REVIEW: Iron Fist – Season One (2017)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a full season review of Marvel’s Iron Fist – Created by Scott Buck

After the success of both Daredevil seasons, as well as Jessica Jones and Luke Cage’s debut seasons, the final Netflix-Marvel season to lead up to the big event series The Defenders has arrived. It is time to finally focus on Danny Rand (played by Finn Jones) – Marvel’s Iron Fist.

When Danny was a boy, he and his parents where involved in an accident. Danny was the only survivor, but he spent more than a decade away from the Western world. Now, Danny has returned to the United States to reclaim his family’s company, but, seeing as people thought he was dead, not everyone is willing to welcome him back with open arms immediately.

If this sounds like CW’s Arrow show – featuring the DC Comics hero the Green Arrow – then rest assured you’re not going to be the only one thinking that. If people are completely unfamiliar with this superhero martial arts expert, then that’s the first comparison those viewers are going to draw. But while the first season of Arrow wasn’t flawless, I’d say it is much better and more entertaining than the first season of Marvel’s Iron Fist, which is the first Netflix-Marvel show that neither hits the ground running nor ever really finds its footing.

I think it was almost impossible for people interested in the show to avoid the critical lambasting that Iron Fist received prior to the premiere of the show. It will cause people to go in with very low expectations, and, perhaps, they may not see eye to eye with the most negative critics. While I will say the entire show isn’t as bad as I think the early reaction made it seem like, I don’t think it’s a good season. It’s not a train wreck, but it’s not worth your time if you’re not interested in the connected Netflix-Marvel universe.

The first season of Marvel’s Iron Fist sees Danny Rand try to reclaim his name and his rightful possessions, as well as his position within his family’s company, while still trying to deal with the foes that he has been taught to fight. Danny Rand has become a Buddhist martial arts expert who wields the mystical and ancient power of the Iron Fist, which allows him to focus his ‘chi’ and intensify his strength, among other things.

The character’s debut season introduces you to multiple potential villains, and few of them really work. We’ve seen Madame Gao (played by Wai Ching Ho) in another Netflix-Marvel show, so her appearance puts a smile on your face, but most of the other central villains in Iron Fist are introduced clumsily or are, at the very least, somewhat unconvincing.

I think the first season has serious problems with its writing. Some of the dialogue is just not good enough for a universe as ambitious and mature as the Netflix-Marvel shows. At times, it’s frustratingly poor, and mostly it’s actually surprisingly silly or cheesy, really. I have a problem with the show’s pacing, as well. Honestly, the first couple of episodes are lackluster, and, while the show certainly does get better, I struggled to really care about the overall season plot.

Previously, I’ve criticized the structure of the Netflix-Marvel seasons. The seasons are always too long, and there’s always this point in the season where it just feels like the show is spinning its wheels to get to a conclusion, which isn’t always as satisfying as the first couple of episodes. Sadly, the first couple of episodes of Iron Fist are the worst in the season, and when the conclusion to the season is as underwhelming as I found it to be, it, ultimately, just becomes a bad experience.

I think Marvel’s Iron Fist would’ve benefitted from a bigger production budget and a stronger idea of choreographing, shooting, and editing the fight scenes. Some of the fights are really slow and unconvincing, and, as you would expect a show about a martial arts expert to have great fight scenes, this becomes one of the biggest problems this season has.

I also think it’s really problematic that throughout the season the character, you, as a viewer, are most drawn to isn’t Danny Rand. Actually, he’s not even the second most interesting protagonist. I found myself wanting to see more of what Claire Temple (played by Rosario Dawson) and, especially, the show-stealing Colleen Wing (played by Jessica Henwick), who is the best thing this show has going for it, were doing whenever they weren’t on-screen.

In conclusion, Marvel’s Iron Fist is a clumsy and unconvincing attempt at introducing one of the most powerful characters in the Netflix-Marvel series of shows. I never thought it really grabbed me as a viewer, and I don’t think it ever found its footing. While it’s not as bad as you may have been led to believe, it certainly isn’t very good, and I do believe it’s the worst Netflix-Marvel season yet.


Finally, let’s briefly talk about the way this season connects to the other shows. There are some spoilers here, so tread lightly. I do think it quickly became tough to understand why Claire wouldn’t just get Danny in touch with Matt Murdock when the Hand is as significant a villain group in this show as it is.

Actually, while I do think this show references the other Netflix-Marvel shows more than the other three, it is also the show that could’ve benefitted the most from guest appearances from the other future ‘Defenders.’


C

– Jeffrey Rex

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