Marvel’s Iron Fist Review: Forging the Final Defender

 

danny rand iron fist punch

courtesy Marvel and Netflix

The Marvel universe continues to expand with Netflix’s new original series, Iron Fist. The story of Iron Fist follows the origins of Daniel “Danny” Rand (Finn Jones), son of Wendell Rand co-owner to one of the wealthiest corporations in New York, as he returns home in seek of retribution and answers after being declared dead for 15 years.

courtesy Marvel Comics

Upon his return he befriends Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), a martial arts instructor that helps him understand the changes that have occurred in his absence. During his time at home he also attempts to reconnect with his childhood friends Joy (Jessica Stroup) and Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) , children to Harold Meachum close business partner to Wendell Rand.

Show developer Scott Buck does a fantastic job adapting the Iron Fist comic book story to the television screen by portraying contemporary perceptions of the homeless and stereotypes of the wealthy and powerful within New York. Iron Fist was created by Ray Thomas and Gil Kane in May of 1974 and it has been refreshing to see another Marvel hero attain their own series.

courtesy Marvel and Netflix

Cinematography

Based on the couple of episodes I was given access to, the Iron Fist cinematography was beautifully done due to the omniscient point of view the series maintains. Following closely with not only Danny Rand and his journey but also Joy and Ward Meachum’s struggle to accept the return of their long since dead childhood friend. Telling more of the story through the assistance of the other characters that have direct contact with the main character helps push the series plot further. The plot is spelled out in the first two, if not the first episode depicting the journey of riches-to-rags-to-riches. There are malicious intents behind almost every decision that Joy and Ward Meachum carry out to “assist” Danny. Joys actions confused me specifically because I wanted to believe she was ready to accept the return of their her lost friend, but her internal struggle to appease her brother and do the right thing becomes clear in episode 3.

In accordance and comparison with previous Netflix Marvel series the fight scenes do not disappoint. He is the Iron Fist of K’un- Lun and he moves like a leaf and hits like a boulder. Every encounter is executed with ease as it should be for a warrior monk, parallel to the expectation of a warrior monk, the fight choreography was seamless from an amateur stage combatant perspective. It isn’t till about episode 3 where the elevator fight in Iron Fist rivals the hallway fight in Daredevil season 1 for the fluidity of a fight sequence.

danny rand iron fist press conference

courtesy Marvel and Netflix

Script/Character

Right out of the gate I wasn’t impressed with the dialog between characters. The script seemed to begin very definitively, black and white, good and evil, and dull. The tone didn’t feel like it had changed till after episode 3. You feel the internal struggle for the choices the characters had to make and the effects and consequences you foresee. I was caught off-guard when actions I thought were founded with good intentions were used for malice, carried out because of confusion and misdirection. My expectation of this series after I finish it in its entirety is that it will follow in the footsteps of the Wizard of Oz or The Giver, how it begins dull and dreary but as it progresses becomes vibrant. As Danny becomes more enlightened and in tune with his body and spirit the dialog and surrounding story become more enticing.

Thus far every Netflix Marvel series had underlying themes. For example, Daredevil focused on Justice and Luke Cage was heavily saturated in home and longing to belong. As of now Iron Fist seems to be themed around self-enlightenment through internal struggle and I believe it becomes more evident as the season progresses.

danny rand iron fist

courtesy Marvel and Netflix

Overall Thoughts and Expectations

After watching the first two episodes I wasn’t convinced to watch any more. The first episode did not grip me or hook me instantaneously like a good story does. It was solely because it was a Marvel series that I had to believe it would get better and I decided to continue. That being said new watchers may find it difficult to jump if they have not seen the other series. As I stated before much of the story tone and gripping aspects of the series happens at the end of episode 3 leading into episode 4, but it is making it through the first two episodes that I found challenging.

As in Marvel fashion there are a few key noticeable ties to other Netflix Marvel series, ultimately coming together for Marvel’s Defenders series which is being released later in 2017. With the return of well-known characters from Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, the world seems to get a bit smaller and how the Defenders could meet become more clear.

Iron Fist will be available to view on Friday March 17th, 2017. Just in time for a weekend binge of Marvel after St.Patrick Day shenanigans.

This article was edited for clarity by Michelle Noriega.

Conor Watkins
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Conor Watkins

Comic Enthusiast at That Geek Show
Conor has been around comics for a few years now, researching and reading all sorts of series, characters, authors and illustrators. He is working on developing his illustrating technique during his free time. He is slightly biased toward the Marvel comics persuasion but is open to reader suggestions of all kinds.
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