Netflix Marvel (which is what I’m dubbing these shows now) has become nearly as anticipated as the Games of Thrones series for comic book nerds. Finally, we have a television outlet that give us all the grittiness that Movie Marvel is afraid to tap into and ever since Daredevil, we were hooked. Now admittedly this was the first time where I wasn’t really that excited for a Netflix Marvel show but I was waiting to be surprised… And it failed to do so, in fact in made nearly every bad step I imagined it would make.
The story of Iron Fist seemed like the longest scenic route to get to the same place. It started with Danny Rand our lead hero, coming back from a mystic location after ten years or so. With the world thinking he was dead, he returns expecting his loved ones to welcome him back. Of course, they didn’t believe him and thus Danny must convince them that he is in fact the same friend they once knew. Now right here, the pattern of this show’s problem permeates.
Now this could have been a two-episode dilemma at best, but it goes on for what feels like several episodes. Now rather than enjoying the show I’m only begging Danny to just give them irrefutable information that only he would know and I’m begging the Meachums (particularly Ward) to just stop being blind. However even when that ark ends, it sets up another one where our hero is captured and must escape but again, this becomes so drawn out that I started to feel like I was trapped in there with him and often would have to stop the show and do something else just to finish the episode.
The show is filled with back-and-forths that do not seem planned but made up as they go. Every betrayal (and there’s a lot of them) can be seen miles away and I couldn’t connect with Danny because of just how amazingly naïve he was. Then the plot – as you have it – kept saying to me, “Okay this is what the show is about! No wait, it’s this! Ha ha, got’cha! It’s really about this!” However, these feints were executed so poorly that we’re stuck with a slew of boring arks that concluded a fairly boring show.
Now I’m not an Iron Fist fan in comics, I never read a single issue of his, I recall a team up with him and Luke Cage in which they share this “Bro-brothership” so I know very little of him prior to research. I have always known that the Iron Fist was all about martial arts mixed with some super natural infusion. So, I ask Netflix Marvel, why does the one hero who specializes in martial arts, have such a weaker choreography compared to Daredevil? Mind you, this is the same hero who has defeated Daredevil in the comics before but I’m hard-pressed to believe that after watching these unnatural, overly formulaic moves used repeatedly throughout the series. This is probably Iron Fists’ greatest sin, which is not showing us what makes the Iron Fist so formidable. I mean we see him beat a lot of guys but we also see him get beat up a lot as well. Often during fights, with no reason beyond the power of an intense close-up, Dany manages to win every time. I never felt like Danny earned nearly any of his victories and it just seemed like the highest degree of plot armor.
Well so the story was lackluster and so was the fighting, but its Marvel Netflix! They must have some good acting going on there. Well not really, I’m afraid. Almost everyone decided to place their dials to “underacting boredom,” or “overacting cartoon”. Claire Temple is in here and she does what she always does in these shows now. Albeit it is serviceable but her inclusion this time around was overstayed. The Meachums managed to be the best and worst around. Harold, the father was undeniably such a mustache twirler that all he was needed was a train and dynamite. Joy, the daughter at first was looking very promising but soon had such unearned character change so I assume she was infected by whatever Harold had. Then there’s Ward: Now I know I may be on the slim side by thinking this, but the best thing about this show was Ward Meachum played by Tom Pelphrey! In a show that seemed to have majority of actors not putting in even their B game, Pelphrey is giving it all in nearly every scene he’s in. At first I figured he was going to be the obvious antagonist but he with a very few others, had a development ark and I grew to sympathize with this guy. I understood that he IS NOT a good guy but has qualities that made me root for him. Out of the characters in the show, he seemed to be most inflicted by his baggage, even more so than the Iron Fist.
Speaking of, Finn Jones as Iron Fist seemed incredibly miscast when I look back on his performance. I’m not sure if this choice was on purpose but they made Iron Fist very intense which is odd considering all the iterations of him he’s laid bad and somewhat humorous but gets serious when needed. To be honest there wasn’t much Jones could do with this material. He was directed to be either confused, on the verge of tears due to betrayal or just constipated. And this is where the final nail was hammered in for me. The character in the show is a log being moved along by whatever the current places him. He is a victim throughout the entire show but it’s due to his own foolish decisions to just take what was given to him. He hardly learned from his mistakes, and remains the most indecisive nob which gets old for about a minute then continues for another twelve hours. Daredevil is where the action is, Jessica Jones has the crime thriller angle to it, even Luke Cage, for its lack of action I rather enjoyed the music, the design and a few key performances. Iron Fist has nothing to stand up on its own, therefore I suggest this show takes a trip somewhere far away and meditates on how to provide an interesting experience.