I’ve watched the first three episodes of Marvel’s new Netflix series, Iron Fist. I caught blurbs from some of the early reviews, all of which were surprisingly negative for a Marvel production, but I wanted to give it a shot for myself. My hot take on it is this: Iron Fist isn’t a bad show, it’s just mediocre.
There isn’t just one problem with the show, but there is one massive one, and it’s that I don’t really know what Danny Rand (the main character) wants. He’s back in New York after being missing and presumed dead since he was ten years old. Why is he back in New York now? There’s some mention that the dimensional rift he went through only opens every fifteen years, so yes, there’s that, but why come back to New York? He says he doesn’t want money. He doesn’t seem to want to run his parents’ company. The question is put to him directly more than once, and he never answers it.
At some point, Danny mentions he is the sworn enemy of The Hand. That’s great if you’ve followed the other Marvel shows. It gives you some idea of how Iron Fist will fit in to Marvel’s small screen universe, but is he hunting The Hand in New York? He doesn’t seem to be. A “sworn enemy” usually makes hunting down their enemies a priority, but Danny is in no hurry to do anything but try to talk to the Meachem family, who he regarded as siblings despite the fact that none of them were ever particularly kind to him.
Speaking of the Meachem family, they’re the only ones driving the story so far. They aren’t well developed. Just think random corporate bad guys and you’ll have a pretty good idea what you’re dealing with. Yes, they’re obviously up to some master plan, but the show is in no hurry to explain it. The family patriarch, who is supposed to have died from cancer, is in league with The Hand. To what end, who knows? Danny doesn’t seem to know anything about it, otherwise his obsession with the family and his presence in New York would have some explanation, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The performances here are nothing to write home about. The fight scenes are few and far between, but when they do happen, they aren’t very impressive anyway. Part of that is that they don’t seem to be using a stunt double for Danny because the actor isn’t under a mask and they don’t want to CGI his face over someone else’s. What that means are a lot of cuts in action sequences and brawls that look a little like the old Adam West Batman TV show where people wait politely for their turn to attack and are careful not to move too fast.
You might think I’m being unfair only three episodes in, but I would suggest to you that a show shouldn’t need three episodes to get going. I may finish the series bit by bit over time, but this show isn’t worth binge watching, and may not be worth much of a look at all. If I weren’t worried about missing a setup for other shows down the road, I’d skip it without a thought.
I only caught the first two episodes before I had to stop. I’m not even sure why Danny fought to survive the Himalayas. Yes. Most living things want to stay alive and that works for a real-world answer, but that doesn’t spin a good story in some cases, especially when the story is about a guy who travels back to New York to presumably fight crime.
Arrow’s Ollie wanted to correct his and his father’s wrongs. Iron Man’s Tony Stark fought for his life in order to keep his family’s weapons out of the wrong hands. Danny only offers that he had to survive. Why? Besides the obvious answer of living’s usually better than dying, why did he want to survive? He lost his family, not to some act of crime like Bruce Wayne and he must combat said crime, he lost them because of a freak accident. Or at least that’s what I’ve seen through two episodes. I think Danny said something about a cover-up but I wrote that off to expositional dialogue. I don’t much care for that. There’s nothing to suggest someone was responsible for the Rand family’s death but I’m sure Iron Fist will shoehorn some reason.
And that’s the biggest problem with this series so far. I’m sure all this will lead to something but the show should’ve started closer to where the chief conflict is revealed. I’ll eventually get around to watching Iron Fist, for fear of missing something in the Marvel/Netflix universe, but the show hasn’t held my interest.
Thanks for reading.