Netflix’s Iron Fist Packs a Soft Punch
On March 17th, Netflix released its latest Marvel installment, Iron Fist, which unfortunately failed to pack the punch we hoped for.
In the last few years, Netflix has released a number of Marvel series, with intertwined narratives. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are all based in New York City, and have crossed paths with each other in the comic book universe. Iron Fist is the newest addition to the relative narrative and it had the potential to stand upto the other Marvel series, which it barely did.
A superhero with super Kung Fu skills and an iron fist, sounds really bad ass, right? Well, this version of the Iron Fist was more of a bratty, naïve man child, who’s Kung Fu skills were barely believable and whose iron fist rarely showed up.
The casting choice for Iron Fist, has been criticized for many reasons, from being a white guy to his lack of Kung Fu skills. The series stayed true to the comic books, in which Iron fist aka Danny Rand is a white man who survives a plane crash in the Himalayan Mountains, to be raised and trained in the mystical city of Kun Lun by Shaolin monks, where he receive the power of the Iron Fist in order to protect Kun Lun from the evil cabal, the Hand. Finn Jones, while giving a commendable effort, did not project a strong trained Kung Fu performance. His balance, rhythm and strength was undermined as soon as we saw him next to Jessica Henwick, who plays Colleen Wing. Jessica’s strength, grace, and training made her look more like the superhero than Finn.
The series starts Danny Rand in New York City, who is presumed dead and is trying to find his way back to his father’s multimillion dollar company, now run by his childhood friends, Joy and Ward Meecham, whose father Harold Meecham, also presumed dead, was partner in.
Harold Meecham (David Wenham) is secretly alive and is running the company via Ward Meecham (Tom Pelphrey) who he emotionally tortures to no end. Joy Meecham (Jessica Stroup) believes her father is dead. When Danny shows up, both Joy and Ward, don’t believe he is who he says, and it takes a few episodes for him to prove his identity.
Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), who has been a part of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, is a sight for sore eyes when she shows up at Colleen’s dojo. She plays an integral part in trying to man Danny up, and to help him get through his issues.
Every episode of Iron Fist felt like a slow build, but a worthy climax never came. The best fight scene, was when Danny faces Zhou Cheng (Lewis Tan). Lewis Tan is an amazing martial artist and to watch him fight was a treat.
Danny faces quite a few other foes throughout the series, including Madam Gao (Wai Ching Ho), Bakuto (Ramón Rodríguez), and his childhood friend Davos (Sacha Dhawan). The fact that all his foes seemed more formidable than him was disappointing. Maybe if he had summoned his iron fist some more, or if his Kung Fu skills were more believable, or if his body were jacked a little, the superhero factor in him would have been stronger.
After the final scene of the series which suggest the teaming of Danny’s foes, Joy Meecham, Davos, and Madam Gao, the series will likely come back for a second season. We know that Davos is the Steel Serpent, one of Iron Fist’s biggest enemies. Hopefully the next season will add a little more action and a little less of the crybaby superhero.
The story, while engaging, was far too slow, with little reward compared to the other Netflix Marvel series’. After Jon Bernthal’s amazing scene stealing role as tortured vigilante Frank Castle, Netflix’s rumored to release Marvel’s The Punisher series by the end of this year. Here’s to hoping The Punisher packs a harder punch than Iron Fist.