Shmee is recovering from his night with Neil Gaiman (PHRASING!) so I’ve decided to actually write my review of Netflix’s Iron Fist.
Now what to talk about?
Fine, I’ll tell you more. I went into this show knowing the reviews weren’t great, but I had read a few that gave me some hope that Marvel’s Kung Fu Master would be a worthy entry in the NMU (Netflix Marvel Universe). While both Daredevil Season 2 and Powerman weren’t as good as Daredevil Season 1 or Jessica Jones, they had that certain something that made you keep watching. Iron Fist does not have that certain something.
People have wanted to blame Finn Jones’ portrayal of Danny Rand, rich white kid, turned plane crash survivor, turned child forced to learn kung-fu, turned The Living Weapon, turned rich white guy again and while his performance isn’t perfect it is the best one can do with the character as he was written.
Danny Rand or the Iron Fist seem to change from episode to episode or even from scene to scene. There are moments were he is a standout character, like at the beginning when he’s shoeless and just wanting to talk to the Meachum’s. Then he’s the conflicted The Living Weapon. Now he’s in an insane asylum. Now he’s Buddhist. Now he’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. The character is far too scattered to make any sense.
The writers in wanting to not stray too far from the mold tried to shoehorn comic book ideas into a more gritty and broken NMU character and it neither makes him interesting or different from the other three. Iron Fist had the potential to be the more wild and free one, the CW’s Flash to the CW’s Arrow if you will.
Of course character and plot could have been ignored if the Kung-Fu had been excellent. I’m talking about Danny just walking down the street and getting jumped by a gang for no reason in the middle of the episode; just to have a fight scene. Iron Fist should have reveled in the Kung-Fu origin of the character and just had him fighting all the time, in all sorts of place. Danny’s eating soup at the soup kitchen? BAM! Fighting off the local toughs because they’re taking food from an old man. Iron Fist listening to his iPod in central park? BAM! Ninjas! The fights would be wild, constant, and at the end of it Danny would shrug his shoulders and move on.
Instead we got only a few fight scenes, usually very slow and not very interesting.
The rest of the cast do a great job though, so its worth watching it for them for the most part. Their characters also don’t seem to know who they are, except Clair Temple, she’s knows what’s up. But Jessica Henwick, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphrey, David Wenham, and Carrie Ann Moss all do their best with what they have.
About five episodes in I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish the show, but my wife actually enjoyed it and kept turning it on as soon as the kids were in bed. I’m glad I finished it, but I’m not sure I want more adventures with the Iron Snoozefest by himself. Hopefully he and all the others come together in an epic adventure in The Defenders.