Remember when Netflix announced that they were doing their own rendition of “Daredevil,” which was met with a lot of hesitation from viewers? Remember how they knocked it out of the park, pleasing superhero fans around the country? Of course you do. From there, they continued to defy expectations with their versions of “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage.” Netflix was continuously one-upping themselves with their new releases of shows that would ultimately funnel into “Marvel’s The Defenders.” Then they made “Iron Fist,” which has left audiences around the nation wondering what in the world Netflix did this time. “Iron Fist” is equal parts bland, slow and dry, which sets it as a drastic low point in Netflix’s renditions of Marvel’s most underappreciated heroes.
In “Iron Fist,” a normal, everyday man, Danny Rand, is bestowed with the powers of the mystical Iron Fist. With his newfound persona, he is determined to fight crime in New York City. By defending the city against a variety of criminals and attempting to unearth information about his family’s past, Rand grows as a character and learns to face his inner demons to become a crime fighting, iron fisting phenomenon or something like that.
The show tries to set Rand up as a powerhouse of a character, but ultimately falls flat to poor writing, making him generally uninteresting. Where the previous Defender, specifically “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage,” shows tended to thrive was through their main characters and, in one case, the villain. The previous three entries featured strong, powerful characters who were continuously engaging and helped the show flourish. Even through their gaping flaws, the characters would always win over the viewer’s hearts and would come through to make their respective shows excellent. Iron Fist isn’t that kind of character. He is bland, stubborn, and generally unlikable. It’s hard to root for a character that isn’t likable (or poorly acted), and this show is a prime example of how poor writing and a poor performance can completely ruin a show.
Another point where “Iron Fist” falls flat is through its action sequences. In “Daredevil,” the most action-oriented of the original three Defenders shows, the action and combat was fluid, exciting and stylish. The highlight of the show for many viewers is when the main character fought a series of enemies in a hallway, and from there the action continued to thrive. It made every scene exciting as it was intriguing to see a blind man fight off a series of enemies while using his heightened senses to his advantage. In “Iron Fist” the action is much less fluid and feels fake. The original source materials showed the hero fighting enemies with a stylized combination of Kung fu and his newfound “fisting abilities,” which made encounters exciting to read about. Netflix’s show makes these fight scenes simply boring. Action scenes look the same, with the main character Kung fu-ing his way out of fights with consistency and a distinct lack of flare. It made these kind of scenes seem generic, as many different Kung fu themed movies have done it before.
Ultimately, “Iron Fist” had everything going for it from the beginning, from riveting source material to a company that has proven itself multiple times in the past. Unfortunately, it failed to have the interesting characters of “Jessica Jones” or “Luke Cage,” and did not deliver the edge-of-your-seat actions that “Daredevil” provided. Although the show does get slightly better towards the finale, it is a chore to get through the first half of the season, and ultimately makes “Iron Fist” a tedious, lackluster experience.