquisite multi-course meal. As if that wouldn’t have been awkward enough, Claire Temple decides to hang around as a third wheel, creating an altogether delightfully uncomfortable evening.
However, by the end of the series, Danny manages to get more in touch with the world he’d been apart from since he was a child, and just orders some damn pizza for him and his sword-slinging lady-friend.
5. Punched down SO many doors and walls
Imagine that you had the power of the Iron Fist. If you say that you wouldn’t just go around punching down doors any time they were locked, you must be lying. In addition to its combat applications, Danny discovers early on that the power of the Immortal Iron Fist is the perfect answer to a locked door or an inconvenient wall.
In the second episode, when Danny escapes the mental hospital by reconnecting with his chi and punching his way out, it’s the beginning of a season-long love affair with punching down doors and walls.
At one point, towards the end, he even expands to floors, sending out a shockwave so massive it knocks down a dozen of Harold Meachum’s goons, and blows the windows out of an entire floor of an office building.
4. Survived growing up in a terrifying monastery
While he was all set to have a privileged and luxurious life as the heir to a massive business empire, Danny Rand ended up with a different and much more difficult upbringing than he expected. He was thrown from the lap of luxury into an incredibly remote monastery, where his life consisted of training, training, and more training.
While Danny does share some positive experiences of his time in K’un-Lun with his best friend Davos, most of what the viewer sees of his time in K’un-Lun looks terrifying, with the monks whipping him in order to make him stronger.
His life in the monastery may have prepared him for lots of kung-fu battles, and helped shape him into a kind and selfless person, but it clearly also left a scar. Especially for someone with an early childhood as privileged as Danny’s, making it out of K’un-Lun relatively unscathed was surely no easy feat.
3. Bro’d down with Luke Cage
When early comics that individually featured Luke Cage or Iron fist weren’t selling well, Marvel had the brilliant idea of pairing them up, and a friendship for the ages was born. Calling themselves Heroes for Hire, Danny and Luke make an unconventional pair to be sure, but even though they don’t have much in common, they can always be counted on to have each other’s backs.
After a long time apart, they were recently paired together again for a delightful series by David F. Walker, where after some initial unease (mostly on Luke’s part), they eventually fell back into their old rhythms as a team.
2. Breezed through a crazy underground tournament
When challenged by Madame Gao to an underground tournament against several of the Hand’s champions, Danny doesn’t hesitate, despite knowing that it could lead to his death.
While his battle against the Bride of Nine Spiders is underwhelming and mostly consists of him dealing with some needles she uses to try to block his chi, he also comes out on top in two battles that seem heavily stacked against him.
First he fights two twins who are perfectly in sync with each other, in a confined battle-ring. Then he goes up against a weapons master with a whole rack of bladed implements, without using any weapons of his own.
While your mileage may vary on whether his reference to his fist being the only weapon he needs is super cool or super lame, he ends up proving himself right when he walks out of the tournament unscathed, even after Gao changes the rules at the last second.
1. RIPPED THE HEART OUT OF A DRAGON
In both the comics and the show, Danny Rand is very clear about the fact that in order to obtain the powers of the Iron Fist, he had to literally rip the heart out of an actualy dragon.
Shou Lou the Undying, despite remaining off-screen for the duration of the Netflix series, is the final challenge that any prospective Iron Fist must face if they wish to be K’un-Lun’s champion, and based on the shape Danny was in immediately after their fight, he doesn’t make it easy.
Danny loves to remind people that he ripped the heart out of a dragon, and you almost can’t blame him. Anyone who did that would want to remind people constantly, because it is the coolest thing of all time, and honestly buys Danny a free pass for any time he wants to be whiny and annoying, because after all…. he did rip the heart out of a dragon.
Can you think of any other awesome things Danny Rand has done? Will he shine in The Defenders? Sound off in the comments!
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