Details: Aired on Netflix. Thirteen episodes at about an hour each.
The unfortunate part about Iron Fist and its most attractive quality is that it is part of the Marvel cinematic, superhero universe. People like watching Marvel superhero stuff. Unfortunately, when compared with the other Netflix/Marvel superhero shows, this is clearly the worst of the bunch.
The story is about the return of Danny Rand. Years ago, Danny Rand and his parents were all presumed dead after their plane crashed in the Himalayas. Turns out that while his parents apparently died, Danny survived and became a martial artist with the power to turn his fists into indestructible weapons. Now he returns to New York City to find his place in the world and fight new threats.
I think the primary reason why this show is lacking compared to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage is because there doesn’t seem to be any goal for the show to focus on. With Daredevil, they already established a kick ass, gritty, martial arts, action show. With Jessica Jones, you had this focus on a Noir, detective story with superhero twist and also told from the perspective of a victimized woman who’s been raped in body and mind, but tries to overcome it and empower herself. Luke Cage is your attempt at a black, crime drama, similar in tone to The Wire or Empire, with a superhero twist. I think the draw of the Netflix superhero shows was that they took a genre of fiction and injected superpowers into them. That made the shows familiar, yet new and interesting. It also helped that comic book fans got to see their favorite superheroes in live action.
And now we land on Iron Fist. What’s the twist here? What’s the focus? I’m not sure what tone or atmosphere they were trying to achieve here. There was some articles written on how Iron Fist should have starred an Asian protagonist. It could have gone into what life as an Asian immigrant was like and how having super powers would spin that. It certainly would have made sense and shown yet another side of the Marvel movie universe. It would also go along with their themes of diversity (Daredevil is disabled; Jessica Jones is a woman; Luke Cage is black).
However, that’s not what we got. Everything I saw in this series I saw done better in Daredevil. The whole series felt like Daredevil-lite. There were a lot of action scenes, but they felt slow and empty. The action, the acting, and the story were not impressive. I’m not saying this is an awful show, it’s just cringy and not at the level of the other Netflix superhero stuff.
I think the primary problem here is the casting. The performances and dialogue made me cringe many times. None of the people here were too great and they didn’t really fit… which I guess leads to the writing. The motivations for a lot of these characters were hard to believe. The whole story felt mostly pointless, which would be fine to me if only the action scenes were better choreographed or had some emotion in them. Unfortunately, they did not.
Overall, Iron Fist isn’t great. I was mostly bored. It might still be worth watching if you’re bored and need something to pass the time. Otherwise, I think you can just skip it.