By Danny Dunn
“Iron Fist” is a good show with interesting plotlines and characters throughout the season, but does suffer from some pacing and visual issues. “Iron Fist” is the latest Marvel show on Netflix, following the character Danny Rand (Finn Jones) otherwise known as The Iron Fist.
“Iron Fist” is the fourth installment of Marvel television shows on Netflix along with “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones”, and “Luke Cage.” “Iron Fist” is the last Marvel Netflix show before the big team up of the four heroes called “The Defenders”.
“Iron Fist” is written by Scott Buck and directed by John Dahl. While neither have worked on a Marvel show before, they both have many years of experience in television, and have collaborated on the show “Dexter”.
While on a trip to China, the Rand family plane goes down somewhere in the Himalayas. After seeing both of his parents die in the plane crash, young Danny Rand is found by some monks that reside in the mystical city of K’un-Lun, where he is trained in martial arts and eventually is granted the power to summon the Iron Fist.
After being presumed dead for the last 15 years, Danny returns home to New York City. He goes to Rand Enterprises to have meeting with Harold Meachum (David Wenham), to try and reclaim his company, but to Danny’s surprise Harold had died shortly after the Rand plane went down 15 years ago.
Now Harold’s children and Danny’s childhood friends Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) and his sister Joy (Jessica Stroup) run Rand enterprises. They are understandably skeptical of Danny, and do not believe he is the real Danny Rand.
Danny also finds out that members of his sworn enemies criminal organization, known as The Hand, are not only in New York but have infiltrated Rand Enterprises.
So now Danny must force his way back into Rand enterprises, while also protecting the company and the city from ‘The Hand’.
One of Danny’s allies in his quest is Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick). Colleen owns her own martial arts dojo in New York City, and allows Danny to stay at her dojo when he has nowhere else to turn.
There are some outside characters and references to other Marvel shows.
For instance, The Hand plays a central role in both “Daredevil” and “Iron Fist”. The Hand is a criminal organization that manufactures and distributes drugs, along with having highly skilled assassins.
Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) or ‘J-Money’ is a lawyer, who has a recurring role in Jessica Jones. Before becoming a lawyer Hogarth interned at Rand Enterprises, where she met a young Danny Rand, which leads Danny to seek out Hogarth to help him get control of his company again.
Former nurse Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) has now made an appearance in each of the four Marvel shows. She was introduced in “Daredevil” as a nurse for an injured Matt Murdock. In “Jessica Jones” Claire is brought in by Jessica to help an injured Luke Cage. This leads to Claire making an appearance in “Luke Cage” as a love interest of Luke.
In “Iron Fist” Claire joins Colleen Wing’s dojo to try and improve her martial arts skills. She also assists Danny and Colleen on a couple adventures throughout the season. Claire mentions to Danny that she knew somebody that had battled ‘The Hand’ in the past (Daredevil).
Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) was also in Daredevil, as an associate of the crime boss Wilson Fisk. Gao has her own drug operation along with ties to ‘The Hand’ and presents a problem to Danny throughout the show.
One of the main issues with the show is that some of the actual plot points took too much time to get going, and that it spends too much time dealing with Rand Enterprises issues and not Iron Fist action or superhero related issues.
However, there are a lot of scenes in the first half of the series that have to do with Rand Enterprises, but they are presented in an interesting fashion. The struggle for Danny not only to prove that he is in fact Danny Rand, but also the struggle get back majority shareholder status in a company that his father created.
There are a few times that a plotline was dragged out an episode or so longer than it needed to be. The scenes that were long were not terrible, they are just sometimes not really essential.
There is also a need for more action throughout the show. There are only a handful of solid action scenes, but the overall story makes up for it. There are times that you can tell that it is not actually Finn Jones doing his own stunts.
Speaking of Finn Jones (Danny), his acting is kind of bland throughout the season, it is hard to tell whether it is the writing or his acting. For instance, there is a scene where Danny is supposed to be furious with Ward and Joy when they are still trying to keep him out of the company. Danny makes a scene and throws plates and glasses, but his overall demeanor did not seem angry at all.
In scenes where he is not fighting, which is the majority of the show, he does not show enough charisma on screen, and that is something that is essential if there is not going to be a lot of action in the show. “Jessica Jones” is a perfect example of little action, but it is entertaining throughout, because the characters are interesting.
That is not to say there is no interesting characters in “Iron Fist”. Jessica Henwick nails her role as Colleen Wing. She is easily the most likable character in the series, and when she is on screen she steals the scene. There are a few cage match fights she is in that are unrealistic, but that is not really her fault. It is not a stunt double issue, it is more of a six foot 300 pound guy getting his butt kicked by five and a half foot 115 pound Colleen. It is awesome to watch her fight scenes, a couple in particular in the back half of the season that really show how skilled she is in martial arts.
Despite the show suffering from pacing and visual issues, it makes up for it with an interesting plotline and deep and well thought out characters throughout the season. “Iron Fist” is a solid show to watch for anyone out there looking for a nice binge on Netflix, and the show is a four out of five stars.