Netflix and Marvel have teamed up once again to supply us with yet another superhero television series. This time, the focus is on a Marvel comic book character named Danny Rand. He also goes by the name of Iron Fist, which is the name of the show. All 13 episodes of Marvel's Iron Fist premiered recently in March. The show, however, received very harsh reviews from some of the industries leading critics (most of them didn't even watch the entire season but still managed to give the show a rating). Some of which were directed towards the lead actor, Finn Jones. I have binged watched the entire season and I don't think that it's as bad a show as everyone seems to be making it out to be.
Warning: This may be a spoiler free review, but mild spoilers are expected.
Danny Rand returns to his home and to Rand Industries, the company his father built which is based in New York City. Danny and his parents were presumed dead 15 years earlier after their plane crashed during a flight to the Far East. During this period, Danny secretly trained in a mystical land called K'un-L'un to develop his fighting skills in order to become the Iron Fist. Danny has acquired the skill necessary to use his chi to summon the power of the Iron Fist.
Danny's return to his father's company (which is being run by Ward and Joy Meachum) is plagued by endless problems. One of those being the company's evolvement with the criminal organization called The Hand. It is now up to Danny to try and reclaim a seat in his father's corporation as well as defeat The Hand while also fulfilling the duties of the Iron Fist. This is all too much for Danny, seeing that he has just returned to modern civilization. But he is assisted by his new found friends Colleen Wing and Claire Temple.
Highlights of the Show
There are moments in the show when you realise that actor Finn Jones is the Iron Fist. He gets into the role completely and makes it hard for you to picture anyone playing the same role. But this is only momentary. Jones fails to maintain his composure throughout the season. This is mostly due to poor writing on behalf of the show's creators. We see Danny Rand behaving in very uncharacteristic ways for most parts of the season. Critics have gone as far as saying that he was a terrible choice for the show and they should have chosen an Asian actor instead. But the Iron Fist from the comics is, in fact, a blond white guy. So why all the hate from these critics?
The fight scenes are great. Especially the scenes that include Coleen Wing (Probably the star of this show). But they aren't as good as Daredevil. Pretty much the same sort of formula. You would expect the fighting to be out of this world. The scenes are clearly made up of stunt doubles. The problem here is that everything seems to be a bit rushed. The actual filming of this show was done quickly on a very tight schedule. Most of the actors probably didn't even have that much time to train.
The Boardroom drama that takes place is good. Tom Pelphrey and Jessica Stroup give great performances as Ward and Joy Meachum, CEO's and Board Executives of the Rand Corporation. David Wenham as Harold Meachum is an absolute joy to watch. He totally gets into his role as one of the main antagonists of the show. It's a well-written role that must have been so much fun to act (and is equally fun to watch). My only issue with this part of the story arc is that it takes up too much time of the actual series. A series that's supposed to be about a street level mythical martial arts character but instead it's a series that spends about half its time exploring company litigation, lawsuits, and corporate takeovers.
Iron Fist is a very enjoyable show. All of my friends have expressed the only delight towards watching the show. My only problem with Iron Fist is that the show suffers from an Identity Crisis, ironically similar to the one that Danny Rand is going through! The show itself tries to blend the outrageous antics of a comic book story with the tone of a well grounded 'real world' show. In other words, we don't know if we should take the show seriously or not because there are so many weird and outrageous things going on within a serious environment.
Other Netflix shows like Daredevil and Luke Cage did, however, pull this off because they managed to keep the outrageous stuff at a low. Iron fist is very similar to DC's Arrow TV series in many ways, but even Arrow knows that it's being ridiculous at times. This is ok because it is what you would come to expect from that show.
Should You Watch Iron Fist?
I would recommend that you watch Iron Fist. But you must try not to take the show too seriously (regardless of its tone). You will love the show if you are into martial arts or just a lover of Kung fu action movies. However, you will have to endure a lot of slow pace storytelling in corporate settings.