Iron Fist Season One Review

Originally posted 2017-03-28 20:00:20.

Iron Fist Season One Review
Parental Rating: TV-MA
Grade: C+
Length: 13 Hour Long Episodes

Synopsis(No Spoilers):

Rounding out Marvel’s quartet of superheroes, Netflix has at last unveiled the final Defender, Iron Fist.

After 15 years away, Danny Rand(Finn Jones) is back in New York City. Thought to have died in a tragic plane crash, Danny has been secretly training in the mythic city of K’un-Lun. After being tasked with the sacred responsibility and powers of the Iron Fist, Danny has abandoned his post and returned to his former home.

The few friends he has left are unrecognizable to him, and the company bearing his namesake has been infiltrated by the evil crime organization, The Hand. Still mastering his own abilities, and struggling to find his purpose, Danny is forced to confront everything he’s learned and come to grips with the burden of the Iron Fist.

Review(Minor Spoilers):

I’m not mad at you Netflix, I’m just disappointed.

It’s not that Iron Fist is bad, because it isn’t, it’s just that the bar had been raised to such a great height, falling short feels like a let-down. Not wanting to come across as too negative here, Iron Fist has plenty of redeemable qualities. There are some really interesting fight sequences, great character additions, and enough plot twists to prevent you from interrupting Netflix’s auto-play feature.

With that being said, Iron Fist is a show that can’t find its tone. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are defined and motivated by the tragic events of their lives. While Danny tragically loses his parents, it’s not character defining. Good parenting isn’t enough to create a hero. Something was instilled in him while in K’un-Lun, and we never see it.

Superior acting could’ve given the character more heart, but Jones’ performance was a step-down from the the likes of Charlie Cox, Kristen Ritter, and Mike Coulter. Finn is unable to capture the required angst for a such a conflicted individual, often coming across as a confused teen. On the other hand(get it…?), Jessica Henwick’s portrayal of Colleen Wing picks up where Jones lets off, quickly replacing him as the most compelling character in the series. And who doesn’t love a woman who kicks ass?

The biggest fault of the show is a lack of a real villain. Fisk, Kilgrave, and Cottonmouth from past Netlifx series have provided balance to show offering someone antithetical to our hero. Iron Fist is seriously lacking in that regard. Gao partially offers this for the first half of the season, but as she’s removed as the figurehead , the show fails to replace her with a better villain.

Iron Fist is certainly a bump in the road, but it might still lead to the superhighway that could be a Defenders series. If you’re committed to the greater MCU, stick with it, if not, you’ll be excited to hear that the solo Punisher series is slated to debut later in 2017.

Final Thoughts:

  • I’m ticked they didn’t do more to connect into a Defenders series. The board is set, and all it would’ve taken is a line of dialogue in the final episode to pull it together. I now fear that half of the Defenders series will serve as a get-together origin story.
  • More flashbacks to K’un-Lun would’ve made it seem more connected to his character. The finale’s big reveal seemed meaningless since it’s the first time you’ve seen it.
  • A common gripe about superheroes in consistency, and Iron Fist was a worse offender in this regard than most. Danny is supposed to be one of, if not the, greatest martial artists in the world, with the ability to take on an army of ninjas head on.  But in the next scene, he’ll struggle to take out a single henchman.
  • I don’t blame Finn Jones for his casting, but the producers could’ve done more to cure cultural wounds of the past. Lewis Tan, who auditioned for the role, and ended up playing Zhou Cheng, “Sworn Defender of The Hand”, would’ve made an awesome Danny Rand.

Stay Classy,

Andrew Knauff

Andy Knauff