Last Friday, Marvel’s newest Netflix series Iron Fist dropped for all to stream. Does the adventure of Danny Rand hold up well compared to Marvel’s previous series like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage?
*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD*
Iron Fist tells the tale of Danny Rand (played by Game of Thrones’ Finn Jones), a long-thought-dead son of a billionaire. Danny returns to New York City to run the business his father ran, who, along with Danny’s mother, died in a plane crash in 2002. However, Danny’s childhood friends Joy and Ward Meachum (90210 and The Following‘s Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey) have taken over the corporation and aren’t willing to share the wealth. Little do people know that Danny picked up a few skills while he was away.
I’ve only watched the first four episodes so far and Iron Fist is a lot better than other critics have said. Some called the show boring, slow-paced, and criticized the casting of Jones as the title character, however I feel all those criticisms are unwarranted. Finn Jones is entertaining as Danny Rand. He gives Danny a quiet, peaceful demeanor who only unleashes the power of the Iron Fist when needed.
Stroup and Pelphrey are good villains for the show along with David Wenham (300, Van Helsing) as their father and Wendell Rand’s former business partner. They ooze with evil and greed, willing to do everything to keep Rand Enterprises in their hands.
Jessica Henwick shines as Colleen Wing, a martial arts instructor who runs a dojo and acts as a mentor for her students and hesitant friend to Danny Rand.
The plot to me is like Kung-Fu meets Batman Begins. The fight scenes are fine and I don’t understand why people are so critical of them. You aren’t going to see fight scenes from say Enter the Dragon or Bloodsport. You have to remember these are trained actors: not martial artists.
Of the first four episodes I’ve seen, I would say the second and fourth episodes are the best so far.
The premier episode, “Snow Gives Way,” begins with Danny returning to New York City after being away for 15 years.
His first order of business is trying to convince Joy and Ward that he actually is Danny Rand. That doesn’t go so well.
Along the way, Danny meets Colleen Wing, who is at first annoyed by Danny but eventually warms up to him. (Boy, can I relate!) Joy then drugs Danny and puts him in a mental institution to keep him away from Rand Enterprises. It isn’t as action packed as the first episodes of either season of Daredevil, but establishes the characters well and lays the groundwork for the whole season.
The second episode, “Shadow Hawk Takes Flight,” is all about Danny escaping the mental institution.
Picture something like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets The Great Escape. At the end, we finally see the power of the Iron Fist unleashed. Danny’s time in the institution is the main focus of the episode and it was really interesting to figure out how Danny would escape despite every effort being thwarted by the Meachums.
Episode III, “Rolling Thunder Cannon Punch,” gives us more information about Joy and Ward’s father (Wenham) and how he is in debt to the Hand (the ninja clan seen in Daredevil).
Danny comes across Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss’s character from Jessica Jones) who agrees to help Danny gain control of Rand Enterprises. Colleen also investigates some underground fighting one of her students partakes in. This episode has a bit of corporate espionage to it with Danny trying to gain control of his company. Here is where things get interesting and the groundwork for the series really gets established.
The fourth episode, “Eight Diagram Dragon Palm,” has Danny gain control of Rand Enterprises thanks to Hogarth.
Hired guns from a corporate rival attack Joy and Danny Rand saves her life. This is also the episode where the pace picks up a little and things really take off. Finn really shines as Danny in this episode.
So, with four episodes down and nine to go, Iron Fist is a pleasant surprise. I wouldn’t say it is as good as either of the first two seasons of Daredevil, but is a lot better than some people have given it credit for. Definitely give the show a chance.