Review – Marvel’s Iron Fist Season 1

by Nile Fortner

Does Marvel’s Iron Fist Deserve More Respect?

Netflix has been kickin’ ass with all these Marvel shows. We’ve seen some really great stuff out of Marvel and Netflix.  Many people, including myself, have been saying that Marvel, the superhero genre in general, needs to mix up the bag a little bit. All these movies, all these shows are starting to resemble one another. Marvel heard the criticism, and decided to go in different direction. Keep the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies a little light in tone, while making their Netflix shows, that still relate to the MCU a little darker in tone.

For example, in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy you have Baby Groot, a trash talking raccoon, and a duck drinking martinis at the end credits. Netflix on the other hand, has drug dealers, mobsters, sex, violence, goons, an extreme vigilante with blood smeared on his face and a huge skull on his chest. Talk about diversity. For those who do not know, or aren’t as geeky as I am. All these Marvel and Netflix shows have been leading up to a superhero group, known as The Defenders. To keep it simple, The Defenders are like The Avengers of the suburbs. The cast of heroes consists of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Punisher, Misty Knight, Claire Temple, Elektra, and Iron Fist. It was also reported that Signourney Weaver (Aliens, Avatar) has joined the cast as well.

But Iron Fist is the last piece in the puzzle before we get The Defenders.  What I personally enjoy about the MCU Netflix shows is how different they are.  Meaning, they offer something new to the genre, keep the genre fresh, and there is something there for everyone.  If you want to see a beautiful badass woman, you can check out Jessica Jones. Or if you want to see urban justice you can check out Luke Cage. Every show feels like it offers something new. Whether it be the R&B and Hip Hop soundtrack of Luke Cage or the dark tone of Daredevil.

Iron Fist has been getting a lot of hate, and has been called the worst of the Marvel Netflix shows. I watched all 13 episodes, of this series. I enjoy the MCU Netflix shows, and I was looking forward to what they do with this show.  Honestly, I would have to agree that this is one of the weaker shows. That does not mean it is horrible, because it is not. It’s just more of the same we’ve seen before, and does not offer anything new like the previous MCU Netflix shows.

“I am the Iron Fist!”

Danny Rand a.k.a Iron Fist was only 10-years-old when he survived a plane crash that took the lives of his wealthy parents. He was rescued by warrior monks, and grew up in K’un-Lun. Where he endured harsh conditions, but also trained to be a tough warrior. Years later, Danny returns home to New York, and he rightful wants a place at his family’s company, which is now run by his father’s former business partner. For years people thought Danny was dead. Now people think he is crazy, they don’t believe that he is really Danny Rand. Danny hopes to gain the trust of his family, friends, be a part of his parent’s legacy, and destroy an organization known as The Hand, and all the people who threaten his loved ones.

I do believe that this is the weakest of the MCU shows on Netflix. However, I think it deserves some respect. Like anything, this show has some good things and some not so good things.  In my opinion, this show doesn’t feature all that much of Iron Fist. The series mainly focuses on the family and the company Rand Enterprises.  This features the character Harold Meachum, played by David Wenham (Van Helsing, 300). I never noticed this until now. But damn does Wenham look exactly like the actor Domhall Gleeson  (Ex-Machina) and he has a son he doesn’t know about.  Harold is our protagonist. The actor works well with what he is given. Unfortunately, he isn’t given that much to work with. His character is written more like a cruel business man rather than a villain. He doesn’t become a really good villain until the last episode, when him and Fist are having a rooftop brawl.

The show spends so much time on this company, and Danny’s friends, and Harold’s children, Ward and Joy. I understand that this is needed for character development. On the other hand, this show should have featured way more of our main character. People are suing the company, they are getting bad publicity, daddy issues, and we just get too much with this company. The show has so many good ideas that it touches up upon, but it keeps going back to this company.  One of the bad organizations in this series, The Hand, never really comes off as menacing, and it is mainly because we do not get to spend much time with them.  Another big thing I have to get off my chest is how this show feels like a superhero show you would see on the CW network and a superhero show in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. We are in a time where we are seeing the evolution of superhero films, and people want change. This show goes back to those very typical superhero shows we’ve seen in the past. For instance, shows like Smallville. From the first couple of episodes you can even predict the ending of the series.

Finn Jones does a decent job as our main hero. But my biggest problem is how the character is written. His character is written to tell us his story, instead of showing us his story and character.  I like his relationship with the character Colleen Wing, played by Jessica HenwickHenwick as Colleen is a cool character, and has great chemistry with Iron Fist. I feel like the best scenes for the both of them were together. Colleen plays a Dojo master in New York, and that relationship she forms with Danny makes for the best on screen chemistry. Rosario Dawson(Sin City, Top Five) comes back as her character Claire Temple from Daredevil and Luke Cage. Dawson is always going to be one of my favorite actresses. However, her character here feels very much like she is just there to connect this to the other shows. Throughout the series, she is just mainly there to be the voice of reason.  In addition, this show honestly has episodes you can skip. You can skip certain episodes, and you will still completely understand the plot. So a few episodes feel very much like filler episodes. Episode six is where things really get moving.

Speaking of episodes, RZA(The Wu-Tang Clan, The Man With the Iron Fist) directs episode six, and episodes six in my opinion is the best episode. That is the one that feels the most like a comic book and those old school kung-fu flicks. You can tell RZA really does have a passion for this style. It shows in his music and him as a director.

What If Iron Fist Was Filmed Like The Raid: Redemption?

If Marvel really wanted this show to be a game changer, they should have changed the fighting style, and action choreography. The action and fighting feels very much like a low budget television show, and at times you can tell when it is a stunt double. While watching this, I kept say to myself, “What if all these fight scenes were filmed like Gareth Evan’s The  Raid movies?” That movie offered some of the best action and fighting scenes I have ever seen in film-making. It is ruthless, you can tell what is going on, and it looks like it was filmed all in one take. That would have helped the show tremendously in my opinion. Even with the so so story, if the action was as good as The Raid, people would love this a whole lot more. Accordingly, the music for this show made me a little confused. At times they are playing rap/hip-hop, pop, rock, and I couldn’t tell what the tone of this series was trying to accomplish.

Maybe This Series Should Have Been Heroes for Hire

Before there was Pryor and Wilder, before there was Woody and Wesley, before there was Murphy and Nolte, before there was Dre and Marshall, there was “Power Man” Luke Cage and Iron Fist. In the comics, these guys are a team, known as Power Man and Iron Fist, a.k.a the Heroes for Hire. Earlier I mentioned how Claire is used to connect this show to the other shows. I believe this show should have been written where the first half is Iron Fist, and the second half transitions into the Heroes for Hire. That way you keep the popularity of Cage going, and are establishing a not so popular superhero, Fist, with mainstream audiences. With great writing, anything is possibly in storytelling.

I know I have said a lot of negative things throughout this review. But I do not want to end it on a sour note.It’s not that this show is terrible, it’s just I expect more out of Marvel at this point. I like the cast, the cast works with what they are given, and like anything, this series could have used some improvement. Would I recommend it? Only if you are a huge fanboy or fangirl. I think the very low ratings like the score on Rotten Tomatoes is a little harsh. I think this show deserves some more respect. I give it respect for at least trying.

They do have compelling characters, and compelling stories. But at the end of it all it is half-and-half for me. My biggest issue is how the show ended, the action sequences, and the writing. I believe season one of Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix earns…

2.5 out of 5 Hairpieces

If you would like to see a review of Luke Cage Season one on Netflix, check out the link below.

Luke Cage Review

 

 

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