“Daredevil” was a strong start, “Jessica Jones” was a surprise hit, and “Luke Cage” was a solid statement. Yet it seems the magic has run out for Marvel, because their new Netflix series “Iron Fist” did not deliver on any of the hype that surrounded it. It’s a slow burn that fizzles into obscurity rather than blazes an exciting trail.
The plot starts off simple. Danny Rand survived a plane crash 15 years ago and has been training with monks to become the Iron Fist, a mystical warrior and protector of the mythical city Kun’Lun. However, Danny abandons his post to return to his home to reclaim his family company and name, Rand Enterprises.
The season starts slowly as we are introduced to characters and their motivations. And then it goes nowhere with that.
Danny is introduced as a character who wants to save the world, which doesn’t mix well with corporate America. His biggest weakness is his naiveté and his penchant for getting betrayed by everyone while missing the blatantly obvious. I found myself tearing my hair out as the characters had to spoon feed Danny to obvious conclusions that everyone else had come to.
Normally, I’d bring up the rest of the cast, but they’re all passable. Not a single supporting cast member brings anything worthwhile to the table. The Meetchum family look like they belong more in Mad Men than a supernatural kung fu show. Meanwhile, Colleen Wing feels like a forced love interest rather than a badass kung fu master in her own right. Even recurring character Claire Temple – who’s been in every Marvel series on Netflix thus far – is there for the sake of a cameo at this point.
The weakest part of almost everything in the Marvel Comic Universe has been the villains, and here they are just as bad. The Hand returns as the sworn enemy of the Iron Fist but, once again, they’re reduced to just being guys that our protagonist has to beat up. Even worse than Daredevil season 2, we’re not even given true motivations for them to be in the world. Why are they opposing Danny? Why are they even around? What are their goals? These are the questions we never receive answers to; the only saving grace is Madam Gao, who, if nothing else, is an amusing old lady.
If anything, the fighting choreography should have been a must see, but even that wasn’t memorable. You’d think a man with a glowing fist and martial arts training would be entertaining but the fight scenes, like the poor writing of this show, fell flat almost every time.
There isn’t one thing in “Iron Fist” worth mentioning. The show isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s skating the edge. It falls so short of the expectations that have been built up over the past two years of the Netflix homebrew. Give it a try yourself, but measure your expectations sharply.