It’s super exciting to be doing a Marvel’s Iron Fist review, as I’ve been highly anticipating this show. My anticipation has not been disappointed, as Iron Fist continues to build up on the Marvel world that Netflix has created and is a fantastic new addition to the Defenders line up.
Iron Fist is now available on Netflix. It’s Netflix’s latest original series, and the 4th character in the Marvel Universe that belongs to the Defenders team. The highly anticipated series’ full season 1 contains 13 episodes, all of which are now up and watchable.
The series itself has met a lot of controversy since Finn Jone’s casting as the lead character Daniel (Danny) Rand. The white actor plays a white character from the original comics that the show is based on, but many believed the role should have gone to an asian actor.
Early reviews from critics have slammed the show as “racially uncomfortable” and “a complete misfire.” However since it’s release fans have been taking to social media to defend the series, taking a completely different view to critics.
— J X S H (@_joshuamcintyre) March 17, 2017
The plot for Iron Fist is a solid foundation. The first episode reminds me of Arrow, as we have a billionaire blonde heir to a giant corporation return home after years of absence (presumed dead). Danny Rand’s homeless appearance is fun, and I’m happy he keeps the beard throughout the series.
The first couple of episodes focuses on Danny trying to prove that he is who he says he is. I found this a slow start, and a little frustrating. In retrospect, it’s pretty clever. The show made me frustrated for Danny, and as equally annoyed by the obstacles in he way as he was.
Pacing picks up after the first 4 episodes, which introduced the various characters very well. The cliffhangers at the end of each episode certainly makes you want to binge watch the entire series in one sitting.
Fight scenes are scarce in the first half, but increase in frequency in the second half. Although the scenes themselves were hit and miss, the reasoning for the fights never felt forced.
There are a few plot twists, some of which you see coming, others which you don’t. Overall it kept the series engaging and satisfying to watch.
Overall, the plot for Iron Fist really works in the already established universe. There’s a lot of character crossover to the previous series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. The occasional hints of the other characters are a delightful easter egg hunt.
Characters – Danny Rand
I personally have no problems with Finn Jones being cast as Iron Fist. Yes, he’s a white lead in a martial arts series. But the character is true to the source material. Finn Jones is very accurate to his comic-book counter part. So that issue set aside for now, let’s move onto the character review.
Danny Rand is a likeable lead. He doesn’t have the same pull as previous Marvel leads, such as Matt Murdock or Jessica Jones, but he does alright. It did frustrate me that his origin was slowly drip fed through the series, and the same flashbacks of the plane crash were used. I understand it was meant to show his overwhelming emotions to the events, but it’s still annoying.
His optimistic and childish naivety does frustrate me at points. He’s very much a classic hero, someone who wants to defend all. This follows the same line as previous lead characters. However his constant rash actions and seemingly complete disinterest from his company’s business is frustrating to watch.
His character doesn’t develop as much in the series as I would like. Too much time is spent in the first few episodes, and his fight to gain access and control of the Rand corporation is devalued as later on in the series he completely neglects the business side of it in favour of fighting shenanigans.
Overall however he does grow on you. I think his personality type will make a great addition to the other members of the Defenders, and it makes me even more excited for that team-up series.
Characters – Everyone else
I really like the other characters in this series. The Meachum siblings have a good dynamic that is used well throughout the script. Colleen Wing is a kickass asian dojo master which is insanely cool. Claire Temple gets more screen time than ever before, and I like it.
My favourite character bond is that between Ward Meachum and his father Harold Meachum. The command of control sets and exciting background, and I think the struggles of Ward against his extremely controlling father is great to watch. Their relationship development throughout the series is good. It’s near fantastic by the last quarter of the season.
Out of the siblings I think Ward has a much better role. He comes across as an asshole, then we are made to pity him, until finally he gets broken and we’re rooting for him and we don’t know how he managed to manipulate us into feeling that way.
Joy Meachum on the hand falls short for me. Her character comes across as having internal conflict at first, balancing being a business woman and being a good person. Later on in the season however she has the least amount of character development and comes across as whiney.
Madam Gao makes a much more important role in Iron Fist that her previous appearances in Daredevil. She makes an impressive villain. I especially love the scene where she sticks her walking stick sword through the back of someone’s head.
Colleen Wing is a whole other subject. I couldn’t decide if I liked her character or not. At one point she’s helpful. At another point she just doesn’t listen and is a bit of a fool. Her character doesn’t feel consistent to me, and she has the least character development in the show after Clair Temple.
I love the cinematography of the whole series. Marvel and Netflix have been killing it with the colour palette and camera work throughout the series. It really adds to the atmosphere and some scenes look like they belong in a high budget blockbuster movie.
The music choice was also fun and matched the pace of the season. Costume design was simple, without complaints.
My biggest problem however is with the CGI used to make Iron Fist’s fists glow. Whenever he uses his special hand, it looks like a Christmas decoration lighting up. I’m not sure if there is a better way of portraying Danny’s abilities that don’t look completely silly.
The fight scenes are also extremely hit and miss for me. Considering it’s a story with a martial artist as the lead, there’s something lacking in the fight scenes. There’s a lot of shaky cam, a lot of camera jumps and overall I would enjoy the fights a lot more had it been more fluid.
I do want to see the kickass martial arts, and the constant camera jumping and shaking makes it hard to see any elegance in the choreography of the fights.
I really enjoy the series. It’s on par with Jessica Jones for me amongst the Marvel Netflix series.
Yes it has flaws, but it’s also a comic-book TV show. I believe too many people are expecting the same level of production as Marvel’s films, which just isn’t possible due to budgets.
The episodes are well written. Yes it’s a bit hit and miss with the fight sequences, but the show overall manages to keep a steady pace.
Characters are interesting to watch. Plot moves well, and fits in perfectly with the already established universe. The whole thing sets up well for the Defenders series, something that I’m also highly anticipating.