Boy, I’ve been avoiding writing this mess for about a month. BUT here we go.
Marvel Gave us Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. These three were introduced to us on Netflix through their own unique series’, and they were really a hit with fans. But we all knew there was one more Defender to be added to the fray. Enter: Iron Fist, Marvel and Netflix’s most recent collaborative effort. How did this series hold up in comparision to the other three shows? Lets talk about that right now.
[This thing is going to have spoiler in it, so if you haven’t seen Iron Fist, LOOK AWAY]
Convoluted Plot & Weak Pacing
Alright, let’s get into the plot of the show. We’re introduced to Danny Rand (Finn Jones), who, after being presumed dead for 15 years, returns home from a mystical city named K’un L’un and expect everyone to remember him and believe he is who he says he is. Oh, and after all these years, he’s learned “kung-fu,” and he can now channel the power of the Iron Fist. Cool, right? Yeah you’d think so.
Now, after a series of events and few episodes of trying to get people to believe him, it finally happens, and now we have Danny Rand back from the dead and back with his company. This show kind of loses focus on what it wants it’s plot to be many times. Half of the time, it focuses on Danny being a member of Rand Enterprises (the company his father and Harold Meachum grew together), the other portion focuses on Danny trying to prove to everyone that he’s actually the Iron Fist (but not even being able to show them his power unless he gets punched in the face a few times), and the rest of the show deals with him fighting The Hand. And the pacing suffers throughout the whole series while they try to balance all of this in each episode.
Not Staying True to the Story
Now I’m not exactly an Iron Fist Buff, but I’m at least educated in his origin. In the comics, Wendell Rand (Danny’s father) came across the magical city of K’un L’un as a boy, and stayed their for a bit after becoming engrossed in their culture. As an adult (married, and with a son named Daniel), Wendell planned an expedition through mountains to return to K’un L’un with his family and his business associate, Harold Meachum. Things go wrong, and Harold ends up pushing Wendell off a cliff; Wendell’s wife gets eaten alive by Wolves trying to protect Danny, and then Danny gets saved by some Monks from K’un L’un. This is roughly how it happened in the comics, and not at all how it happened in the show. In the show, Danny’s parents both get killed in a plane crash, leaving Danny as the sole survivor. It’s obvious that sometimes you have to tweak the story of shows a bit to make it fit on TV, but completely changing his origin in a way less creative way was kind of lame.
Finn Jones as Danny Rand/Iron Fist
Being completely honest with you guys, Finn Jones did not sell this character to me at ALL. We’re supposed to believe that this guy is the defender of K’un L’un that was given the power of the Iron Fist? Yeah, not likely. While portraying Danny Rand (or as I like to call him, Danny Bland), Jones often overacts, giving us an emotionless performance. As I said earlier, he spent a lot of time yelling at the other characters that he was the Iron Fist, and when he did that.. it was annoying. It felt like he didn’t really give the role his all, and he was often out-acted by the supporting cast. You really want to root for the main character/the hero, so why did I never find myself doing that? Because I don’t feel that Finn Jones was likable as Danny Rand. The show’s creators has the opportunity to be creative with the show and race-bend Danny Rand, allowing us to get an Asian-American actor in the role (I mean there was only a movement for this going on for like 3 years before the show came on), but they didn’t, because “canon.’Yeah, that explains why they rewrote Danny’s whole origin. “Canon.”
Supporting Acts & Unclear Villains
So this show has a lot of supporting cast members. Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) is basically Danny’s partner/love interest throughout the show. Jessica does a decent job in this role, but the romance between her and Jones’ character felt forced due to the lack of chemistry the actors had. As well as her, recurring MCU character Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) played a big role in this show. This was the weakest her character’s writing has been, but for the most part, she’s the same Claire we already know. What this show has is a slew of villains. It’s unclear who the MAIN villain is by the time the show ends. Harold Meachum (who died, but came back via The Hand) is controlling things at Rand Enterprises from the shadows, and he’s secretly using Danny as well. Harold’s kids, Ward and Joy, are currently in power at Rand, and for a while they were refusing to believe Danny was really who he said he was. Then once they finally knew he really was Danny, they tried to keep him from getting any power in the company so they could keep it for themselves. Boy of them went through so many character changes in the show. by the end of the show, Ward had been a villain twice, and then a good guy. On the other hand, Joy was a bad guy, a good guy, a confused guy, and then a downright villain again. One of Danny’s friends from K’un L’un named Davos comes to bring Danny back, but after seeing Danny has “changed,” he becomes a villain that wants Danny dead. Then we had Madame Gao and Bakuto who were both villains from The Hand (oh, and Colleen was a part of The Hand too initially). Do you see where I’m going with this?
What I will say about this show is that while the actual execution of most of them wasn’t amazing, I still rather enjoyed the fight scenes. There were some episodes that had cool moments involving fights (like that tournament-style episode). It was nice to see that they took their time to find a few actors that could bring their unique fighting styles to this show and really give us some nice battles. One of my personal favorites was the scene in which Danny fights Zhou Cheng (played by Lewis Tan), a member of The Hand who uses alcohol to enhance his fighting ability. It was a cool scene and im glad they had that there. It was also nice to see Claire Temple finally start kicking ass while still being the Night Nurse.
I know it seemed like I hated this show due to my harsh review, but it actually had some enjoyable moments. It’s just that looking at it from beginning to end, there were so many plot holes and so many moments that didn’t make sense (I would talk about them all, but we don’t have all day). That’s not to say that the fights weren’t slightly entertaining to watch and that the supporting cast didn’t try their best even if the main character didn’t seem to. In the end, Iron Fist was a bit disappointing compared to the other great stuff that we’ve been given by Marvel/Netflix. Maybe the best course of action would be getting a new team of writers to work on the show for any following seasons, and maybe recasting some characters. We hope that his character doesn’t lack when all four of the Netflix heroes come together in this summer’s The Defenders.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 10
Marvel’s Iron Fist is available for Steaming on Netflix now