The 4th and last of the Marvel Netflix Universe heroes, Iron Fist debuted on March 17 with 13 episodes.
After this run, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist, together with some other characters introduced in their respective series reprise their roles in the upcoming series The Defenders.
Iron Fist first came out in the 70’s as a Kung Fu movie inspired comic book hero created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. And although with short lived popularity among comic geeks, the character has managed to show up in several team ups (see Heroes for Hire), video games (Disney Infinity) and most recently the Netflix series.
Danny Rand, native New Yorker and son of Billionaire Wendell Rand of Rand Industries (think Stark only less in your face and more traditional corporate!), having trained in K’un-L’un takes on the mantle of Iron Fist and the crusade to destroy The Hand. Played by actor Finn Jones the series starts off with Danny returning back to New York after 15 years of being away.
After seeing all episodes, Iron Fist seems like the least developed character of the 4 titles. Danny is like a knock off Green Arrow minus the bow and anger. Absent is the feeling of urgency even when faced with the expected brutality of the Hand. And the fight scenes, which might seem Zen like in their approach just left you somewhat dissatisfied after every encounter.
The Meachums are generally just annoying to watch and their development as characters just felt predictable from the very beginning. Although if the writers were going for the “I wish they would just die” vibe, they have succeeded in spades! Thankfully other characters weren’t so ho-hum. There were a few supporting characters worth mentioning but since this review is spoiler free, we will leave them off for now.
Colleen Wing played by Jessica Henwick and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) do give great performances, that in fact, yet sadly, overshadow the main character. They both “humanize” the Iron Fist more by being reminders of his limitations as a hero and as a regular human being. Their roles are critical in bringing out the Iron Fists personality since the issue is Danny Rand is just “meh” to begin with – leaving just a “fairly adequate just ok” mark as a super hero.
There are a few scenes that were brilliantly written, such as the hospital interview in episode 2, but for the most part the dialogue seems so drawn out which slows down the show considerably.
The Iron Fist comic in the 70’s catered to the most racist stereotypes of Asians amalgamated into a generic typecast- yeah, even the whole Fu Manchu stache. Thankfully the Netflix series toned that down quite a bit. However, there were more than enough holes to poke as far as logic goes but this IS fiction to begin with so we will let them slide for now.
The main redeeming quality of the movie is the way it further develops the reach and scope of The Hand. We knew from prior shows that they were meticulously brutal with members that are mortally loyal to their cause and this series is a good set up for the upcoming Defenders show. As a bonus, the veil is also partially parted on the origins of a certain Hand person (I know, no spoilers!).
Overall, we were expecting a lot more, but were not terrible disappointed when we got significantly less- mainly because the source material itself isn’t particularly interesting compared to Daredevil etc. The biggest issue was really the pacing and the somewhat dumbed down conversation patterns that felt more like mis-cued anime subtitles (if you watched early dubbed Dragon Ball Z you’d know exactly what I am talking about).
Here is the typical formula for almost every dialogue sequence it seems:
Iron Fist: That’s wrong, this (insert problem here) is wrong. It’s not supposed to be like this.
Other person: this isn’t K’un L’un anymore. You should be more concerned about being Danny Rand than fixing (insert problem here).
Iron Fist: I am the Iron Fist AND Danny Rand, let’s fix (insert problem here). I’m gonna storm in.
Other person: No, I’m coming with you but first… lets talk about our feelings.
characters discuss their feelings about (insert problem here)
So yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Is the series worth watching? Maybe if only to run on all cylinders when The Defenders comes out for sure- but as a standalone series you will probably feel less satisfied compared to the other 3 titles that came before it.
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