“Iron Fist” is the last Marvel/Netflix series before the crossover miniseries “The Defenders” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)
The Iron Fist is meant to be an expert in all form of martial arts, but instead “Iron Fist” brings bland, uninspiring fight choreography mixed in with a generic story and flat characters.
“Iron Fist” follows Danny Rand (Finn Jones) and his return to New York City to reclaim his family’s company after 15 years of being presumed dead. However, a mysterious force soon appears that forces Danny to choose between his family legacy and his duties as the Iron Fist.
Instead of a martial arts show, “Iron Fist” mostly focuses on the corporate drama between Rand and the Meachums, a wealthy family currently in charge of his father’s company. In the 13 episodes of “Iron Fist,” these characters have a wide array of motivations that leave the audience wondering who they’re they are supposed to be rooting for.
For example, Joy (Jessica Stroup) and Ward Meachum (Tom Pelphrey) are childhood friends of Danny and are clearly happy to see their friend return. On the other hand, they both show themselves to be ruthless businessmen who will do anything to keep control over Rand Enterprises. They are not exactly villains, but they are not presented as or act like heroes at the same time.
Harold Meachum (David Wenham) is the best character in “Iron Fist.” Wenham brings the perfect amount of flair in his performance needed for a comic book series that presents Harold as a man who tries to be a good father to Ward but is very bad at it, which adds interest to the character.
One of the show’s biggest issues is how uninteresting Rand comes off as, mainly due to bad writing of the character. Rand claims he has trained his mind, body and emotions for 15 years, but frequently loses control of them for very little reason and there are very few explanations for this.
The series touches on the idea that Danny has not mastered the “Iron Fist” yet and has much to learn. But the show also does not solidly explain why he has chosen to return to New York now despite being so poorly trained.
For example, the Iron Fist is supposed to be able to use their chi to heal others, so why did Danny not know about this ability? Did he have bad teachers?
There is nothing shown since, despite its importance to the character’s backstory, there is nothing shown since the mystical city of K’un-L’un never appears in the series and there is no flashback to Rand being trained as the Iron Fist.
Rand also left K’un-L’un because the portal from that dimension finally opened after 15 years, but there is no explanation as to why he left. There is a vague explanation given, but not until the end of the series.
This speaks to the larger issue with “Iron Fist”: a lot is said, but nothing is ever explained or shown.
Characters talk about something and there is no cut-away to what the character is talking about. The viewer is just left watching other people talk about uninteresting things and are rewarded with mediocre action scenes.
The action scenes in “Iron Fist” flip from being poorly edited or heavily edited to hide the atrocious choreography done by the actors. Many fight scenes look and feel like they are in slow motion when they are not meant to be.
The few highlights in the action involved Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick), Davos (Sacha Dhawan) and Zhou Cheng (Lewis Tan), the latter of which only appears in one episode for about five minutes.
“Iron Fist” has small moments that are enjoyable and the last two episodes are the best of the series, but the uninteresting dialogue, the confusing motivations of the characters, and the bland action scenes all culminate into an uninspiring TV series.
Final Grade: D-