Marvel's Iron Fist Review
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Verdict: 3 / 5

If Luke Cage taught us anything it’s that each Marvel Netflix series is different and not catered to everyone. Iron Fist, which accurately represents the source material, is another example of this. While the show has received a lot of heat for “whitewashing” and all sorts of other ridiculous accusations, it’s ultimately a show dedicated to 80s’ and 90s’ kung-fu action fans.

Iron Fist TV Series Review

Unfortunately, we live in a time where it’s become almost impossible to distinguish the truth from a lie. The internet has become a platform where biased and hateful journalists sell false stories and negative reviews to attract views. While it’s impossible to truly tell whether or not you’ll like something without investigating or experiencing it yourself, there are a handful of people who will have you believe that they’re experts at what’s good and bad. Not so. The perfect examples of entertainment that received exaggerated reviews are Batman v Superman and now Marvel’s Iron Fist. While the latter is in no way as strong as BvS, it’s another example of how critics got it wrong.

Iron Fist is a lot better than most critics suggested.

Iron Fist, which accurately represents the source material, is ultimately a show dedicated to 80s' and 90s' kung-fu action fans.

The series tells the story of Danny Rand (Game of Thrones actor Finn Jones), a martial arts expert who returns to New York after being presumed dead for many years. The only survivor of a plane crash which carried him and his billionaire parents, Rand was rescued by a group of monks from a mystical dimension called K’un-Lun, where he was trained to become the Iron Fist. Now, he must battle two groups of baddies to achieve his goals: a brother and sister who have taken over his family’s wealth and The Hand, the ancient enemy of K’un-Lun. Along the way, he befriends other martial artists and even comes into contact with nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson).

Off the bat, Danny’s origin story is a familiar mix of Batman and Green Arrow. It’s easy to draw comparisons between the three characters. Perhaps, it’s then more fitting then to compare it against the candy-coloured Arrow than any of the other Netflix shows. Whereas Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones felt more like a 13-hour film, Iron Fist has more characteristics of a television show. This can mainly be felt in the directing of the 13 episodes. It’s missing the flair and the creative direction that made the previous shows big winners with the critics. Episode 6, for example, is directed by Wu Tang’s RZA (responsible for some of the Kill Bill soundtrack and director of The Man with the Iron Fists). Despite RZA’s repertoire, his distinct style hasn’t made it into the episode. Instead, it all feels a little by the book.

Iron Fist TV Series Review

That said, the fight sequences and the most of the performances are on par with what we’ve seen from Marvel Television before. Finn Jones does a decent job as Danny Rand, although he is less magnetic than Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock or Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle. However, like all the other shows, it’s the bad guys who capture our full attention. Tom Pelphrey and David Wenham are great as the father and son duo and carry the most weight. They deliver convincing emotional performances that make you hate them and love them at the same time – something Marvel has been able to do with David Tennant’s Killgrave, Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk.

If you watch these shows purely for the comic book action, you won’t be disappointed. There are plenty of hallway fights (some of them pretty gruesome). Iron Fist is strongest when Danny Rand channels his chi and goes into full action. From the opening moments of the series, it becomes quite clear that he is the most skilled fighter amongst the Defenders. His acrobatic kicks and his fist glowing punch are simply hypnotic.

Marvel Iron Fist Review

The show would have been stronger had they just allowed more cameos from Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Punisher. While a lot of the characters from those shows do crossover, the viewer is continually hoping and looking around every corner for a brief appearance from the other Defenders. It becomes incredibly frustrating, especially when they all know the same people and are all effectively fighting against The Hand.

Iron Fist is by no means perfect – it drags along in the middle, it’s predictable, and the character’s choices can be frustrating – but it’s certainly not a 17% as Rotten Tomatoes suggests. All those things are forgivable. The show has got a lot of things going for it too. Most importantly, it’s fun.

There are far worse shows on TV. Don’t believe the hype. Iron Fist is totally worth your time.

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  1. L

    This show is everything I thought it would be. The main character despite being indoctrinated by mystical monks from a alternate dimension for over 10 years with powers derived from plunging his hand into the heart of a dragon comes off as a entitled, impulsive guilles, adolescent hipster. He shows absolutely none of the characteristics of wisdom austerity and reserved demeanor that was shown by the comic book character. He is foolishly naive, short tempered, ineloquent and seems an odd mashup of new pledge frat boy and 8 year old aspiring Power Ranger. Despite how in many interviews he discusses how strenuous his martial arts and body building routine was and is it is not apparent in any of the combat scenes, stunts or his appearance. To be frank I could more than hold my own against his displayed skill level and the actor in Daredevil put FAR more effort into his training and fight scenes overall. Character development was weak across the board but seemed especially lacking with “the good guys”. There is no back story for Colleen Wing or anything meaningful for Joy outside of her association with Rand (Jerhi and Claire are established in other series). Accolades to the editing, special/digital effects and stunt teams that were miraculously able to stitch together Finn Jones laughable martial skills into passable action sequences, nothing about his performance is compelling or in anyway representative of the comic. Lets hope the plot at least deepens but officially Finn Jones, You Are The Weakest Link.

  2. Christopher King

    Sorry. This show was bad and had nothing to do with white washing. It was boring. Finn Jones was blah. The bad guys were not fun like Cottonmouth, Kingpin, or Killgrave. I never felt the intensity I felt with Daredevil or quite the immersion into the community like I did with Luke Cage.

  3. Brodie Marschall

    Yeah, I agree. The critics can go to the underworld because they’re stupid enough to know that only asian actors can be martial art heroes and 55% of the readers agreed that Iron Fist was the best Marvel TV show. Heck, most of them weren’t even around when This character was created. We’re gonna ask our critics why they didn’t read more comics to get a better indication of what we’re expecting and they reviewed the show when they only watched half the season, force them to delete their review system and review all 13 episodes again. Except this time, it’ll be more positively because they’re just hunting, hating idiots on the internet with options and they’re doing the wrong thing when it comes to reviewing stuff sometimes. Nobody wants to think like that or like them anymore.

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