I’ve said it before but I don’t mind saying it again. I love Marvel. I love their comics, the MCU, the subpar video games that come out, the really good ones that rarely come out, and the Netflix shows. Everything under the Marvel Studios name has been a sure-fire hit, killing it when it comes to reviews and general reception from the audience. Even the Netflix shows, when given a six-episode preview were all well-received due to their grounded nature and look at some mature themes.
Until the Iron Fist reviews came out. I don’t think anybody expected the reviews to be overwhelmingly negative. Iron Fist is currently sitting at a 37 on Metacritic. For reference, Daredevil is at the next lowest at 75, followed by Luke Cage at 79, which means that Jessica Jones sits atop the lofty Metacritic chair with an 81. Going from 75 to 37 is a steep drop. Critics have criticized the overall plot of the show as boring, lackluster fight scenes, underwhelming characters, and a lack of focus.
Me being me I wanted to know for myself if it was that bad. I sat down with a big bowl of popcorn (extra butter) on Friday and got through as much as I could before the night was up. I finished it the following Saturday and was confused. Iron Fist is not a bad show but it isn’t that good of one either. If you’ve seen the first season of Arrow, imagine watching that all over again with a set of new characters, location, and only 13 episodes to watch. Got that image in your head? Awesome. Now imagine all of that, but somehow worse. That is what the Iron Fist show basically is: an unpolished version of Arrow’s first season.
The characters in Iron Fist for the most part, suck. Danny Rand has been supposedly dead for 15 years and when he arrive back in New York to see his friends, people who consider him family, they reject him and call him out on Danny’s death. They are inherently stupid. They question the possibility of Danny being alive but two seconds later they disprove it by saying, “oh he’s dead.” It isn’t until a few episodes later that they actually, finally, consider the fact that it is him, even after Danny does his best to remind them of events from their childhood. Jessica Henwick as Colleen is the standout as a character who owns a dojo for training teens on self-defense but also carries a few secrets of her own. Best part about Colleen: she has common sense. Danny gets better as a character, but it isn’t much. I’ve gotten to the point where once Claire Temple shows up, there’s an eye roll. She is the equivalent Agent Coulson back when the MCU was gaining traction.
You would think a show revolving around a guy who has been trained in the martial arts would have some kick-ass fight scenes. Nope, not here. The fights are slow and lack any “oomph.” Coming off of something like Daredevil where the fights were violent and a thrill to watch, Iron Fist’s seem like a step back. There are a small number of fight sequences but they seem to be over right before they start so it’s hard to feel any excitement.
I’m not trying to be overly negative on the show but those are just my thoughts on it. Not once did I want to turn it off for hope that the next episode would be better but they rarely did. I think Iron Fist is better than the 37 is has on Metacritic but I would not place it above any of the other Marvel shows on Netflix. It lacks any kind of depth, charm, or a sense of originality that people have come to expect from the products of Marvel Studios.
With The Defenders on the horizon and Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and probably Luke Cage getting second seasons (a third for Daredevil) I can only hope that if Iron Fist gets renewed, the writers and producers can look at the missteps of season one and cook up something special for the next season. Or just combine Luke Cage and Iron Fist into a Heroes for Hire show.